Check out this rather impressive imagining of virtual world construction in a fully tangible VR / AR environment.

The interface used is quite cool and inspirational, but there’s a lot of funky interface videos out there, and the basic idea of creating worlds from within isn’t new; Snow Crash has this sort of thing, and, to some extent, it’s a logical extension and extrapolation of Wayne Piekarski’s PhD work in using AR to build 3D models on the world around us. That said, it’s a very polished imagining of this idea, and well worth the watch.

What I really liked, though, is the emotional context in which this is placed – the film’s not just a cool interface concept, but rather an example of how virtual worlds and technology might be able to provide emotional support of a sort. Effectively, the protagonist is creating worlds to embody and relive his memories. Once, our memories were limited to shared stories, then writing, then photos, then video – it seems logical that, if 3D environments and simulated experiences could be captured, then these too would be something that we collect, file away for posterity, and maybe share with our friends.

Imagine if, instead of showing wedding photos to friends who couldn’t make it, you could compellingly simulate the experience of being there.

found via Long Now

Why do I blog this?
I’ve always loved world building, and the idea of being able to easily create and experience worlds excites me. To really be compelling, though one would need to be able to create believable simulated people and animals to populate the world; as it is, the world in this video seems somewhat lonely.


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The BMW GINA uses a rubbery fabric stretched across metal struts in place of metal skin. This makes the design seems eerily alive in places.


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Over the weekend, I encountered OECake, a demo application of a 2D physics simulation called the Octave Engine. It models gravity, particle interactions, and momentum, as well as evaporation and condensation of water particles.

So, I made a steam engine.


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via Open the Future

3D Animation of the Phoenix Lander, due to land on Mars in about 17 hours.

This expedition promising interesting results. It’ll be our first chance to sample soil beneath the Martian surface as it carries on board a digging arm capable of digging a trench half a metre deep. In addition, it carries a wet chemistry lab, a mass spectrometer, and several other instruments, allowing it to analyze whatever it finds.

Not a lot is known about the soil on Mars. Take, for example, this photo, taken by the Spirit rover. It shows a surprisingly pale soil rich in silica found just beneath the red soil surface. It wasn’t found through any deliberate effort, rather, it was spotted when, at one point, the rover’s camera was brought to bear on the trail left by its wheel in the soil. Hopefully this mission will result in a lot more information about the role and amount of water in Mars’ climate and geology. If we’re lucky, it’ll give much more conclusive evidence of whether or not there’s ever been life on Mars..

For those who are really geeky, there’ll be live footage of the NASA mission during the landing available from NASA TV on Monday from about 10am onwards

Either way, here’s hoping the landing goes well..


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