Tag Archives: virtual reality

Becoming A Tree In Virtual Reality

Nest caterpillars in your arms, and watch the days pass.

Sometimes I save articles and then forget about them, which is what happened with this wonderful piece from last year. It’s by Mark Wilson about a VR project from the MIT Media Lab. The title of his article was “Escape From The Horror Of 2017 By Becoming A Tree” but I’m sure you’d agree that’s something we need even more in 2018.  Enjoy.

“Is it possible to experience being another lifeform?”

That’s the foundational question asked by Tree, an unusually immersive VR app developed at MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group. Featured on Prosthetic Knowledge, the short experience places you inside the bark of a tree in the Peruvian rainforest. But you don’t just get a view of the forest around you. You feel it, too.

Because of a suite of technologies, as you rise from the dirt, sprouting from seedling into a full-grown tree, a fan blows wind over your skin, like the passing breeze, as a smell machine pipes in what I can only assume is the fragrant green funk of a forest canopy after the rain. Cont’d at Escape From The Horror Of 2017 By Becoming A Tree | Co.Design

PS: This week you’ll have received an email from me with a request to update your profile so that you continue to receive emails from this list. If you haven’t already, please do take a moment to click through and give your permission. Many thanks!

PPS: If you’re just picking up this post elsewhere and you didn’t even know this blog existed, subscribe here to make sure you don’t miss anything else :)

Will you be taking a vacation in virtual reality this holiday season?

In 1995, Nicholas Negroponte wrote: “Digital living will include less and less dependence upon being in a specific place at a specific time, and the transmission of place itself will start to become possible. If I could really look out the electronic window of my living room in Boston and see the Alps, hear the cowbells, and smell the (digital) manure in summer, in a way I am very much in Switzerland”.*

As founder of the MIT Media Lab, and an architect by trade, he knew what he was talking about twenty plus years ago. It’s taken quite a while to even begin to make his vision a reality, but we’re getting closer.  A while ago I wrote about virtual reality in cruise ships, where you’re actually on a real ship but in an upgraded cabin sporting a virtual balcony.

Now, as CNBC reports, a growing list of airlines and vacation spots are courting visitors with virtual reality vacation experiences offering digital options that nearly rival the real thing.

Continue reading Will you be taking a vacation in virtual reality this holiday season?

Travels in Virtuality: Death Valley

Chris Townsend’s recent wonderful photos and descriptions of his recent walk through Death Valley have inspired me to recall my own pathetic attempt to get there in 2002. I wrote about it in my memoir/travelogue of cyberspace, ‘Hello World: Travels in Virtuality’ (2004).

Last week I re-published the chapter in which I tell the story of my ill-fated trip. The lesson I learned  was that reality – and indeed virtual reality – should not be confused with the products of the imagination.

Read Travels in Virtuality: Death Valley at Medium.