After reading the Myron Krueger article, “Responsive Environments” I did a little more research on how Krueger’s work built on previous immersive technologies and also influenced future virtual realities.
Unsurprisingly, the genesis of experimentation with virtual realities was funded for and used by the government and military to enhance a pilot’s visual perception. Also unsurprisingly, Ivan Sutherland was a pioneer in this field with his 1965 “Ultimate Display” device which was a “head mounted display” (HMD) worn over the eyes outfitted with two CRT stereoscopic monitors and a tracking system. It seems that early work on the field, though attempting to create an immersive reality by trying to reproduce elements from each of the human senses–such as an “odor generator”–, was ultimately limited by the graphical and optical capabilities of CRT technology. Even though our current visual technology has made leaps and bounds since the cathode ray tube monitor, we are still limited by the medium itself.
Though the visual capabilities of the technology of the seventies was limiting in regards to true sensual immersion advancement in the field, Krueger’s “computer art projects” aided in experimenting and contextualizing how humans and computers could interact through and with one another in a digitized environment, and the possible applications for such a technology, including telecommunication, education, and even psychotherapy. He wanted to explore “more interesting ways for man and machine to relate,” and I feel that this is the directive the “iron triangle” should take at this juncture in exploring new applications for virtual reality.
Interest in virtual reality and technological capabilities intersected in the early 1990s with the development of the CAVE’s Automatic Virtual Environment in which the viewer was surrounded by a stereo-projected environment. At the time this had implications for scientific visualizations in which the user could interact directly with the data (kind of similar Krueger’s vision with direct human-computer interaction) and today is still used by universities and research institutions “for visualizing data, for demonstrating 3D environments, and for virtually testing component parts of newly developed engineering projects.”
DISCUSSION: With the state of the art technologies we have available to us today, what are some other “more interesting” ways we can apply virtual reality/immersive environments? What are some possible new applications for virtual reality in the creation and conception of art?
The article “Seven Virtual Reality That Actually Work” http://io9.com/5288859/7-virtual-reality-technologies-that-actually-work, outlines the most common applications for virtual reality, but with the exception of the CAVE, none of them succeed in being truly immersive. Why do you think this is?
**If you are interested in modern applications of virtual reality, the “Social (dis)Order” show currently on display in Glassell Gallery features the “Virtual Peace: Humanitarian Assistance Training Simulator” in which you can test out a current virtual reality simulator. http://virtualpeace.org/