(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Friday, March 05, 2004
VR Goes Mainstream (sort of)

Remember the early 90s excitement about Virtual Reality, with goggles and gloves and full 3D simulations in sound and audio? And then the discovery that wearing VR goggles could strain your neck in about 30 minutes, felt uncomfortable, and was in many ways less satisfying than sitting behind a computer screen? Well, that may have killed early 3D VR, but as technology gets fast enough, VR is making a partial comeback, although not using Gogs'n'gloves, but on a flat screen using 3D modelling (which, is all fairness, might be more like playing Quake than early ideas of VR). This digital modelling seems to be here to stay, though, because it's helping folks make money! The NY Times reports:
WHEN the Philadelphia Phillies' $458 million ballpark opens in April, some ticket holders may experience something akin to what Yogi Berra famously described as "déjà vu all over again." While nothing could replicate the open-air spectacle of actually being there - the crack of the bat, the cheering fans, the aroma of hot dogs and peanuts - thousands of people toured the park, in a sense, long before it existed. They visited it virtually, gliding through a finely detailed, three-dimensional digital model. AEI Digital, a division of EwingCole, one of the architectural firms that designed the park, meticulously constructed it in more than four million polygons. This was accomplished long before the last real brick, last cubic yard of real concrete and last piece of real structural steel were laid, poured and bolted into place - even before the place was named Citizens Bank Park. In fact, the digital model was a vital tool in giving prospective investors a good idea of just how their company's name might look looming high above the park, said John Weber, the Phillies' director of sales.
The virtual as gateway to the material; not a new idea, but a hell of a lot more engaging than a 1/1000 model scale!


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