Chinese Painting Essay Research Paper Virtual RealityVirtual

Chinese Painting Essay, Research Paper

Virtual RealityVirtual reality is the concept of illusion. It is an artificial realm itself, a fresh experience that involves the use of high technology. It is to convince oneself the existence of a non-real world. It is also a method to communicate ideas, thoughts, and a tool to experience what one might not be able to achieve. The term virtual reality was coined by Jaron Lanier, founder of VPL Research, to distinguish between the immersive digital worlds he was trying to create and traditional computer simulations (Pimentel & Teixeira, XV). On the other hand, virtual reality can be defined as an interactive three-dimensional playground (Gradecki, 9) that allows human to interact with the computer and immerse into the digital world through a VR program. One then can able to explore another dimension in first-person perspective and even manipulate objects. Virtual reality (VR) is enabled based on the concept of synergy , in which “bottom-up approach” (course kit, 69) is used to study how synergy or emergence property works. Researchers study over artificial life and investigate the whole system from the bottom up to the top. It is best explained that by looking into the way of how the individual artificial life interacts with each other and seeing how different unpredictable combinations are evolved (course kit, 69). Therefore, using synthesis instead of analysis, artificial lives are not separate with each other but are forced to interact with one another. Aside from that, artificial life has another crucial feature – true reproduction of each individual can be carried out so as it resembles real living creatures on the earth (course kit, 68). Since a set of computer instructions is programmed into each artificial life, these instructions act as their genes to produce offspring and so reproduction carries on in the following generations. After all, artificial life is able to evolve into new forms after generations. Hence, the greatest contribution of emergent property is to give us a way to study innovation or novelty (course kit, 68).Before further investigation into the new technology, one should better trace back to its origin. It seems that VR was born instantaneously. In reality, it has begun since the Renaissance to the creation of motion pictures, modern civilization has been moving steadily towards more participation in imaginative worlds (Pimentel & Teixeira, XV). “The primary defining characteristic of VR is inclusion; being surrounded by an environment. VR places the participant inside information.” Therefore, the degree of how much one is immersed into another virtual world is the essential element for VR actually to work out. On the other hand, the creation of an environment requires the immersion of the senses in a computer-generated world to create the experience of “being there”. The question is not whether the created virtual world is as real as the physical world, but whether the created world is real enough for one to suspend his/hers disbelief for a period of time (Pimentel & Teixeira, 15). Today, human rely on the telephone not only to communicate, rather to provide the sense of someone else’s presence. Even though in reality one is listening to an electromechanical re-creation of another human voice. One needs to learn to ignore the telephone and concentrate on the conversation. It has now been over 100 years since the introduction of the telephone. Therefore, for four generations, people have already experienced a type of virtual reality using the telephone (Pimentel & Teixeira, 8). Similarly, watching movie or play at theatre and religious rituals both take place while all kinds of distraction from the surroundings are blocked, and one is able to immerse him/herself in his/her own world and forget about the actual reality. Virtual reality is actually experienced under these circumstances. Interactivity, like immersion, is a crucial aspect of VR. There are two unique aspects of interactivity in a virtual world: navigation within the world and the dynamics of the environment. Navigation is simply a user’s ability to move around independently as if being in there. And constraints can be set by the software developer for access into certain virtual areas, allowing various degrees of freedom (Pimentel & Teixeira, 15). This is believed to be the advantages of VR (emergent property) for one can explore and experience a new world where human are not yet able to reach.Through the development of the digital technology, VR development is advancing rapidly. There are many different formats and a variety of systems that are calling themselves virtual reality. They can be categorized into various forms. However, it is crucial to differentiate the distinction between VR and multimedia. Since the computer’s ability to manipulate and communicate makes it a “meta-medium”, a medium in which all previous media are combined and regenerated, this has led to both multimedia computers and virtual reality (Pimentel & Teixeira, 10). “Being able to mix together existing media forms, such as photos, images, sound, and books, and then come up with something new is what multimedia is all about.” The difference between virtual reality and multimedia is that VR is about creation, while multimedia is about bringing the old media forms together into the computer. They do not change so much as they get combined in new ways. VR is about creating something completely new. There is another important but confusing aspect that is somehow similar to VR, which is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Early AI developers assumed that what was easy for a human to do would also be easy for a computer. But it turned out to be the opposite. A computer can do things that are far beyond human capability, such as complex mathematics. But simple tasks that can be done by a two-year-old kid (ie. recognizing a face or an object) have been too tough for AI-based systems to struggle for over forty years (Pimentel & Teixeira, 242). In contrast, VR does not require a major breakthrough in software or in our understanding of how human brain works. This may be what we call “top-down approach” that AI is using, while VR is taking advantage of “bottom-up approach”.As computer technology develops, human are benefited and able to experience VR more efficiently, and sooner, virtual reality will become a part of our life. In the 1960s and 1970s, people are able to access to computers through individual workstations. But simple instructions would take quite a long time, it became hideous and mind numbing when comes computer operation. Computers then evolved and improved that allow the user to make selections from the menu by simply pressing one or two keys. The popularity of computers increased dramatically since then. In 1971, the microprocessor was introduced, making personal computer possible and provided a hardware interface platform for modern graphical software interfaces (Pimentel & Teixeira, 14). GUIs (graphical interfaces) developed at Xerox PARC and later Apple Macintosh; enable users to communicate with computers more efficiently then ever. With virtual reality, GUI acts as a human-computer interface that allows users to step through the computer screen and get into a sensory-immersing environment. In which the virtual world interactively responds to and is controlled by the behavior of the user.In fact the degree of immersion into VR varies, but still have certain influences on audiences. It is believed that full immersion is the only true approach to virtual reality. However, partial immersion can be declared as other kinds of reality. There are three different categories of reality: projected reality, augmented reality and virtual reality (Pimentel & Teixeira, 11). Videoplace by Myron Krueger is an example of a projected environment that Krueger calls “artificial reality”. It was produced in 1970’s, using two rooms, each with wall-sized video screens, a computer, and a video camera. It displays colorized silhouettes of users onto the screen. In essence, users watch themselves as they are projected into a virtual world, as opposed to seeing the world through the eyes of a computer in place of their own eyes (Pimentel & Teixeira, 11). Another popular projected reality that is widely used in daily life is the sticker photo booth. This technology was invented in Japan in the mid 1990. The intention is to combine ones image with a preset background. The result is similar to glamour shots, however, can be achieved with less effort and in a short period of time. This technology is different from regular photography because computer generates the background. It still retains the idea of virtual reality since the background is not what one normally perceives. However, it involves no human senses. Hence, it cannot achieve a total immersion.Augmented reality is the use of transparent glasses onto which data, diagrams, animation, or video can be projected to aid people who need to be simultaneously in the real world and also be able to access additional data to do their jobs (Pimentel & Teixeira, 11). Such kind of system is used by aircraft engine mechanics; the mechanic’s glasses could display schematic diagrams, parts lists, and texts without blocking out the image of real-world engine. For the term “virtual reality”, it is cleared that it is referring to an immersive, interactive experience generated by a computer, yet it is still waiting to be further explored.

There are many inventions developed to further enhance sensory immerse during these recent years. In its most common use today, VR immersion means the use of a head-mounted display (HMD) and headphones for sound (Pimentel & Teixeira, 12). Although one can fully immerses into the computerized world, it is not realistic enough when compared to the real world. Other than visual, audio simulations, there are many other sensory simulations still kept out of the VR at this stage. There are barriers that hinder the audiences to be fully immersed. Realizing its potential to reduce the barrier of the screen and to transport the audience through the window into the movie itself, Morton Heilig proposed a radical idea. He decided that the logical future of the film industry would be that of supplying highly realistic experiences to large audiences. His goal was the complete elimination of all barriers that kept people from accepting the cinematic illusion (Pimentel & Teixeira, 28). He studied the sensory signals used to distinguish illusion from reality. He isolated sight, sound, touch, and smell as the primary senses needed for stimulation. Next, he analyzed what current technology could provide for sensory stimulation. By that time, stereophonic sound and stereoscopic images were already available. By 1960, he and his partner created a personal version of the experience theater as a way to demonstrate his concepts. He invented a machine that resembles an arcade machine, called “Sensorama” (Pimentel & Teixeira, 28). It was outfitted with handlebars, a binocular-like viewing device, a vibrating seat, and small vents that could blow air when commanded. In addition, stereophonic speakers were mounted near the ears, and close to the nose, a device for generating odors specific to the vents viewed stereoscopically on film. This was the logical evolution in the search for realistic, immersive experiences, but the film industry did not realize it. Maybe it is because the experiences are too expensive to afford that Hollywood chose not to accept his idea (Pimentel & Teixeira, 28). Other than the uneconomic reason, Sensorama has another weakness, which is that the audience cannot give instruction to the machine since it is not interactive; he/she is only a passive observer. That will be too complicated for the product to be designed as interactive and possess multi-sensory features at the same time. Therefore, this new idea did not exist for long.It seems that virtual reality is mostly welcomed as a kind of entertainment; however, it is also used in some other fields and becomes practical. Telepresence, another form of virtual reality, uses video cameras and remote microphones to immerse the user so deeply as to project him/her into a different place. In surgical procedures, doctors already use video cameras and fiber-optic cables to view patients’ bodies. With VR, they could actually “go inside of patients to direct their work or inspect the work of others (Pimentel & Teixeira, 12). In this case, VR is no longer experienced as purely sensory experiences as before. A surgeon is able to reach and clearly view the unreachable place (due to physical barriers) and perform delicate operations. VR then becomes even more realistic when compare to its function to serve as sensory satisfaction as it has its actual contributions in the reality (neglected the fact that it only provides visual information).Virtual Reality is also useful in transportation and national defense in some ways. As early as 1929, the Link Corporation was building flight simulators. A full-sized mock-up of a fighter cockpit was constructed and mounted on a motion platform. The cockpit physically pitched, rolled, and yawed based on the pilot’s actions. This enables a pilot’s training to be done through simulation on an earth-bound platform. After decades, realistic simulation of airplanes, helicopters, tanks and even ships became available (Pimentel & Teixeira, 34). However, there is one major limitation to the early simulators. Real-time visual feedback was impossible. The pilot could not view the outside world or watch it change by moving the control stick. Without visual feedback, training was limited to instrument flying. In the early 1950s, it was achieved when commercial video cameras were first introduced. Cameras were mounted on movable platforms suspended over scale models of airports. The simulator pilot through instructions then directed the movement of the camera. There are still a lot to be improved in order to increase the simulation’s effectiveness. While working on the first electronic head-mounted display, Ivan Sutherland recognized the potential for computers to generate the images for the flight simulators instead of video cameras and scale models. Any three-dimensional object could be digitized and entered into the computer. However, all these objects were represented as a large number of 3-D points with lines connecting each other (Pimentel & Teixeira, 35). The simulator was further improved in the following years in regarding its visual quality speed and accuracy. In the mid ’80s, University of North Carolina (UNC) decided to construct a new multimillion-dollar building called Sitterson Hall as the new home of Brooks’ group of researchers. Since they were very interested in the building’s design, they decided to create a simulation of the structure using the technology they had spent years in developing (Pimentel & Teixeira, 44). With blueprints as a guide, they modeled the structure in 3-D using the computer instead of building a scale model in foam or wood. Using a powerful graphics computer, they were able to position the viewpoint anywhere in the model and quickly render the scene. By controlling the direction and speed of the viewpoint, they were able to generate a consecutive series of images of the interior or exterior. This computer simulation provided valuable knowledge that was then used to improve the environment. Architects could now directly experience their design and improve upon it based on what they learned from their virtual explorations (Pimentel & Teixeira, 44). This kind of virtual reality can be seen easily nowadays and has greatly benefits the society as a whole. And of course, there are many other places that VR is now in use as a tool in commercial and industrial development, which was not mentioned here.By simply neglecting the scientific contributions that virtual reality has, it has played an important role in paintings throughout these years. In the 1400s, the Florentine artist Giotto intuitively stumbled upon a method of projecting three-dimensional perspective onto a flat, two-dimensional canvas. This method of organizing objects and relationships upon the canvas as if there was a single point of view created a sense of depth. His discovery was copied by all artists and became one of the foundations of art for the next 500 years (Pimentel & Teixeira, 20). In 1788, the Scottish painter Robert Barker painted a 360-degree view of the city of Edinburgh. He displayed the 1–foot tall canvas in a circular room 60 feet across. Viewers could enter into the center of the specially constructed room and be surrounded by the scene. He called it a panorama (Pimentel & Teixeira, 21). He succeeded at providing a new level of realism because the image filled more than 180 degrees of the viewer’s horizontal field of view. These kinds of paintings actually categorized as “the eye of the Flesh” in the philosopher Ken Wilber’s philosophy: Men and women possess at least three different modes of knowing: the eye of the Flesh which discloses the material, concrete, and sensual world; the eye of Mind which discloses the symbolic, conceptual, and linguistic world; and the eye of Contemplation which discloses the spiritual, transcendental, and transpersonal world. These are three different aspects of our one world, disclosed by different modes of knowing and perceiving. (Pimentel & Teixeira, 234).From the Renaissance until the Impressionist period, art was mainly concerned with the eye of the Flesh, representing the real world. Modern art has focused on the eye of the Mind, using physical materials to convey nonmaterial ideas and concepts to teach people new ways to think about the world. Virtual reality provides the artist with the first purely conceptual medium for exploring not only the eye of the Mind, but evoking the spirit world as well (Pimentel & Teixeira, 235).Virtual reality represents an entirely new and unexplored universe for creation. It is an art form in which shape, space, and time can be bent, and in which viewers can participate. Dali the surrealist is well known with his barren lonely landscapes (where anything can happen) and also Jackson Pollack’s abstracts and intense form of creation are exactly conveying ideas of VR. When the creation is effective it produces a very special reaction. Aristotle called this experience “catharsis”, the pleasurable release of emotion, specially those emotions evoked by the art (Pimentel & Teixeira, 233).


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