Grand Challenges for Engineering - May 21, 2013
Do you dream of never taking another business trip? Would you like to visit Mt. Everest, but just for the afternoon? Do you want your doctor to have a little more practice before performing brain surgery?
I believe virtual reality is good to enhance, but eventualy people will absorb themselves within something that is not real, which could lead to more problems in the future if this kind of reality opens up to the public. We already know that humans now arecontrolled by their ipnones and tablets, just think of how much that would increase with the future of virtual reality.
I would use virtual reality in sports. Athletes could utilize this technology to enhance their skills without having to go to the gym or practice field. Also, if injured, they could still "practice".
i like the idea and so ods my grandma
I like where Prasanth Joy is coming from, but to me, the whole means of living through virtual reality kind of scares me. If you think realistically about it, yeah, it will help you see your family and friends from far away, but it will also create a whole new controversy in the world. I can see the headlines now, 'Virtual Reality, Where do we Draw the Line?'. There is an aforementioned Grand Challenge that is to secure cyberspace. There are mastermind hackers out there that could use the Virtual Reality systems for more sinister doings, and not to interact in a healthful way with family or friends. If the world wants to advance Virtual Reality, then we should first figure out a way to make it fool proof and completely secure. Another point is that we know these days the media is already receiving complaints from 'concerned' parents/guardians about kids and their reactions to violent video games and how 'they are more likely to be violent and end up as murderers' more stigma floats around such as this, and its suffocating. What would be even more problematic would be video game makers ALSO trying to innovate, and make some cash off of making their more combat centered games Virtual Reality based. So, I'm not completely bashing the idea of VR, but there are some serious things to take into consideration before we take a step further into this technological world.
this be cool
The first way I would suggest is about a scenario when we are overseas and miss our home and family. Live video audio chatting with family members who are back in home town is the way which we are all practicing now. But how about we sit in a mechanically controlled chair, i mean the chairs we find for some 4d games in some amusement park(with all dimension movement) with goggles ON and really explore the whole house and feels like we sit beside our family members so close as if it is really happening rather than looking at the monitor screen window. So all we feel will be like we sitting on an automated chair in our house and moving around all the rooms(live if possible) and talking to family, exploring the rooms, climbing up and down the stairs even though we are sitting somewhere overseas. I believe each and everyone would really go for it if there was such an option.
Second way I wish to see the VR is in movie theaters, during a movie. Imagine we could smell the atmosphere in each and every scene of the movie. Lets say if a garden of roses is being shown in the movie, why not we smell it too. For instance lets say when a movie is out there are some common universal standards and criteria that's being followed by the movie production teams and the same standards are being followed by the cinemas for the synchronization of the video and the audio. Same way if there is a set of non-toxic chemicals that can give basic smells(fragrances or stenches in a moderate intensity) taken as a universal set of standards. It should be just the same way as we take certain operating systems or audio formats as universal standards. And for each scene for the movie being shot just as we incorporate audio to it why not assign and apply right amount of these chemicals or in combinations at appropriate timings which can be transmitted in a cinema hall by the means of air stream or any other proper means provided the theaters also have the same standards of chemicals and a system software (similar to subtitles in a movie)which can be properly decoded out for each scene. Wont the movies be more real then..
While comment by Julia ("reality-based human, houston") below is extremely, absolutely correct in many ways, I also believe that in the ENGINEERING field, a proper VR is badly needed as a design tool; but in its present form, it is leaving A LOT to be desired! Take for example the way present day design engineers handle their simulators, 3D-engineering software tools and similar systems: It is a shame that to be able to modify a set of engineering drawings or 3D models, they need to gather a lot of skill and practice, and still have to wrestle with very rudimentary computer peripherals, like a mouse or trackball and a keyboard! Just imagine being able to setup a realistic view of an installation (an Offshore drilling rig, for example) and actually "grasp" a given structural member with a pair of gloves and relocate it or bend it, or even break it! and then see in a matter of a few seconds the effect of their manipulation... or imagine a group of so called "automotive designers" having to service by themselves a simulated repair to a newly designed car or truck; there are documented cases of terrible designs made with the "help" of today's "design tools", that produced unserviceable vehicles (just read about the V10 bi-turbo pickup truck that needs to have its complete passenger cabin to be removed to be able to repair one of the turbos, then they had to reinstall the cabin to be able to start the engine to test the repair, and then had to uninstall it againto fix it again, because the damaged component simply is not accessible/serviceable either from the hood opening or from the bottom of the raised vehicle! Think about the recent tragic and damaging accident of the Deepwater Horizon drilling Platform that sank in the Gulf of Mexico, killing several persons and causing the worst environmental disaster in the history of the Offshore Industry in the Gulf of Mexico. A reasonably good VR system could have been used to demostrate the chain of events that caused the accident, the true extent of the damages and more importantly: how to properly design a drilling platform to avoid design errors that made the accident so terrible and the damaging loss of control of the well.
But wait a minute! What about the fearsome accident in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Central after the Earthquake in Japan... imagine to be able to simulate many different kinds of damages, and more importantly: what things can be tried and which actions can be detrimental and should NOT be attempted!.
In a nutshell, trying to properly design installations, vehicles, etc. with the rudimentary tools available to most designers and engineers is only going to produce mediocre performing designs, and all too often, the very same design tools make it EASIER to design-in mistakes and errors, but hide them so the designer believes the design is OK, when in reality it has problems and unsuspected risks.
I dream of a set of design tools that would be SO easy to handle, that old, truly experienced engineers (that presently have a lot of hassle with 3D CAD type of models), could be able to use them to quickly demonstrate younger engineers where their design is going to fail miserably, before more time and expenses are thrown into it, before discovering (usually too late) that the "design" was seriousky flawed since the beginning.
(Tell Airbus about their failure to identify gross incompatibility between wiring schemes in their huge Airbus A380, 800 passsenger jet before it was too late, that seriously put the company on the edge of complete chaos, and delayed the delivery of their latest model for a long time, almost breaking the company!).
Someone told me that the artists or "draftsmen" that produce the animated films at PIXAR or DISNEY, use a full complement of advanced interfaces to be able to produce their beautiful images and motion effects. It is a shame engineers still have to battle thru mouse and keyboad to produce engineering drawings of vehicles, nuclear plants and offshore platforms, that sometimes fail and produce catastrophic consecuences. amclaussen, 30+years designing petroleum and ofshore installations.
Virtual Reality could well be the gateway as much as the Internet is the platform into Global cyber-Consciousness. At first it would be frivolous, playful, entertainment and commercially orientated, but in time it will become a powerful tool for interaction with people across the globe in very powerful adn potentially healing and educational ways, that are even more real than reality in many ways. The "normal" reality has a kind of psychological perceptual filter through which we interact and cyber relations in a mature way can overcome many social-emotional-physical -economic etc barriers and enable people to connect! I cant give away too much in this forum because its still early days :)
while improving VR might be interesting, I'd be loathe to call it a "grand challenge." While it is great to see Grand Challenges of Engineering! I was surprised to see that engineering (or automatically extracting from the detritus stream) more reusable/recyclable materials wasn't on the list. It always feels like much of the "stuff" we throw away can be recycled (well beyond newspaper, cans, and bottles). Engineering could turn us all into green recyclers!
VR has so much potential for good in the but the are negatives. That's why systems need to be put in place such making VR only 80% realistic, that would mean virtual food would not taste as good as real food and virtual pleasure would not feel as sweet as real pleasure. This would make people actually want to go out in to the world and experience the real thing. In this way when someone experiences in the virtual world they will want to experience it for real this are just a few ways that we can keep people from getting addicted to VR and there are countless more. As gaming it would be better if dying felt like getting knocked out are fall asleep and virtual should not as intense or long last as real pain so getting shoot would not feel like actually getting shoot. VR can do so much good for people it may even help people to overcome fears like to fear of or of crowd, it can bring people together and make the world a little bit better, a bit more peaceful and if used properly can aid human advancement instead of halting it. It is something that should be looked into. As for how I would use it that would be to help people who can physical interact with others due the physiological problem experience the world beyond their beds, I would also use it for gaming and to experience new thing before I actually try them this is what I would like to do when I get old but for now I guess I'll have to focus on high school.
I've just started researching into the applications of Virtual Reality and to be honest... I can't see any reason why we couldn't use it for anything that we wouldn't normally do. Of course wheres the fun in that. I'm sure we'd all much rather be sent to a world that we ourselves have made. Think about it with things like PS3's Little Big Planet and PC's SPORE around already, we could just as easily create our own worlds and characters that we could interact with. Given a bit of imagination people could even adapt this for eductaional purposes. Even then there are things like interactive desks and whiteboards which it can be used with. I mean imagine walking past a shop window or mirror that has an interface showing you what they have in stock and that can even show you what you'd look like wearing them. The daft thing is that all the technology is out there, its just a matter of putiing it all together. But as all new developments the problem is that humanity will take time to accept these things. 'Humanity's reach exceeds its grasp'
I am a US Navy Vet. I live alone and spend most of my time that way. I would, obviously, use it for entertainment and depending on what level and selection of programs are available, I would use it so that I would not feel so alone...perhaps a virtual trip to disney in orlando, or someone in the environment that I can hang out with...I am also an avid gamer (xbox 360) so I would want to be able to "live" my games with no real danger...but mostly so I wouldn't feel so alone.
I would like to see a VR life support system that is used for deep space travel. With the support of a body suit that uses muscles, along with the VR world to keep the brain and body occupied for the long journey.
Or if we don’t find anything out there!
The world is going to become a very small place very quick! If we could create a world in VR that was real enough to trick the senses into believing it was real all the laws of known physics are applied and it’s not a perfect world! (The movie “The Matrix” hit on that a little) We could have the world “plugged in” You could choose, so to speak “What you want to be when you grow up!” and then “Plug in” and “Have your dreams come true!”
I am currently trying to design such a system as well as writing a sci-fi novel based on the above fore mentioned! And then there will be “Virtually no Reality!” (insert book “Plug” here!)
Well VR would be an amazing advancement in our planet it would also enable important people like the president to go to meetings without the risk of being shot. What i mean is the presidant could just step into a box room sit in a chair and BOOM theres an entire congress party sitting right in front of him. I don't personaly think that in VR being shot would feel like being shot... that would be dumb and not worth the video game ( although i do admit that it would make you less likely to want to be shot).
"If we gained a better insight into the human brain and learned exactly what caused blindness and deafness you could literally allow somebody to hear or see for the first time."
Personally, I like the old idea of using virtual reality (or VR) to play and feel my video games like never before, but I also believe that once that happens VR will take off in ways we can't even imagine. Do I really want to play a game where getting shot feels like getting shot? Maybe once, but it'd get old quick. Would dying really feel like dying? That would be terrifying but I believe there are much broader uses. I believe VR could become the new internet. Not only would people be messaging each other through text and video, but now face to face in any setting in a way that may only be able to be described as real aside from the advertising (as I drink coffee with you on Google moon ). I'd think that if we got that far, then things may really take off. Now you could make an avatar, if you will, though not so much in a video game sense, but more in the walking on a beach with your grandfather and he looks like he did when he was 25, health problems nonexistent sense. You could talk, laugh, eat, drink, and swim together actually feeling the current and tasting the salt water as waves roll by (meanwhile your grandfather lies in a hospital with a terminal illness). From a war veteran who lost one or more limbs to a quadriplegic who would otherwise never move again, let alone feel it, it would be more than just a game. It could actually give a person a reason to continue because although they may be in a seemingly hopeless situation they could, for at least a short time, completely forget their ailments and go any where with anyone, do whatever they wanted and feel it, smell it, and taste it. If we gained a better insight into the human brain and learned exactly what caused blindness and deafness you could literally allow somebody to hear or see for the first time. That may seem a little far fetched, but we're already working on rebuilding certain "broken connections" in the brain that cause blindness shortly after birth and have made slight but undeniable progress. Beyond that we might even begin to download memories, thoughts, possibly entire lifetimes of knowledge and experience. It all might seem pretty ridiculous to think about but the more we learn about our own mind, the more it starts to look like a computer. A powerful and squishy computer, but a computer nonetheless. All you might have to do one day is plug in.
"...for virtual reality technology to become better, it too will have to appeal to that market first, and then to the less frivolous pursuits of betterment."
Although the questions posed of possible uses for virtual reality are compelling, I believe these are merely secondary uses (however useful) for the burgeoning area of virtuality. I feel that what has driven the majority of the significant advances in obtainable computer technology has been a pursuit of bigger and better forms of entertainment, from blue ray disc movies to better graphics for Half Life 2. Let's face it, our computers are already more than powerful enough to run the majority of programs the major populace uses, so why such drastic advancement? The "haves" of the world push for better technology typically for entertainment purposes, and for virtual reality technology to become better, it too will have to appeal to that market first, and then to the less frivolous pursuits of betterment.
"...is the increased mechanization of our world decreasing that feeling of connectedness to the physical world?"
I have often wondered what percentage of humans would choose, if given the chance, to spend the rest of their lives in a virtual reality similar to the one seen in the Matrix movies. It seems like this choice, as well as the effectiveness of psychological treatments discussed in the article, would depend on the level of attachment a particular person has to the real world. On a related note, is the increased mechanization of our world decreasing that feeling of connectedness to the physical world? I think that enhancements to the believability of virtual environments allow for many of the traditional mental/emotional needs of humans to be satisfied through that virtual world rather than the physical world. If, at some point in the future, all work currently done by humans is accomplished by self-sustaining robots, will there be any need for humans to leave their homes? If we can gain all the benefits of interpersonal interactions, exposure to the outdoors, and recreation from the virtual worlds on our computer screens, will there be any motivation to leave our computer chairs? When virtual reality and the real world inevitably become indistinguishable, it will be interesting to see how humans respond.
Use VR for simulation training system, including pilot, astronaut, surgeon and students. Another for immersion envirnment construction.
My Experiencable Program Units would allow people to connect their brains to computers so that they can experience programs and even people around the world. EPUs could be the next big advancement in computer technology and be worth trillions of dollars. An EPU would interact with the brain by translating computer information into bio-information in the same way the brain now processes stimuli. Once the brain can be decoded, EPUs would alloow people to have mental access to the computer that will seem so real that people may not know the difference between simulation and reality. Your best friend may live 10,000 miles away and speak Russian. But with the computer, the language barrier will be destroyed and you might visit your friend more than you do someone who lives across the street from you. EPU vacations will be in order and the world will seem much smaller thanks to EPUs. The typical day for a family might consist of the father being in his EPU chamber from 9:00 to 12:00 for eight hours of accelerated work time. He could be in contact with people around the world during that time. The mother may also have a job and be in her chamber from 10:00 to 12:00 experiencing eight hours of accelerated work time as a lawyer. She will have experienced four trials and conferred with a dozen clients during that time. The children may either be in EPU chambers or may physically attend school where they would expeirence classwork from 9:00 to 11:00 to experience six hours of class. History tests might consist of the students experiencing famous events and interacting with the people involved to see what their responses are. The questions may appear as holograms in the "sky" and will have to be reacted to in order to go on to the next questions. At least if the students are studying hyperlight physics, they won't blow up the world if they can't control a hyperlight speed chain reaction. The family could be together for lunch and spend the rest of the day experiencing Paris. At least if they have a meal in a program they won't put on any weight. Only their minds will think they ate anything. They might attend a concert that night before going home to experience homework and sleep. EPUs will change the world and society.
VR (outside of some uses in scientific modelling/discovery) is just the kind of technology that will become a dangerous pathogen if it becomes widely commercialized in an amoral market. A convincing causal case can be made that our growing alienation from the physical and social bases of human biology and culture works together with corporate oligarchy to perpetuate the increasingly severe problems of climate change/environmental disaster and human social and psychological dysfunction. AI, too, has the potential for thoughtlessly engendering disasterous social change---it's just been too lame and poorly done over ALL THESE YEARS to yet make much of a difference. Engineers should leave the mind/brain and social relations alone! You are needed to deal with climate change, energy, cities, and agriculture---those are the big challenges right now! Leave notions of human well-being to the social and ethical sciences, but don't forget that technological and infrastructure changes have social and moral consequences.
I would like to use VR along with my genetic information and maybe along with my reverse engineered brain to analyze how my nutritional supplementation affects my health and/or reacts with any other supplementation and medications that I am using or about to use. I would also like to use VR to provide for experiencing other cultures and visiting places all over the world and universe without the trouble and expense of travel.
i would use vr to learn skills to improve my learning disabilities. to learn other skills to improve my job opportunities to solve evryday social problems to solve stress health education vacation........... etc.,
to make art
Augmented reality (AR) could be a step closer to the solution in some cases. Connecting Virture and Reality.
I believe that the creation of a VR so realistic that it can cause us to feel touch (as in Star Trek's holodeck) is a BAD idea and a big mistake. If VR feels real enough, we will stop doing real things because VR can offer a much more rewarding experience for a fraction of the effort. Example: I want to live in a mansion and drive a Ferrari. These things are rewards that I earn for hard work. Or are they? I'll go ahead and plug in my VR machine, and guess what? That required no effort on my part. Example: I want a 10 trophy wives that can satisfy all my carnal desires. That would be extremely difficult (and extremely illegal) to achieve. But hey, I got my VR machine that can give me exactly what I want. Virtual reality to that level of realism is extremely tempting, but also extremely destructive to society. This is one of those technologies that will put a halt to human advancement.
This is without doubt the last thing we need to be spending any effort on. As someone with experience with VR since the early 90s, I have gained tremendous appreciation to Real Reality and have realized that direct personal contact with other people that are directly present is the key to life. Take off the googles, have an revelation about the world around you, take control of your life and start making the changes needed to create a world you love.
I want to try and project a life size 3D Image in thin air using a device called the heliodisplay, made by www.io2technology.com The idea I have in mind is to shrink the size of this device to the size of a cellphone and create virtual 3D bots in thin air.