VR2.0 through gesture recognition?
In the last issue of BW, there is an article about motion capture and gestural interactions. So, this seems to be the new revolution, it traces back the trend to the VR attempts of the 90s, nintendo powergloves and other stuff. Then an Intel Chief Technology Officer claims that withing five years we "could use gesture recognition to get rid of the remote control" and that it willeventually "drive demand for its important new generation of semiconductors, the superprocessors known as teraflop chips, which Intel previewed in February" (I won't comment on this but... mmhmm... mentioning the supeprocessor issue when it comes to human-computer interaction seems not very apropos here). But why would it work this time?
virtual reality 1.0 was a bust. The hype was too loud, computers were too slow, networking was too complicated, and because of motion-sickness issues that were never quite resolved, the whole VR experience was, frankly, somewhat nauseating. (...) VR 2.0, enhanced by motion capture, is different in many critical ways. Most important, the first batch of applications, such as the Wii, while still primitive, are easy to use, inexpensive, and hard to crash. You don't get anything close to a fully sense-surround experience, but neither do you feel sick after you put down the wand. The games are simple and intuitive (...) system enables a presenter to take audiences on a tour of a 3D architectural design or on a fly-through of a model city. And the presenter's measured theatrics make a big impression. "Everyone's looking for the new, sexy way to communicate with their employees and their clients. We're selling their ability to sell,"
Why do I blog this? well, I am not sure the reasons the VR failed for the reasons mentioned, they were surely part of the problems but there is still a misunderstanding about interactions in VR and the notion of 3D. There is still this belief that replicating reality in a 3D digital space is the must, and that gestural interfaces is then the solution because it's more natural (given the direct mapping).
Back to gestures, some excerpts that I liked in the BW article though:
"Any company that creates a product used by people needs to understand how the human body moves," (...) Aeronautics veterans who hear about this program are sometimes skeptical. "When people cannot touch a prototype, it's always a hard sell "It's early, but such simulations could be one of the most profitable areas in the future," (...) "The Wii is helping debug this question about how you move in virtual ways," says Jaron Lanier. After a year with the Wii, society "will be better educated about the overlap of the virtual and the real world," he says.