Virtual Reality Experience

Virtual Reality Experience

Virtual Reality is Creating Change in Business Practices

By Mark Sivy

The notion of “virtual reality” can be traced back to 1938 when Antonin Artaud, a French playwright, actor and director, used it in a book written about theater. Later, in the 1970s, Myron Krueger coined the term “artificial reality” in reference to the interaction between humans and computers. Historically, this concept of having a virtual experience within a computer-generated 3D simulated environment has been nothing more than an exercise in science fiction for the masses. Even though the virtual reality systems that would enable this would have been in development for decades, their price tags and technological requirements have been enormous. Then came the introduction of wearable virtual reality headsets the past couple of years.

virtual reality

Virtual Reality Options

The media forerunner in this has been the Oculus Rift, which is a consumer-targeted virtual reality head-mounted display that is expected to be released in final version near the end of 2014. It made headlines recently when it was announced that the parent company, Oculus VR, was purchased by Facebook in March 2014. The current developer kit version of the Rift is available for $350 US. Similar personal computer-connected systems are under development by other companies such as the Sony Morpheus, True Player Gear Totem, Avegant Glyph, GameFace Mark IV, and Durovis Dive, thus we can anticipate a flood of this very highly anticipated technology into the marketplace during the next couple of years. Presently these systems are primarily being designed for either immersive gaming or for movie entertainment, but other uses of the system are certainly possible and are being considered.

True Player Gear

True Player Gear

Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift

Sony Morpheus

Sony Morpheus

Market Example

For one market example, imagine the advantages that these VR options would have for education. The levels of engagement, interactivity, collaboration, presence and visualization that these devices will offer can certainly be leveraged to the advantage of learning. In a recent Wired article, Brian Shuster discussed the likelihood of using virtual world environments for educational purposes. Even the Oculus Rift creator, Palmer Luckey, envisions educational uses of his creation in an article in Gamespot. In anticipation of the educational uses of VR, East Carolina University in North Carolina had established the Virtual Reality and Education Laboratory in 1992 and the university currently offers a concentration in VR within their Education Master’s degree program.

Our Abilities

Cosmic Surrounding Technology (CST) is at the forefront of developing alternative uses of these 3D display technologies. In terms of serious gaming, CST is exploring the application of game-based virtual reality for education and training purposes. Other uses that are being considered or developed include architectural rendering, product modeling, urban planning, and personal health. To read more about this and other CST solutions, see the interview article published in the Oman Observer.

Reflection Point: Virtual reality is a medium, a means by which humans can share ideas and experiences. ~ Alan B. Craig


Digital Library II

A Digital Library Part II – How?

By Mark Sivy

The following are considerations to be made when planning a digital library. Even though this post provides a basic set of guidelines and information for establishing a digital library, the final details will depend upon the actual planning and development process for a given digital library and will be determined by its target audience and needs.

Digital Library

1. Who Are the Patrons?

It is of great importance at the onset of the project to define the target users of a digital library. Once these users and their communities are identified, it is then essential to establish their needs, abilities, and access related to the library.

2. Collaboration

For the library concept to develop and eventually succeed it is essential to identify stakeholders and collaborators who will be instrumental in establishing and maintaining the library and in developing and applying the criteria for content inclusion and to acquire the holdings.

3. Operating and Managing

Determine the organization structure, operation, and sustainability of the library.

4. Digital Library Technologies

Identify and address issues related to the digital existence and operations of the digital library. This includes such considerations as hardware, software, meta-data structure, and converting non-digital media to digital media.

5. Accessibility and Usability

Identify and address issues related to the usability of the library including functionality issues, the user interface, the user experience, and policies that govern the use of a digital library.

6. The Content

Decide upon the content and the materials to be contained in the digital library.

7. Maintenance

Determine what is needed for the short-term and long-term upkeep of the digital library.

8. Legal Concerns

Define and address the legal implications of providing materials in the library including copyrights, intellectual property rights, and fair use of materials

9. Access and Security

Incorporates the issues to be addressed when determining who will access the library, how they will access it, and what security needs to be considered to safeguard the library and its patrons.

10. Support

Support requirements and mechanisms for the digital library and its patrons.

11. Professional Development and Training

Identify library staff and patron development and learning needs.

12. Communications / Media

Establish the means for internal and external communications such as announcements, notifications, contacts, discussions and feedback.

13. Cost Implications

Identify the key factors affecting the cost of developing and maintaining a digital library.

14. Outreach

Create a social media plan, a marketing strategy and external partnerships.

Reflection Point – A library is not a luxury, but of the necessities of life. ~Henry Ward Beecher

Parts of this post are based upon the Joint United Nations recent Programme on HIV/AIDS (2010) publication Planning Tool for Developing a Digital Library of Monitoring and Evaluation Resources.

Digital Library Part I

A Digital Library Part 1 – What and Why

By Mark Sivy

A digital library is a repository of electronic versions of what would be found in a traditional library, including books, articles, journals, magazines, audio sources and video productions. Even though some information could be stored on local computer, due to the volume and continuous addition of content it is best located in a large managed database that is  can be publicly available and accessed remotely via computer networks through devices such as personal computers, laptops, tablets, or smartphones.

The digital library can open the wonders, benefits and values of the human collective of knowledge, creations, cultures, and histories to the breadth of global citizenry. This in turn can help nurture and grow our educational reach, intellectual capacities and scholarly endeavors. These digital vessels can also enable distributed access to not only classic works and masterpieces, but also the opportunity to present the efforts and crafts of lesser known individuals and upcoming contributors.

Digital LibraryWith this occurring in the realm of electronic networks, new approaches to the traditional library can more readily be integrated into the fabric of this intellectual net. Connectivity, sharing and collaborations can be developed between digital libraries and other digital repositories, thus expanding collections and conserving resources. For the digital library patron, commonly available social media can be tied in with the library to create an engaging and enriching social aspect. The vast online library storehouse is capable of distributing educational information to a great number of primary and secondary students across geographic and economic boundaries.

On the logistical and strategic fronts, digital libraries allow innovative and advanced services to be made available to a greater number of individuals at a lower per patron cost than traditional libraries. The preservation and storage of existing acquisitions becomes more readily addressed. The electronic system also tackles issues concerning the collection and retrieval of the exponentially increasing global knowledge base.

It is less expensive to scan existing content and to store new content electronically than to attempt to maintain physical versions. A digital library removes the concerns and expense of unreturned materials, damaged books, checking-out /checking-in, theft, and following up with patrons. Digital libraries allow more acquisitions and innovative materials to be made available to more individuals and a greater diversity at a lower per user cost.

Reflection Point: If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. ~Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Digital Libraries Part II will outline what is involved in creating a digital library.

3D Web – An Upcoming Innovation

3D Web – An Upcoming Innovation

By Mark Sivy

The 3D Web had been upon us for a few years now, but until it hits the mainstream it will remain unknown to many. But when that time comes, I believe we will see amazing creations stemming from this innovation, with the potential only being unlimited by one’s imagination. In the meantime, here are a couple of examples created using WebGL: Continue reading