3 February 2017: “Grasping Reality Through Illusion”

Author’s Name: Howard Rheingold
Author’s Bio: Howard Rheingold fell into the virtual ecosystem fairly early on and documented his travels in seeking out the virtual frontier in the book Virtual Reality
Name of Artwork or Topic: Virtual Reality, “Grasping Reality through Illusion”
Date of Artwork, Article Publication or Topic: 1991
Describe Artwork, Article or Topic: In Chapter 1 of Virtual Reality, “Grasping Reality through Illusion”, Howard Rheingold describes his forays into the world of virtual reality. He documents several of the places he visited to experience the research and initiatives at universities and other teams like NASA.
Opinion of Artwork, Article or Topic:
This introduction comes at a very prescient time for me since, as Rheingold elaborates, the strongest foundation in VR comes from the lab at the CS department at UNC-Chapel Hill, which is where I am going to be next weekend to do an all-women’s hackathon where I intend to build another project in VR. Perhaps what I feel most strongly about the writings of these early initiatives in VR are that they sound very similar to what’s going on today yet it is 25 years later. The research teams in Japan, North Carolina, the Bay Area . . . all back then were laying the absolute foundation and groundwork of the graphics that go into the sophisticated graphics we have now. The only difference now seems to be that the technology is more refined and can uphold the ideals visually and experientially that the research teams at UNC-Chapel Hill, NASA, Kyoto and more have been imagining. Similarly, Rheingold places a strong emphasis on haptics which I think will play a very important part in the future. If VR is just proliferating now and the barrier to entry is lowering, I think haptics will be the next thing to follow suit.

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