94 results for “Virtual Living”

Three ways virtual reality is revolutionizing teaching

John Pickavance
May 14th 2019

You’ve probably heard how Virtual Reality (VR) is going to change everything: the way we work, the way we live, the way we play. Still, for every truly transformative technology, there are landfills of hoverboards, 3D televisions, Segways, and MiniDiscs – the technological scrap it turns out we didn’t need.

It’s reasonable to approach VR with a degree of scepticism, but allow me to explain three ways in which VR can transform the way we learn, and why we, as …

AR City: Paving the Way for Augmented Reality Navigation

Belen Munoz
January 17th 2018
Augmented reality applications are a promising alternative to GPS. At least that is what Blippar’s AR City app claims to be.

AI & VR Impact on Architects and Engineers

Megan Ray Nichols
December 17th 2017
Future workspace, human interaction and unique experiences: here’s how artificial intelligence and VR impact on architects and engineers.

The Next Nature Guide to Games in 2017

Jack Caulfield
November 30th 2017

In the next nature, many people spend as much time in the digital world of gaming as they do in the real world. We have covered video games before, but this year we thought it could be fun to list some of our favorites. These are the games that in 2017 have been transporting us into the future, blurring the line between virtual and real, and giving us access to new hybrid experiences.…

Intimate Technology S01E08: Scroll

NextNature.net
November 28th 2017
The last episode of our Intimate Technology series follows a minute in the life of a hyperconnected family in the digital era.

Intimate Technology S01E04: So Happy Together

NextNature.net
October 31st 2017
What if you could upload your fondest memories to the cloud? Watch episode 4 of our Intimate Technology video series.

Virtual Networking, the Future Social Media

Megan Ray Nichols
August 28th 2017
Virtual reality is already becoming a part of the conversation surrounding social media. Will it become the next popular social network?

Experience Death with VR

Julie Reindl
May 10th 2017
Virtual reality experiment tries to help people frightened of death with outer-body experience.

A Virtual Reality Retreat

Ruben Baart
May 4th 2017
Are we sleepwalking into our technological future?

Visit the Modernist Dream

NextNature.net
February 16th 2017
Discover the Next Nature Habitat VR and explore four future environments we might live in someday.
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You’ve probably heard how Virtual Reality (VR) is going to change everything: the way we work, the way we live, the way we play. Still, for every truly transformative technology, there are landfills of hoverboards, 3D televisions, Segways, and MiniDiscs – the technological scrap it turns out we didn’t need.

It’s reasonable to approach VR with a degree of scepticism, but allow me to explain three ways in which VR can transform the way we learn, and why we, as psychologists, are so excited about it.

1. Exploring the unexplorable

VR has great potential as a classroom aid. We know learning is more effective when learners are actively engaged. Practical lessons that encourage interaction are more successful than those where content is passively absorbed. However, certain topics are difficult to ground in meaningful tasks that learners relate to.

From the enormity of the universe to the cellular complexity of living organisms, our egocentric senses haven’t evolved to comprehend anything beyond the scale of ourselves. Through stereoscopic trickery and motion tracking, VR grounds counter-factual worlds in the plausible. For the first time, learners can step inside these environments and explore for themselves.

Researchers are currently developing Virtual Plant Cell, the first interactive VR experience that’s designed for use in the classroom. Learners explore the alien landscape of – well – a plant cell. Wading through swampy cytosol, ducking and weaving around cytoskeletal fibres, and uncovering the secrets of the plant’s subcellular treasures: emerald green chloroplasts, where photosynthesis takes place, curious blobs of mitochondria, or a glimpse of DNA through a sychedelic nuclear pore.

The inner workings of the cell are grounded, allowing students to actively engage with the lesson’s content through meaningful tasks. They may work in pairs to give each other tours, or create a photosynthetic production line. Using intuitive gestures, students grab carbon dioxide and water molecules from around the cell, feeding them to chloroplasts to produce glucose and oxygen. With all the ingredients for active learning, the Virtual Plant Cell should be a particularly effective teaching aid. Indeed, preliminary data suggests it may improve learning over traditional methods by 30%.

2. VR for everyone and everything

It’s not just the learning of “what” something is that VR can assist with, but also the learning of “how” to do something. In psychology, we make the distinction between declarative (what) and procedural (how) knowledge precisely because the latter is formed by doing and can be applied directly to a given task. Put simply, the best way to learn a skill is by doing it.

Every learner’s goal is to cultivate a large enough range of experience that individual elements can be drawn upon to meet the demands of novel problems. To this end, a great deal has been invested into training simulators for high-risk skills such as flying and surgery. But there are many lower-risk skills which would benefit from simulation, there’s just been little reason to justify investment. That is, until now.

Advancements in mobile technology have led to high-definition VR sets for the price of a mid-range TV. Without the financial barrier, consumer-grade VR opens the door to improve skills training in settings where the real thing isn’t readily available.

One such example would be the Virtual Landscapes programme we’ve developed at the University of Leeds. A vital part of any geologist’s training is to learn how to conduct geological surveys. Armed with a compass, GPS and a map, geologists must navigate unfamiliar terrain to make observations, ensuring they make the most of their time. VR simulation can provide this in real time, with all the tools they’d expect to have out in the field.

The advantages are twofold. Student absences from field trips become less of a hindrance with access to an accurate simulation. The challenges of surveying a mountainous region differ from those in a tropical rainforest. It may be easier to see where you’re going, but your choice of path will be more constrained. VR can present these different biomes without students having to visit all corners of the Earth. The learner’s experience is expanded, and they’re better equipped to tackle novel problems in the field.

3. Wearing (a VR headset) is caring

VR may also hold the key to driving positive behavioural changes. One way we know we can achieve this is by eliciting empathy. VR uniquely allows people to experience alternative perspectives, even being dubbed the ultimate “empathy machine”. It’s a lofty claim, but early applications have shown promise.

A recent Stanford study showed that participants who experienced becoming homeless in VR displayed more positive behaviour towards homeless people – in this case, through signing a petition demanding solutions to the housing crisis – than those who engaged with the same materials on a traditional desktop computer. This effect persisted long after the study ended. Perhaps by experiencing firsthand the challenges faced by vulnerable groups, we can share a common understanding.

The power of VR to elicit empathy might be used to tackle an even wider range of social issues. We’ve been running VR outreach projects in schools to improve awareness around climate change. Through VR, young people have witnessed the melting of the icecaps, swam in the Great Barrier Reef to see the effects of receding coral on the ecosystem and rubbed shoulders with great primates whose habitats are being cleared by deforestation. Using VR, we hope to cultivate environmentally responsible behaviour before attitudes and habits become more fixed.

So there you have it. By bringing previously inaccessible experiences into the classroom, VR may accelerate the learning of abstract concepts, augment the acquisition of skills, and perhaps even be a force for social change. For now, the technological scrap heap can wait.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

[post_title] => Three ways virtual reality is revolutionizing teaching [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => three-ways-virtual-reality-is-revolutionizing-teaching [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-10-07 14:44:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-10-07 13:44:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=111024 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 79512 [post_author] => 1511 [post_date] => 2018-01-17 09:55:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-01-17 08:55:49 [post_content] => Over the last decade, devices with Global Positioning System, commonly abbreviated as GPS, have proved to be powerful tools in assisting users navigate through city streets. Admittedly, they are not always as accurate as one would desire. In fact, they often spark off discussions as to who was right or wrong in interpreting the indication saying “turn left after 100 meters”. Whoever has been down that road before will find in augmented reality applications a promising alternative for achieving a more accurate and successful navigation. At least that is what Blippar’s AR City app claims to be.Tech company Blippar aims to transform the way we travel across our cities. They plan to achieve this by merging AR with a specific branch of artificial intelligence known as “computer vision”. It has been only a couple of months since Blippar announced the launch of their new AR City app (currently in Beta), which gives users access to an enhanced map. The app overlays digital content, such as names of streets or points of interest onto the physical world captured by smartphone lenses. In short, it allows the camera to recognize and “see” the world as the human eye does, while providing information about the captured object.GPS devices have long been challenged by the level of accuracy in determining the position and the direction of the user. Getting lost due to these imprecisions stops being a problem as soon as users immerse themselves in the 3D navigation system displayed on their smartphones.As Ambarish Mitra, CEO of Blippar, explains: “The technology seamlessly combines the digital with the physical, and is a significant step in our mission to create AR natural enough that users don’t feel any disconnect”.This technology is still in an early stage, but it has a foreseeable potential to drastically change the current way we perceive, engage with, and explore our environment. This is especially the case if one considers applying AR and computer vision to eye-wearable devices. These could end up being the more practical solution, since they would not confine our newly enhanced vision to the tiny screens of our phones.Sources: BlipparBBC [post_title] => AR City: Paving the Way for Augmented Reality Navigation [post_excerpt] => Augmented reality applications are a promising alternative to GPS. At least that is what Blippar’s AR City app claims to be. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ar-city-augmented-reality-navigation [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-01-17 10:02:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-01-17 09:02:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=79512/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 79179 [post_author] => 872 [post_date] => 2017-12-17 10:00:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-12-17 09:00:08 [post_content] => The modern world is only just now starting to come to terms with the idea of fully immersive digital experiences. We're not talking about the kind you get sitting in front of a screen, playing games or watching media. We’re talking about entering a digital space via virtual reality or augmented reality tech.It’s clear the technology is about to disrupt many industries as it advances in capability. Imagine a VR system to give military personnel real-world, hands-on experiences without ever leaving an in-country facility. Or, envision AR tools that help construction and project managers visualize a property or structure before it’s complete.These examples are not pipe dreams, either. Major brands such as Facebook, Amazon, Google and even Microsoft are heavily investing in the necessary technologies and their experiences. You see, that’s the next hurdle. It’s not just about having the technology - or devices - to allow this sort of thing. It’s also about crafting and developing the experiences to make it happen - in other words, the software to go along with the hardware.Here’s where the driving idea behind AI or VR in architecture and engineering comes into play.

Custom and unique experiences abound

It’s no secret companies will need to develop, maintain and perfect virtual experiences for various industries. Some have a greater advantage than others - for example, the military can take several bits of inspiration from the gaming world. You could argue architecture, engineering and design could do the same, borrowing from the sweeping builds you see in modern video games, such as Assassin’s Creed Unity in Paris, or Tom Clancy’s The Division in a post-apocalyptic New York.We can expect to see many new opportunities in terms of immersive experiences and environments. One of the obvious examples of AR in architecture is using the tech to visualize projects and designs. BIM, or building information models, can benefit greatly from a more digital investment, such as one you get from a VR experience. Interested parties could enter the digital space, manipulate objects and scenery and even view concepts as full-scale recreations.AR and VR augment and improve the tasks of existing professionals in the workforce, but they also make things a whole lot more modern and interesting for younger generations. Millennials, for example, may be more attracted to various trades and professions that have implemented modern technologies.There’s another aspect we’d be remiss not to mention. These technologies will also alter the way - and environments - in which we work.

The office of the future

Tired of working in a cramped cubicle, or middle office? Pretty soon, you might be able to don a pair of AR or VR glasses and enter a completely different world. Imagine working on the shores of a sunny beach, for instance. What about chilling in a boat, out on a calm lake, with a fishing pole at your side?Companies like Mure VR are already crafting these kinds of unique and alien experiences that let you enter a whole new environment. Want to work in the isolated, quiet confines of outer space? No problem! Want to sit inside a deep-positioned submarine? It’s possible. The opportunities are endless.More importantly, the options are coming. Pretty soon, these examples will be more than just theoretical; we will have the technology in our hands, to do anything we can imagine.

The way we work and interact is evolving

Alongside those unique experiences will come a new form of work or organization. Employees and personnel will need to build the experience and skills to work in these new environments. The varying formats such technologies can offer call for a need to familiarize oneself with a digital landscape, as opposed to a physical one. For example, we’ll need to learn the difference between working with a virtual desktop and a physical one.It’s not only possible, however. It’s probable. In fact, AR is expected to claim $83 billion in market share by 2021, with VR taking $25 billion, for a total somewhere between $94 and $122 billion. It’s growing, and fast, which means these kinds of experiences and tools will be here before you know it.Image: Arch Daily [post_title] => AI & VR Impact on Architects and Engineers [post_excerpt] => Future workspace, human interaction and unique experiences: here’s how artificial intelligence and VR impact on architects and engineers. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ai-vr-impact-architects-engineers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-04-18 11:14:33 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-04-18 10:14:33 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=79179/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 78877 [post_author] => 1425 [post_date] => 2017-11-30 11:04:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-30 10:04:20 [post_content] => In the next nature, many people spend as much time in the digital world of gaming as they do in the real world. We have covered video games before, but this year we thought it could be fun to list some of our favorites. These are the games that in 2017 have been transporting us into the future, blurring the line between virtual and real, and giving us access to new hybrid experiences.

Going back to the tribe: Horizon: Zero Dawn

Horizon is set in the 31st century, in a world where humans have gone back to the tribal hunter-gatherer lifestyle after some unnamed calamity. They live alongside not the animals we are familiar with, but large mechanical beings which resemble dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. The player character navigates with the help of an augmented reality device called Focus. It's a world where you can experience the collision of old and new, nature and technology, like nowhere else.

Floating through space in VR: Lone Echo

Lone Echo is a virtual reality game that takes the player on an intense journey into outer space. More than simple visual spectacle, the game offers players the feeling of navigating in zero gravity, as they must use their hands to grab onto objects and propel themselves through space. A striking example of the potential of VR to let us embody new experiences - though not for the faint of heart!

Watching two bots hold a conversation: Seebotschat

This one isn’t exactly a game, but Twitch - a popular video game streaming site - has been playing host to some pretty strange shows in the last couple of years. We covered Twitch Plays Pokémon already. This year, an enterprising user decided to show their audience what a conversation between two bots would look like - specifically, two Google Home devices. The results turned out to be surreal. While the stream is no longer live, you can still watch some highlights from the bots' bizarre, elliptical conversation on the channel.

Exploring the whole world from your desktop: GeoGuessr

You've probably used Google Street View, the service that allows you to virtually travel down streets all across the world. But did you know someone made a game out of it? GeoGuessr drops you in a random location from Street View and asks you to figure out exactly where you are on the world map. More than a test of your language and geography skills, it's a unique and engaging way to explore the world and learn more about it. Who needs to go all the way to Paris when you can travel there digitally for free?

Seeing through the eyes of a bird: Eagle Flight

Speaking of Paris, our last pick is another VR game, this time allowing you to control an eagle flying through the sky above the city. Eagle Flight doesn't send you to space, but it gives you a bird's-eye view of the landscape. Players control the direction of their flight with head movements, meaning you can really feel what it might feel like to navigate across the sky as a bird. Proof that VR technology can blur not only the line between real and virtual, but also the line between human and animal. [post_title] => The Next Nature Guide to Games in 2017 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => next-nature-guide-games-2017 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-12-04 10:16:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-12-04 09:16:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=78877/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 78798 [post_author] => 367 [post_date] => 2017-11-28 10:00:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-28 08:00:10 [post_content] => Nowadays we spend a lot of our time scrolling through digital timelines, tapping and swiping on screens. Such behavior is so ingrained that we forget the older technologies these actions are meant to emulate. Swiping no longer reminds us of turning the page of a book. We tap on digital keyboards without thinking for a moment about typewriters. Scrolling certainly no longer recalls actual scrolls. Digital rituals meant to recall their analog forebears are second nature to us now, but in his movie Scroll, Daniel Sánchez brings our relationship with these rituals vividly back to life.The video follows a minute in the life of a hyperconnected family in the digital era. Every family member has their own device which fully occupies their attention. The father receives notifications about his high school reunion. The young boy Samuel sends emoji-filled messages to his school friend. His sister uploads selfies and watches approval flood in, until Samuel snaps an unflattering picture of her and tags her without permission.In Sánchez’s tech-saturated vision of postmodernity, little has really changed about the dynamics of family life. Kids still chat with their school friends. Their elders still try to reconnect with old ones. Siblings still squabble and tease one another. All this may now be accomplished through digital interfaces, but the reasons and feelings involved have hardly changed. And the video ends with a quiet moment which reminds us where all these digital gestures originated from. While her siblings fight in the next room, the youngest daughter taps and swipes on a picture frame showing a photo of the family, achieving no response. The metaphor has come full circle.Is family life radically changed by the presence of new technologies, or does it simply adapt? What do you make of the intimate rituals we perform with our technologies? Does our intuitive understanding of new tech rely on analogies to old ones?[youtube]https://youtu.be/bcnvQdYJJrs[/youtube]Credit: Scroll, by Daniel Sánchez (CO)______________And that's a wrap! The first season of our Intimate Technology series has come to an end. Missed an episode? Or do you want to immerse yourself once more in the entire series? Scroll through our web archive here. [post_title] => Intimate Technology S01E08: Scroll [post_excerpt] => The last episode of our Intimate Technology series follows a minute in the life of a hyperconnected family in the digital era. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => intimate-technology-s01e08 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-12-03 14:08:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-12-03 13:08:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=78798/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 78194 [post_author] => 367 [post_date] => 2017-10-31 10:00:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-31 08:00:53 [post_content] => What if you could upload your fondest memories to the cloud, delete those you don’t want anymore, make a highlight reel of the best days of your life? This is the future that Benedikt Wöppel envisions in“So Happy Together”.Wöppel’s film takes the form of an advert for Google’s (imaginary) new product: The Mind Uploader G9, a device that allows us to archive, curate, search and delete our memories on a whim. Such a technology would have many implications. It could become a new feature in our daily lives. Nowadays, we do not consider remembering a real activity in our lives; it is something that happens passively. But with a Mind Uploader, we might deliberately schedule time with our memories into our daily routine.1-2 pm: relive childhood. Nevertheless, memory is among the most intimate features of our minds. Many of us would think twice before surrendering it to technology.If you had a Mind Uploader, what would you do with it? You could dip into happier times when you feel down, or delete anything disturbing or embarrassing in order to feel better about yourself. Such a device could make you happier in your day-to-day life, or it could simply distract you. These are the issues Wöppel’s thought-provoking film brings vividly to life.Do you forget things you ought to remember, or remember experiences you would like to forget? Would you buy a Mind Uploader if you could?[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_OcCRny5ZM[/youtube]
Credit: So Happy Together by Benedikt Wöppel (DE).
[post_title] => Intimate Technology S01E04: So Happy Together [post_excerpt] => What if you could upload your fondest memories to the cloud? Watch episode 4 of our Intimate Technology video series. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => intimate-technology-happy-together [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-12-03 14:08:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-12-03 13:08:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=78194/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 76777 [post_author] => 872 [post_date] => 2017-08-28 09:43:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-28 07:43:41 [post_content] => In a way, social media is a form of virtual reality. You portray a version of yourself, but that representation isn’t exactly you. You have to leave some aspects of yourself out, and people often add in pieces that don’t exist in the real world. People tend to show only the best parts of their lives, while leaving out the negative and unexciting parts. Some day soon, that virtual version of yourself will become much more realistic, but still it won’t necessarily represent what you really are. Virtual reality technology, which is already becoming a part of the conversation surrounding social media, will enable this shift.FB and VRIn 2014, Facebook purchased Oculus Rift, one of the world’s leading virtual reality companies. FB recently launched the beta version of a social virtual reality app that allows you to communicate with people through the use of avatars in a virtual but 3D environment.This leap into VR wasn’t a sudden development for social media. Social media has slowly been becoming more realistic and engaging. Social media has transformed from using just text, images and video to today’s iterations where users can stream live videos and upload “360 videos,” which allow viewers to pan and tilt their view to see the video from any angle. Virtual reality will take these interactive and real-time trends to the next level.Facebook has signaled that it’s just beginning its expansion into VR. It wants to make the technology into a new form of communication where people can virtually meet up with friends and communicate with them in realistic ways from the comfort of their VR systems.A Tale of Two WorldsWhat would this virtual social world look like? In its perfect form, a lot like reality. Except that in a virtual world, you can do things you couldn’t do in the real world and be anyone you want as well.You could create an avatar that looks like you do in reality. At some point, technology may allow you to generate a digital version of you that’s indiscernible from the human version. This would enable you to share your world with your friends in a much more comprehensive way and hang out with them in virtual worlds.Many users, though, would likely create avatars that are nothing like their real-life selves. Why stick to what you’re like in your daily life when you can be anyone one you want in a multitude of realistic virtual worlds?Redefining RealVR may one day become even more engaging and seemingly more meaningful than real life. Designers develop VR experiences that play to our senses. We might experience things in a virtual world, but these experiences can cause real emotional reactions.Combining human-like avatars with the precision of a computer program could yield powerful results. Did you know that if someone mimics your movements, you’re more likely to agree with them? Humans can do this subconsciously, but it’s difficult to purposely mirror someone’s head tilting and hand movements in a natural-looking way while maintaining the flow of conversation. A computer-powered avatar, however, would have no trouble with this.As virtual reality becomes more and more realistic, how will we be able to tell the difference between the digital world and the physical world? How much of a difference will there even be? If we can have sensory and emotional experiences in the virtual world, does that make it, in a way, real?What this would mean for society is a fascinating discussion. Some people might end up spending more time in the virtual world than out of it.As social media becomes increasingly integrated into our lives, the question of what comes next looms large. According to social media and tech industry leaders, the answer seems to be the merging of social media and virtual reality, and the thinning of the line between the physical and digital worlds. [post_title] => Virtual Networking, the Future Social Media [post_excerpt] => Virtual reality is already becoming a part of the conversation surrounding social media. Will it become the next popular social network? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => virtual-reality-social-media-future [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-29 09:55:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-29 07:55:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=76777/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 74340 [post_author] => 1317 [post_date] => 2017-05-10 08:25:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-10 06:25:27 [post_content] => What it's like to be dead? That's a question we humans cannot answer until we are there, at the end of our lives. The big unknown. But this virtual reality experience developed at the University of Barcelona might get you a glimpse into how it could feel like to be dead, and with that eventually reduce the angst of leaving this earth.The experience was tested on 32 volunteers, the idea is to make users think that the virtual body perceived through the VR headset is their own. While wearing the headset, the illusion of living in the virtual body was built step by step, by training the computer generated body to match all the movements the physical body performed. A hit against the simulated head would be synched by a real hit on the person's actual head. The real time synchronisation is comparable to the so called rubber hand illusion, a trick often practiced by scientist, using fake body parts in order to explore how the mind, associates information gained from the senses to create a feeling of body ownership. An example would be a person with a missing limb, thinking the part is still attached even if it's physically impossible.After believing the illusion, the test people watched their own body switch into a different perspective. They had the feeling of floating out of the virtually body and looking down, from a higher perspective. The researchers would then drop balls on the virtual representations of the volunteers while they were looking down from above, activating the vibrators on only half of them. Those who received vibrations still felt connected to their bodies, while those who didn't felt disconnected and said the experience reduced their fear of dying.Even though this VR experience might not completely remove our fear of death, it tells something about the connection between a person's consciousness and his/her physical body. "It gives a sense that it’s possible to survive beyond death" Mel Slater, team leader of the project, said. The so-called outer-body-experience is nothing new and has been often reported by patients surviving a heart attack or a coma. Slater hopes this project could help terminally ill patients or people suffering from a life impairing death phobia.This experiment shows again how we can use technology to simulate our notion of reality, luckily in this case there is the exit button to go back to real life.Source: Endgaged. Image: VR Scout [post_title] => Experience Death with VR [post_excerpt] => Virtual reality experiment tries to help people frightened of death with outer-body experience. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => experience-death-virtual-reality [to_ping] => [pinged] => https://vrscout.com/projects/an-out-of-body-vr-experience/ [post_modified] => 2017-05-12 12:37:42 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-12 10:37:42 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=74340/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 73567 [post_author] => 873 [post_date] => 2017-05-04 11:01:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-04 09:01:40 [post_content] => After virtual reality meditation, here comes the VR full retreat. Infinity House opened its doors as the world’s first virtual retreat for the sake of self-enrichment. Instead of spending the average price of $250 a day, this immersive wellbeing experience simply needs a pair of goggles.The self acclaimed "gateway to a new and harmonious life" presents an alternative dimension in which the guests are said to achieve "all that [they] desire". Throughout several categories and with the help of experienced personal trainers, the visitors are promised to reach their goals towards a higher state of consciousness, which in turn will have positive effects on their health and wellbeing. "Scientifically, scans show that mediation increases the cortical folding which means that the brain can process information faster as well as increasing whole brain function" the promotional video explains.A dreamy narration takes the viewer on a guided tour to a world that appears similar to the corporate feel of Life Extension, a fictional company the movie Vanilla Sky, which specializes in cryonic suspension. With slogans as "All that you can imagine" and "Design your new adventure" the comparison is uncanny. In the movie, the protagonist decides to take life in his own hands after he experiences an unfortunate turn of events, and signs up for the company's lucid dream experience, which results in a bad trip and can only end with a horrid scenario he chose for himself.Yes, virtual reality is a temporal simulation that we can escape by taking off our goggles. But if there is one thing the VR production house sets out to prove is that simulations are now more meaningful than the reality they represent. In their book Boundaries of Self and Reality Online, psychologists Jayne Gackenbach & Johnathan Bown put virtual experiences to the test. Using the notion of 'game transfer phenomenom', the researchers describe the moment where the physical reality and its virtual counterpart start to blend (an effect commonly found among gamers). Similarly, Gackenbach found that gamers who often spend time in virtual worlds are more in control of their dream worlds than non-gamers (what she calls 'lucidity'), suggesting that spending time in virtual worlds might teach them to experience a dream as such. In her latest research, Gackenbach poses the same questions towards virtual reality.With the long-awaited mainstream takeover of immersive devices (2015? 2016? 2017?), Gackenbach opens an important debate in anticipation to intensified brain results. "All this points to one thing" she said during the CGSA Annual Conference of the University of Calgary."When you alter people’s waking realities, their memory changes. The more you think you’re in one reality, it alters your memory of other realities".Virtual chambers have a surreal quality that can be similarly read as dreams. A number of psychologists are researching the effects of virtual reality and consciousness inference in dreaming, but also in waking state (remember Pokemon Go?). While augmented reality apps might seem less physically immersive than virtual reality, chances are big they lead to similar neurological confusion, and this might be a problem. Before we start plunging ourselves into virtual bathhouses and augmented meditations, it is important to reflect on our technologies. A wise man once said: "We are sleepwalking into our technological future" and this might be the proof. One thing is for sure, the worlds are definitely merging. But wasn't that the dream all along?Sources: Infinite 360VR ProductionsLiveScienceThe Atlantic, Psychology Today [post_title] => A Virtual Reality Retreat [post_excerpt] => Are we sleepwalking into our technological future? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => virtual-reality-retreat [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-07 11:49:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-07 09:49:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=73567/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 70237 [post_author] => 367 [post_date] => 2017-02-16 10:03:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-16 09:03:43 [post_content] => Imagine living in a completely simulated virtual reality. The Modernist Dream is an environment made of screens and interfaces, with responsive walls, windows and ceilings. By having absolute control over what our surroundings should hold, we have the world at our fingertips. However, simulations will become so hyperreal, we no longer find ourselves able to distinguish between the real and the virtual. Step inside the Next Nature Habitat VR and discover the future environments we might live in someday. [post_title] => Visit the Modernist Dream [post_excerpt] => Discover the Next Nature Habitat VR and explore four future environments we might live in someday. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => visit-modernist-dream [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-03-02 11:06:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-02 10:06:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=70237 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 ))[post_count] => 10 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 111024 [post_author] => 2038 [post_date] => 2019-05-14 15:21:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-05-14 14:21:52 [post_content] =>

You’ve probably heard how Virtual Reality (VR) is going to change everything: the way we work, the way we live, the way we play. Still, for every truly transformative technology, there are landfills of hoverboards, 3D televisions, Segways, and MiniDiscs – the technological scrap it turns out we didn’t need.

It’s reasonable to approach VR with a degree of scepticism, but allow me to explain three ways in which VR can transform the way we learn, and why we, as psychologists, are so excited about it.

1. Exploring the unexplorable

VR has great potential as a classroom aid. We know learning is more effective when learners are actively engaged. Practical lessons that encourage interaction are more successful than those where content is passively absorbed. However, certain topics are difficult to ground in meaningful tasks that learners relate to.

From the enormity of the universe to the cellular complexity of living organisms, our egocentric senses haven’t evolved to comprehend anything beyond the scale of ourselves. Through stereoscopic trickery and motion tracking, VR grounds counter-factual worlds in the plausible. For the first time, learners can step inside these environments and explore for themselves.

Researchers are currently developing Virtual Plant Cell, the first interactive VR experience that’s designed for use in the classroom. Learners explore the alien landscape of – well – a plant cell. Wading through swampy cytosol, ducking and weaving around cytoskeletal fibres, and uncovering the secrets of the plant’s subcellular treasures: emerald green chloroplasts, where photosynthesis takes place, curious blobs of mitochondria, or a glimpse of DNA through a sychedelic nuclear pore.

The inner workings of the cell are grounded, allowing students to actively engage with the lesson’s content through meaningful tasks. They may work in pairs to give each other tours, or create a photosynthetic production line. Using intuitive gestures, students grab carbon dioxide and water molecules from around the cell, feeding them to chloroplasts to produce glucose and oxygen. With all the ingredients for active learning, the Virtual Plant Cell should be a particularly effective teaching aid. Indeed, preliminary data suggests it may improve learning over traditional methods by 30%.

2. VR for everyone and everything

It’s not just the learning of “what” something is that VR can assist with, but also the learning of “how” to do something. In psychology, we make the distinction between declarative (what) and procedural (how) knowledge precisely because the latter is formed by doing and can be applied directly to a given task. Put simply, the best way to learn a skill is by doing it.

Every learner’s goal is to cultivate a large enough range of experience that individual elements can be drawn upon to meet the demands of novel problems. To this end, a great deal has been invested into training simulators for high-risk skills such as flying and surgery. But there are many lower-risk skills which would benefit from simulation, there’s just been little reason to justify investment. That is, until now.

Advancements in mobile technology have led to high-definition VR sets for the price of a mid-range TV. Without the financial barrier, consumer-grade VR opens the door to improve skills training in settings where the real thing isn’t readily available.

One such example would be the Virtual Landscapes programme we’ve developed at the University of Leeds. A vital part of any geologist’s training is to learn how to conduct geological surveys. Armed with a compass, GPS and a map, geologists must navigate unfamiliar terrain to make observations, ensuring they make the most of their time. VR simulation can provide this in real time, with all the tools they’d expect to have out in the field.

The advantages are twofold. Student absences from field trips become less of a hindrance with access to an accurate simulation. The challenges of surveying a mountainous region differ from those in a tropical rainforest. It may be easier to see where you’re going, but your choice of path will be more constrained. VR can present these different biomes without students having to visit all corners of the Earth. The learner’s experience is expanded, and they’re better equipped to tackle novel problems in the field.

3. Wearing (a VR headset) is caring

VR may also hold the key to driving positive behavioural changes. One way we know we can achieve this is by eliciting empathy. VR uniquely allows people to experience alternative perspectives, even being dubbed the ultimate “empathy machine”. It’s a lofty claim, but early applications have shown promise.

A recent Stanford study showed that participants who experienced becoming homeless in VR displayed more positive behaviour towards homeless people – in this case, through signing a petition demanding solutions to the housing crisis – than those who engaged with the same materials on a traditional desktop computer. This effect persisted long after the study ended. Perhaps by experiencing firsthand the challenges faced by vulnerable groups, we can share a common understanding.

The power of VR to elicit empathy might be used to tackle an even wider range of social issues. We’ve been running VR outreach projects in schools to improve awareness around climate change. Through VR, young people have witnessed the melting of the icecaps, swam in the Great Barrier Reef to see the effects of receding coral on the ecosystem and rubbed shoulders with great primates whose habitats are being cleared by deforestation. Using VR, we hope to cultivate environmentally responsible behaviour before attitudes and habits become more fixed.

So there you have it. By bringing previously inaccessible experiences into the classroom, VR may accelerate the learning of abstract concepts, augment the acquisition of skills, and perhaps even be a force for social change. For now, the technological scrap heap can wait.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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