Instructors: Joe Paradiso, Drew Harry Units: 0-12-0 (MAS Special Projects)
Although we physically inhabit one "real world", the virtual universe of information is an increasingly vital presence in our lives. Throughout our daily routine, we move between the virtual (email, Facebook, Twitter, web) and the physical (face to face conversations, meetings, presentations). Typically, the experience of the virtual in the real is limited to computer screens while the experience of the real in the virtual is limited to web cams and teleconferencing. We are witnessing the dawn of ubiquitous networked sensor infrastructures that make much more data about the physical world accessible in the virtual world. At the same time, the virtual world has become rich with accessible data about its past and its people. This is a opportunity to expand our ideas about interfaces between the virtual and the real and envision an extension of human perception by using virtuality to augment our five senses beyond the "here and now." We suspect that 3D virtual worlds will have a strong role to play in these interfaces because they share the spatiality and persistence of the real world. Physical manifestations of these interfaces might also appear as, for example, objects in real environments, mobile phones, or projections.
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