Tuesday, March 17, 2020

2020 #VWEDU: #DTA: Virtual reality is not new and it is not expensive. The new and expensive: stereoscopic (VR) headsets. They may be good for first person games. What will they do for user-built virtual worlds?


Virtual reality is not new and it is not expensive. 
The new and expensive: stereoscopic (VR) headsets.
They may be good for first person games.  
What will they do for user-built virtual worlds?


Virtual reality has been available on computers for a long time.  Stereo viewing equipment has been around for well over a hundred years.   Stereo headsets, in place of monocular monitors, are a recent development.  Here I consider whether I would have any activity that would benefit from a stereo view.   

  • Watch on YouTube
  • A monocular view of comedy in a virtual world
  • Would it be better in stereo?

What is VR?

  • VR is a term applied to stereoscopic (VR) headsets headsets for computer games. 
  • Stereoscopic viewing equipment has been around since 1838: Stereoscope
  • Stereoscopy has been widely tested for entertainment use throughout the last century.
  • 3D movies have been produced since 1915.
  • Virtual reality produced by computers has been around as a concept since 1959.
  • A computer produces virtual reality by keeping track of the shapes and locations of 3D objects in a scene.
  • It displays the 3D scene on a screen by computing what the scene would look like from a specific position.
  • With stereo headsets, it computes for 2 screens positioned apart like eyes.
  • The headset displays one screen to each eye, thus producing Binocular vision.
  • Binocular vision is strikingly realistic for nearby objects, especially those in arms length.
  • It is less relevant at longer distances, because the image differences get smaller.
  • And because more monocular cues become available.

What would stereo viewers do for user-built virtual worlds?


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What would stereo viewers do for user-built virtual worlds?

What are user-built virtual worlds?

  • User-built worlds are made by people and made of people.
  • User-built virtual worlds are much like the world we are accustomed to.  
  • And we do many of the things we are accustomed to doing.
  • We talk with people, work with people, meet with people.
  • We have an economy, we make, sell, and buy things.
  • We have educators teaching classes and schools with virtual campuses.
  • We have been displaying them on monitor screens, so getting a monocular view.
  • 3D headsets would give us a stereo view.

What will 3D headsets do for virtual worlds? 

  • People use monocular cues for depth perception.
  • The same cues they use to see a photograph or a movie as 3D.
  • Depth perception (Wikipedia)
  • Binocular vision is valuable for things a few feet away 
  • Binocular vision (Wikipedia)
  • Stereopsis (Wikipedia)
  • Scholarly articles for binocular stereo vision 
  • Some of us use other computer resources while in virtual worlds.
  • We use a browser to get information or a word processor to write things.
  • We would probably want to do that on the monitor.  
  • That means we take the headset off and put it somewhere.  
  • We might not want to do that often.

What activities would benefit from a 3D headset?

  • A comedy performance?  Watch the video.
  • A class?   Would the headset be convenient for taking notes?
  • A project meeting?  
  • A dance or concert?  
  • Building, scripting, or terraforming?  
  • Making a video?
  • I have done these things.  I would take the headset off every few minutes. 
  • I would conclude that the headset was more trouble that it was worth.
  • I have not thought of any of my frequent activities that would be compatible with a stereo headset.  
  • Until I think of a use case for a 3D headset, I don't think I will get one.
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