I’m inherently an optimist. The pessimists I know all proclaim, “I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist!” Really? If perception is reality, then they must be right. Over 30 years ago, my children were introduced to the Commodore VIC-20 and a game for learning simple math by catching optimist, pessimist, reality, virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, transmission, visual effects, simulators, Hololens, ARKit, MIcrosoft, Apple as they fall from a tree. I can personally recall playing the first Pong games in the 70s. An early strategy type game with good graphics was Myst. What will my 8-week old grandson be doing in a couple of years? I’m willing to bet he’ll be engrossed in augmented, virtual, and mixed reality—both games and education.
I’ve seen what Ford Motor Company does to design new factories using the technology as well as determine what people like in the interior of a vehicle as the first concepts are being considered. Instead of a mockup in clay that is difficult to change and can easily be damaged, computer images that a person can interact with are shown to drivers and management personnel that make key decisions. I’ve seen how surgeons can practice difficult situations and learn, without endangering the patient. Astronauts and pilots have used simulators for years to experience crisis situations without leaving the safety of earth. Here in Portland, we have the Center for Emergency Solutions
for training police and firefighters as teams. Microsoft and Apple now consider it “game on.” Apple threw down the gauntlet recently with the ARKit
. Microsoft, too, has a vision with its HoloLens
. Just as the computers of my youth that filled a room were reduced to something I wear on my wrist, the simulators and goggles and gloves of today will be ubiquitous and simple when my grandson comes of age.
Here in Portland, The Oregon Story Board is a non-profit at the forefront of training students to be able to use the HoloLens for educational purposes. Community college students created a virtual image of a working automatic transmission for a car that allows you to see how the gears turn and how the transmission is assembled. They gave the finished product to the automotive class to use in their training. [They could use your support!]
Just as my parents were engrossed in sitting around the radio listening to Orson Wells create images in their minds of aliens, and I was engrossed in watching black-and-white television with My Favorite Martian, and my children were moved by ET, and all of us enjoyed the Star Wars visual effects, my grandchild is going to live in both the real world and the virtual world. Where-as we used visual effects to take a Fantastic Voyage down the blood stream of our body, my grandson will ride those platelets in a virtual world that is more real than virtual, as tiny 360 degree cameras record the process.
I’m a long-term member of the IEEE professional society, whose tag line is “Advancing Technology for Humanity.” In reality, I’m eternally optimistic for the future. It will be real, augmented, virtual, and a mixed experience that will give my grandson insights I could only dream of.
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