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Old 31st December 2018, 07:59 PM   #1
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How close are we to deep dive / full immersion VR?

Will it happen within our lifetime ( in 30-70 years)?

By using Elon Musk's Neuralink (Neural Lace 2039???) ,NerveGear, exo-skeletons, OpenWorld VR maybe?

And if we were to achieve this would anyone still want to live in the real world apart from people who are maintaining the system and certain religious groups?(or at least take breaks from full dive VR)

And is VR a replacement for reality? As in will people still want to travel and go outside?
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Old 31st December 2018, 08:26 PM   #2
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I would rate sound 80%, vision 50%, other senses 0%. Overall nowhere near an actual real experience.
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Old 31st December 2018, 08:47 PM   #3
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Not very close. If we knew how to simulate acceleration, we'd have artificial gravity, cf the equivalence principle. And without simulating motion, people will likely keep puking.
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Old 1st January 2019, 07:25 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Not very close. If we knew how to simulate acceleration, we'd have artificial gravity, cf the equivalence principle. And without simulating motion, people will likely keep puking.
That's assuming you don't bypass our build in inputs. The OP at least mentions the possibility of accessing the brain directly, which would overcome the issue you raise.

But I agree that we're very far from being able to do that.
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Old 1st January 2019, 07:33 AM   #5
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We're already in it.
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Old 1st January 2019, 07:53 AM   #6
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I am older so I don't care.

There will always be some new most awesomeness thing ever coming just around the corner. Then it arrives. Then it becomes normal. Then we are still left with our existential issues.
I could literally spend the rest of my days just trying to fully understand and master the moon, or lichen, or conifer trees, or baroque music. There is lots out there right now. Just open your eyes.

/old man rant
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Old 1st January 2019, 08:35 AM   #7
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Something like the VR in William Gibson’s “Sprawl” novels, where “actors” record their experiences directly with sense-input (including artificial eyes) and then the consumer can buy/rent these recordings?
Other sci-fi folks have explored this as well, at least a couple of movies, like “Brainstorm” with Natalie Wood.
Not anytime soon, I would think. However, I recall that last year DARPA put out a request for designs for direct brain/computer interface.....
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Old 1st January 2019, 08:37 AM   #8
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Nowhere remotely close. It may not even be possible.
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Old 1st January 2019, 08:53 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
That's assuming you don't bypass our build in inputs. The OP at least mentions the possibility of accessing the brain directly, which would overcome the issue you raise.

But I agree that we're very far from being able to do that.
That is indeed the underlying assumption. We're nowhere near being able to reconnect a severed spine, or optic nerve, so presuming that we can interface them to a computer is very very far off. Some day it may be possible, but not any time soon.
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Old 1st January 2019, 04:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Nowhere remotely close. It may not even be possible.
I certainly agree with the first sentence. The second is necessarily false. Your current experience is already "fully immersive VR", in that your brain is fed data from your sense organs which it uses to form a model of the world. Feed it different data and it will form a different model, and there's nothing that necessitates that data mapping to an external reality.

There is some evidence that some of the processing also happens outside of the brain, but that just means that we need to account for the data received by, for instance, the neurons in the gut.
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Old 1st January 2019, 04:38 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
That is indeed the underlying assumption. We're nowhere near being able to reconnect a severed spine, or optic nerve, so presuming that we can interface them to a computer is very very far off. Some day it may be possible, but not any time soon.
Yeah, that's why I said "we're very far from being able to do that."

On the other hand, given the feedbacks in technological progress (new developments in science and technology can make the next development easier), while I'm happy to say that the absolute amount of progress necessary is "very far" from where we are now, I'm not really happy to commit to a timescale.
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Old 1st January 2019, 10:02 PM   #12
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If it happens, the first application will be porn.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 03:26 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I certainly agree with the first sentence. The second is necessarily false. Your current experience is already "fully immersive VR", in that your brain is fed data from your sense organs which it uses to form a model of the world. Feed it different data and it will form a different model, and there's nothing that necessitates that data mapping to an external reality.
It's not the feed that would be impossible, it's creation of the data. It may not be possible to create data accurate enough to stimulate the senses in an identical matter to reality (or should I say, 'reality').
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Old 2nd January 2019, 04:41 AM   #14
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Actually, I'm worried more about the feed. Exactly HOW would you get the data from your computer to all the neurons in the brain stem? Because it's one thing to show that you can connect a chip to a neuron, and another to actually deal with that big thick bundle of "cables" to the brain. Exactly HOW would one get the signal into each neuron, short of basically beheading the guy and installing a t-junction kinda feed to each neuron chain.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 05:00 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Actually, I'm worried more about the feed. Exactly HOW would you get the data from your computer to all the neurons in the brain stem?
I recommend an industry standard bioport.

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Old 2nd January 2019, 11:19 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Spektator View Post
If it happens, the first application will be porn.
If I recall correctly, the dark secret about lots and lots of novel and innovative things one can do over the internet is that the development of same has been driven by nothing more than the desire to **** over a broadband connection.
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Old 2nd January 2019, 01:40 PM   #17
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Sounds like adoption of internet-connected consoles could have been a lot faster if they actually let Mario have sex with Peach, huh?
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Old 3rd January 2019, 01:21 PM   #18
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Why would we even want a fully immersive VR world? I can't really see the practical applications of such. What does "fully immersive" even mean? If we are talking for entertainment purposes, there would have to be safety features built in so it could never be "fully immersive." After all, if you fall off a building or get shot in a game, you certainly don't want full immersion!

I don't think we will ever get there. There are just too many factors. Let's say that two people encounter each other and one wants to grab the -er . . . hand of the other. How would you realistically replicate the sensations and movement? In real life, I can reach out and grab just a finger of my wife and move it around. How will this be accomplished in VR? Like a suit with motors at every joint? Seems like wearing something like that would take you out of it.

It would have to be some kind of direct brain interface that makes you feel like you are experiencing things while lying in a zero-gravity chair or something. Akin to dreaming but even more immersive and lucid. And that just seems entirely fantastical to me. There is nothing like this even dreamed about right now. I don't think that will ever happen. Why would we want it to?
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Old 3rd January 2019, 07:02 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
If I recall correctly, the dark secret about lots and lots of novel and innovative things one can do over the internet is that the development of same has been driven by nothing more than the desire to **** over a broadband connection.
I think that's a very popular misconception.
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Old 4th January 2019, 02:59 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
Why would we even want a fully immersive VR world? I can't really see the practical applications of such.
Really?!?!
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Old 4th January 2019, 03:07 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Really?!?!
Yeah, that struck me too. For instance we use simulators to train pilots, having more accurate and immersive simulators would probably be useful for improving that training process. If we could do the same for surgeons that would be nice.

Those are just some obvious and mundane examples.
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Old 4th January 2019, 03:09 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
It's not the feed that would be impossible, it's creation of the data. It may not be possible to create data accurate enough to stimulate the senses in an identical matter to reality (or should I say, 'reality').
What fundamental barrier are you thinking would prevent it? Processor speed?
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Old 4th January 2019, 03:11 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Yeah, that struck me too. For instance we use simulators to train pilots, having more accurate and immersive simulators would probably be useful for improving that training process. If we could do the same for surgeons that would be nice.

Those are just some obvious and mundane examples.

I was thinking that full on, room on hydraulics flight sims are probably about the closest thing to full immersion VR that there is?
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Old 4th January 2019, 05:50 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
What fundamental barrier are you thinking would prevent it? Processor speed?
No, an ability to replicate 'reality' using a computer, or indeed anything. Technical advances may well allow a computer to simulate the output of your olfactory sensory neurons based on simulated odour molecules in order to send simulated impulses to the exact areas of the brain involved in smell, but it's not going to be perfect, even when considering a single person, let alone multiple people each with a radically different neural arrangement.

The same problem arises for all the senses. Sight is obviously one. Total immersion must necessarily bypass the eyes and send the information direct to the brain, not least because you can't have total immersion with a block of plastic strapped to your head (and indeed, it would require the person to be totally free of external stimulus, even gravity, which is kind of trick to say the least).

Then there are sensations which nobody has a clue how to simulate, even in theory. How would you deal with acceleration? You would need to stimulate various points in the brain with such perfection that it isn't realistically possible. And don't forget that momentum, acceleration, gravity, the pressure of the ground against your feet, the air on your face, wetness, heat, even the movement of your bodily organs when moving, are an integral part of human sensation. Get it even slightly wrong and the illusion is busted (not to mention the unpleasant effects it would have).

Basically we're zero percent towards total immersion. If we ever achieve the technology level that permits it to any meaningful degree 'we' will not be 'us' any more, we'll be machines, which is what I believe the future is for the human race anyway, so the whole question will be moot.

Last edited by baron; 4th January 2019 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 4th January 2019, 06:53 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
No, an ability to replicate 'reality' using a computer, or indeed anything. Technical advances may well allow a computer to simulate the output of your olfactory sensory neurons based on simulated odour molecules in order to send simulated impulses to the exact areas of the brain involved in smell, but it's not going to be perfect, even when considering a single person, let alone multiple people each with a radically different neural arrangement.
It only needs to be as "perfect" as the output of the sense, not the input of the world. What I mean by that is that in the case of sight it's analogous to producing the data that gets stored on your digital camera, not all the photons that went into it's lens. There is far more information in the environment than is taken in by the senses and communicated to the brain.

I'm not saying that it's not a monumental task, but the data that goes into a full immersion VR would be far less complex than the real world, because our senses only taken in a small fraction of the information content of the world.

Quote:
Then there are sensations which nobody has a clue how to simulate, even in theory. How would you deal with acceleration? You would need to stimulate various points in the brain with such perfection that it isn't realistically possible. And don't forget that momentum, acceleration, gravity, the pressure of the ground against your feet, the air on your face, wetness, heat, even the movement of your bodily organs when moving, are an integral part of human sensation. Get it even slightly wrong and the illusion is busted (not to mention the unpleasant effects it would have).
Yes, we will need to know a great deal more about the brain than we do now. And "a great deal more" is an extreme understatement.

Quote:
Basically we're zero percent towards total immersion. If we ever achieve the technology level that permits it to any meaningful degree 'we' will not be 'us' any more, we'll be machines, which is what I believe the future is for the human race anyway, so the whole question will be moot.
I think I agree, perhaps even more than what you meant there: we are machines now, but the science and technology necessary for fully immersive VR would also make that aspect of our nature very obvious.
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Old 4th January 2019, 07:07 AM   #26
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Actually, I would think that taking into account WHAT needs to be put in and what needs to be left out is even harder, not less of a problem.

E.g., take saccades as an example. If you want to simulate the input signal from the eyes, instead of having a screen in front of them, you also need to simulate signals in the OTHER direction, namely focusing and eye movement. And their effects on the signal processing that happens right in the retina and optic nerve. And yes, those effects exist. A whole class of nauseating optical illusions exist only because of that.

And if the eyes don't behave like the brain tells them to, that's going to be even more puke-worthy real fast. In fact, those guys in the pods in the Matrix would be floating in their own barf.

You want to go one level up, and just feed the cortex the scene data like in a dream? Well, that's layers upon layers of processing and pruning the scene before it even reaches there. And it's again driven by the upper level, because what gets pruned depends on what interests you in the scene at the moment. That moves us from interfacing a graphics card to an optic nerve, to simulating half the brain, and interfacing with the other half.

So, yeah, I'm not sure it actually makes the task any easier.
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Old 4th January 2019, 07:10 AM   #27
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It's certainly a lot easier than trying to make a model of the world down to the quantum level, which is impossible for a classical computer.

I'm not sure what level the problem is being raised at here, but I thought that might be the problem baron was raising.
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Old 4th January 2019, 07:28 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
That is indeed the underlying assumption. We're nowhere near being able to reconnect a severed spine, or optic nerve, so presuming that we can interface them to a computer is very very far off. Some day it may be possible, but not any time soon.
Well I mean we already have artificial eyes. They aren't very good yet, but they are being experimented with. Most of them (and the only ones I know of that are actually approved for medical use already) are retinal prosthesis, but some interface directly with the optic nerve, and some in development are in fact cortical implants which directly stimulate the visual cortex.

That said, these are prosthesis, meant to correct medical conditions. Unless there is a huge change in attitudes in the coming years, even if these things become common in the next 20-50 years, they aren't going to be used for VR...
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Old 4th January 2019, 08:11 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Spektator View Post
If it happens, the first application will be porn.

Every new form of media almost immediately gets used for porn. After the first caveman to dip his hand in pigment and place a print on a cave wall, the second or third likely started drawing pictures of people having sex.
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Old 4th January 2019, 09:33 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
It only needs to be as "perfect" as the output of the sense, not the input of the world. What I mean by that is that in the case of sight it's analogous to producing the data that gets stored on your digital camera, not all the photons that went into it's lens. There is far more information in the environment than is taken in by the senses and communicated to the brain.

I'm not saying that it's not a monumental task, but the data that goes into a full immersion VR would be far less complex than the real world, because our senses only taken in a small fraction of the information content of the world.
Possibly, but the brain is very sensitive to things being 'wrong'. A great deal of the information makes it through to the brain (the optic nerve is sensitive to single photons) which then filters it on several levels. My point being that if we limit the scope of the virtual world the computer would need to do this filtering, not the brain, and this is not as simple as it sounds. The information that makes it through to conscious awareness is, as you suggest, limited, but it could well be that small inaccuracies at source translate to obvious issues further down the line. Sight may not be the best example, perhaps our sense of balance would be better.

Of course, this assumes that total immersion means total immersion in a reality indistinguishable from our. Total immersion on a simpler level would, of course, be simpler, i.e. total immersion in a totally empty universe containing a single static solid box.

Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Yes, we will need to know a great deal more about the brain than we do now. And "a great deal more" is an extreme understatement.

I think I agree, perhaps even more than what you meant there: we are machines now, but the science and technology necessary for fully immersive VR would also make that aspect of our nature very obvious.
We would certainly need to mature as a species before anything approaching this becomes viable. We have enough problems dragging our attention away from Facebook or Twatter or whatever; if the Matrix was available right now society would collapse within the week.
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Old 4th January 2019, 09:47 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Really?!?!
Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Yeah, that struck me too. For instance we use simulators to train pilots, having more accurate and immersive simulators would probably be useful for improving that training process. If we could do the same for surgeons that would be nice.

Those are just some obvious and mundane examples.
I'll put it this way . . . I don't think that a fully immersive VR would be practical enough or offer enough of an advantage over current simulation technology to justify it. The simulators we currently have are doing just fine. In fact, a pilot training simulator is already pretty dang immersive. Surgeons don't need a simulator, they need bodies. They need to watch, do and teach. We want our pilots and surgeons to train on real things in the real world when the stakes are real.

Even so, I don't think we will ever get to a point where a virtual flight/surgery is so immersive that it "feels real," in the important areas. Think of the micro simulations that would be required to realistically simulate the surgical experience: the feel of the scalpel in hand, the tactile sense of cutting through different layers, the individual body parts and how they feel and react when manipulated, the various reactions of the body to surgery, etc. I'd say that is way beyond current technology to the point where it isn't even imaginable that it ever could happen. There would have to be massive leaps in computing ability and development of computer-brain interfaces. There's also the ethical battles that such technology would entail: should we be "plugging in" to the brain? What are the societal impacts of such?

That's why I ask: Why would we even want this? What are the practical uses that justify the cost not just in money but to society as a whole?
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Old 4th January 2019, 09:54 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Yeah, that struck me too. For instance we use simulators to train pilots, having more accurate and immersive simulators would probably be useful for improving that training process. If we could do the same for surgeons that would be nice.

Those are just some obvious and mundane examples.
For flight simulators we have already reached the point of diminishing returns. We've found that the most important factors are accuracy and smoothness in instruments and displays, and control feel, are the most important factors.

Visual systems need to be accurately integrated to the aircraft movement, but need not be very high fidelity. Fairly simple visual simulations work as well as extremely detailed ones.

Surprisingly, motion and G base systems do not add significantly to training achievement over fixed base systems for qualified aircrew. They do, however, have use in initial training for failing out unsuitable trainees before going to flight phase.

I worked as an electronics technician, and test subject, on this issue at the Air Force Flight Dynamics Lab at Wright Patterson while this question was be sorted in the '70s. They found that adding limited motion improved training in some cases, but that full motion and G effect did not.
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Old 4th January 2019, 10:08 AM   #33
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Quote:
I worked as an electronics technician, and test subject, on this issue at the Air Force Flight Dynamics Lab at Wright Patterson while this question was be sorted in the '70s. They found that adding limited motion improved training in some cases, but that full motion and G effect did not.

I got to see some of the equipment from that era. Physical scale models of terrain each the size of a ballroom floor, but stacked vertically, with video cameras "flying" across them, to generate the visual displays. Very impressive and ingenious!
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Old 4th January 2019, 10:21 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
I got to see some of the equipment from that era. Physical scale models of terrain each the size of a ballroom floor, but stacked vertically, with video cameras "flying" across them, to generate the visual displays. Very impressive and ingenious!
Yes, it was neat stuff to work on. The change to digital visual simulation made it a much less interesting job for the technician. Back then it was power on trouble shooting of incredibly complex systems. Now it's: run the diagnostic and swap out the bad board.

I go back to the analog computer days, mechanical servos and tube amplifiers. The B-52H Hybrid simulator I worked had more parts than the aircraft it simulated. You mentioned the moving map boards, which were fun to work on. At one time we also used water tank terrain models that used sonar to create simulated radar returns. Those were replaced by glass plate maps that used what was basicly a two inch thick five foot by six foot color glass slide. We moved an intense light source and camera over this to simulate land mass radar returns. Now it's all just ones and zeros and programmers.
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Old 4th January 2019, 10:26 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
Think of the micro simulations that would be required to realistically simulate the surgical experience: the feel of the scalpel in hand, the tactile sense of cutting through different layers, the individual body parts and how they feel and react when manipulated, the various reactions of the body to surgery, etc. I'd say that is way beyond current technology to the point where it isn't even imaginable that it ever could happen.
If we had the technology to train surgeons in that level of realistic VR it is likely we would be so technologically advanced that we would no longer need surgeons anyway.
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Old 4th January 2019, 11:52 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Armitage72 View Post
Every new form of media almost immediately gets used for porn. After the first caveman to dip his hand in pigment and place a print on a cave wall, the second or third likely started drawing pictures of people having sex.

Originally Posted by Pope130 View Post
For flight simulators we have already reached the point of diminishing returns...
...I worked as an electronics technician, and test subject, on this issue at the Air Force Flight Dynamics Lab at Wright Patterson while this question was be sorted in the '70s. They found that adding limited motion improved training in some cases, but that full motion and G effect did not.

So what you're saying is that all we really need are Google™ glasses and a USB 3.0 Fleshlight™?
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Old 4th January 2019, 01:03 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
So what you're saying is that all we really need are Google™ glasses and a USB 3.0 Fleshlight™?
I'm good to go.
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Old 10th June 2019, 05:05 AM   #38
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How close are we to brain-computer interfaces such as neuralink?

Hi,

I am wondering how close are we to brain-computer interfaces such as neuralink (Neural Lace) 2037? And if it is successful how will it change the world?
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Old 12th June 2019, 02:12 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Obsessed With Gaming View Post
Hi,

I am wondering how close are we to brain-computer interfaces such as neuralink (Neural Lace) 2037? And if it is successful how will it change the world?
We are very far. I don't think we even have a good idea of what sort of avenue to research for what sort of interface to develop, let alone having much progress in the development.

I doubt people are going to be putting electrodes in their heads (and they are too crude a tool anyway), but when it comes to getting data from the outside into your brain the only other good tool have is the senses, and we're already pretty much maximising that with video.

There may be some better technologies available for getting data from the brain to your device which can improve on typing. But if you want to directly measure brain states getting much useful from that is very far away because we lack both the resolution to image the brain at a fine enough scale, the technology to do so portably and low enough cost, and the understanding of the brain to decode the data if we had brain scans on that level.

It's going to be a while.

I will add the caveat that we are far in absolute terms of how many advancements in both basic research and technological development are required, but when it comes to the question of how far we are in time from the developments I don't want to hazard a guess, as I don't really know what rate the acceleration in technological advancement is progressing at, and that acceleration is an important factor.
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Old 12th June 2019, 04:02 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Possibly, but the brain is very sensitive to things being 'wrong'. A great deal of the information makes it through to the brain (the optic nerve is sensitive to single photons) which then filters it on several levels. My point being that if we limit the scope of the virtual world the computer would need to do this filtering, not the brain, and this is not as simple as it sounds. The information that makes it through to conscious awareness is, as you suggest, limited, but it could well be that small inaccuracies at source translate to obvious issues further down the line. Sight may not be the best example, perhaps our sense of balance would be better

The data throughput from your senses to your brain is far less that you would expect. It is estimated that the bandwidth of your optic nerve is only about 6 to 10 megabits/sek.
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