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Resource Database > Introductory
Of those who visit this site, most understand one or more of the core paradigms we deal with. Most people have at least some idea what virtual reality is, or at least believe they have some idea what it is. The same can be said for augmented or mixed reality.

But what about robotics, AI, brain emulation, or the other topics related to the above, that we cover?

Whilst we do expect at least a basic understanding of what these topics are, and what is involved, we do understand that not everyone has the first idea of some of these.

The Introductions feature exists to try and provide basic background understanding, to walk you through the basics of the various topics we cover in increasing depth over and over, elsewhere in the site. Maybe helping you to understand why they are so important, and why people get het up about the interaction between these things.


Virtual Reality (11)

Virtual Reality or VR is the field dedicated to creating a different reality from the physical world around us.

A slideshow presentation geared to introducing the concept of virtual reality, raise a lot of questions about how to do it, and at the same time, answer a great deal about its past.

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Introduction: virtual reality
A gentle intro essay on what VR actually is. Designed as the introduction to a very worthwhile book on the subject.

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Panoramic VR environments versus Interactive VR environments
For quite a few years now, there have been two disparate industries, both claiming to be true VR. Which truly is VR, and why?

Published in 1996, this book is not exactly up on the current state of VR work, to put things mildly. It is a relic from an era where the hype was still building, the bubble had not burst, and VR seemed destined for mainstream before the century turned.

Coming into virtual reality cold, can be an overwhelming experience. For many people, the last they heard of VR was during the dot com boom of the mid 1990s. When it sank out of sight as the technology was not up to mainstream expectations, many ordinary folk assumed this field had dissipated altogether.

The Cybercultures Reader brings together articles covering the whole spectrum of cyberspace and related new technologies to explore the ways in which these technologies are reshaping cultural forms and practices at the turn of the century.

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The Perfect Representation
A short essay that stirs the mind, contemplating as to what virtual reality actually is, and how its increasing development, actually predates the computer by tens of thousands of years.

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The Sensorama
The sensorama was one of the earliest examples of multi-sensory, immersive VR. It was something of an experiment at the time, and was too far advanced for available technology or interest.

First published in 1994, The Virtual Community was a revolutionary book, which inspired so much of the VR and social networking growth of the 90s. Within these pages, now revised and updated for the modern situation, Howard explores every facet of online communities ranging from the WELL, that think-tank of innovation and invention, to the sphere of MUDs and MOOs.

This Second Edition of the first comprehensive technical book on the subject of virtual reality provides updated and expanded coverage of the technology?where it originated, how it has evolved, and where it is going. The authors cover all of the latest innovations and applications that are making virtual reality more important than ever before.

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What's in a name? ...a demotion for the darling concept of the real
Virtual always suggests unreal, or imaginary. A virtual entity can pass for, a real thing but is less than the real thing itself. Sounds like a nice statement. Are we really so sure its true?

Augmented Reality (14)

Augmented Reality, or AR is a relatively new field, which works by taking Physical Reality, as in the world all around us, combining it with Virtual Reality, the new realities we make in computers, and producing a third reality with the two blended together.
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Alternate reality games blur reality and fiction
A mainstream media piece on the growing explosion of augmented reality gaming - combining physical and virtual data as one, in order to play location-based games.

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Augmented Reality Basics: Magic Symbol
In myth and legend, a magic symbol is a pattern drawn on a physical object which possesses otherworldly powers; able to alter reality by creating protective circles, summon creatures to do the artist's bidding, or alter the structure of reality itself. Perhaps it is poetic that the same concept is now used as the keystone for augmented reality.

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Augmented Reality enables computer-enhanced work
An introductory level article on Augmented reality, not as in predicted futures, but as in some 2006 technologies in existance, and their impact on the world.

This book is a mixture between an explanation of the visual aspects of augmented reality ? virtual and physical data in the same display screen ? and a programmer?s / hardware guide to creating your own AR applications.

This collection of academic works is over a decade old now. As such, its exploration of ?current? augmented reality applications, and means to attempt to integrate virtual and physical data, is often hopelessly dated.

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How Augmented Reality Will Work
An introductory level guide for augmented reality - what it is, how it works, what you can expect from modern systems. Reproduced with permission from howstuffworks.com, this guide is slightly behind the times in terms of sheer bulk of the technology, but is likely to be sound for a very long time to come.

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Introduction to Augmented Reality: Hitlab
This promotional video by the Human Interface Technology Lab, is a little dated now, but serves as a good solid introduction to the possibilities inherent in augmented reality. High on visuals and demonstrations, low on technical specs.

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Phone that recognises tube stops
This podcast is a three-minute snippet from BBC News, hailing the advent of augmented reality. It was broadcast on UK national TV in August 2009, so it missed the actual advent of AR by about 60 years, and the public?s uptake by about a half decade. Still, it serves as an excellent introduction to the topic.

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Podcast: Juan Enriquez: Beyond the crisis, mindboggling science and the arrival of Homo evolutis
Juan Enriquez' humorous talk from TED 2009, meandering through the state of the economy, developments in stem cells, tissue cloning and robotics - and how they are all connected. Very funny, very poignant. It will not say anything you do not already know, if you have kept up with transhumanist work, but serves as a nice, low barrier introduction.

This is not a tome that concerns itself with current hardware; rather this is a very grounded futurist?s book that concerns itself with near future technology, and how we could bring it into being, along with many profitable incentives for doing so.

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The Esoteric Beat: Augmenting Reality and Invisible Goblins
A short intro to Augmented Reality from the game development perspective.

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The Grill: Ray Kurzweil talks about Augmented Reality and the Singularity: Part 1
Part one of a three part phone interview with futurist Ray Kurzweil on the predicted technology singularity, and emergence of true virtual reality, and augmented reality, within our lifetimes.

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The Grill: Ray Kurzweil talks about Augmented Reality and the Singularity: Part 2
Part two of a three part phone interview with futurist Ray Kurzweil on the predicted technology singularity, and emergence of true virtual reality, and augmented reality, within our lifetimes.

Linked resource
The Grill: Ray Kurzweil talks about Augmented Reality and the Singularity: Part 3
Part three of a three part phone interview with futurist Ray Kurzweil on the predicted technology singularity, and emergence of true virtual reality, and augmented reality, within our lifetimes.

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Virtual Life (2)

Living all or a sizable portion of one's life via the medium of virtual reality, is in general, a step beyond the mainstream definition and use of VR. It is also a paradigm which some healthy individuals completely fail to grasp.
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Living through VR. Why?
Living life, or a sizeable portion thereof via the medium of virtual reality is a step an increasing number of people are taking. For some, the reasons for this are obvious. For others, they are not exactly obvious. This article is intended to cover a microcosm of the reasons a life lived in VR might be preferable to one lived outside VR.

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Podcast: Better Life
Not so much a podcast, as a song with CGI accompaniment, this video is still a very powerful illustration of just why VR is such a powerful tool for the disabled. Be forewarned: It is very difficult to watch/listen to this one without tears forming.

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Robotics (0)

Robotics is essentially the creation and use of forced manual labour with a non organic, non sentient 'brain'. It convcerns primarilly the augmentation or replacement of human labour with artificial mechanical devices that perform the same tasks substantually better or cheaper than a human would.

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Brain Interfaces (2)

Brain Interfaces include neuroprosthetics, passive brainwave readers, and all manner of other devices intended primarilly to connect a functional, living organic brain to a computer system. Some interfaces are designed to augment function, some to replace damaged brain tissue.
Applicable Dictionary Entries:  
Brain Machine InterfaceLocked In Syndrome

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Brain Emulation (0)

Brain emulation is a nascent field which has many shared aspects technologically with virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and brain interfaces. It is essentially defined as the attempt to understand the inner workings of the brain sufficiently to recreate it within a computer.

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Artificial Intelligence (0)

Artificial Intelligence or AI, is a huge field, encompassing every instance of a machine having to decide something for itself. Everything from basic pathfinding to image recognition, machine vision, expert systems to neural networks and general artificial intelligence, is essentially based on the premise of having the machine make a decision on its own, without human input.