Augmented Reality has been around long enough now that some segments of the population have it pigeonholed into a certain experience. Like all popular, or mainstream movements, AR will suffer from generalizations and stereotypes very quickly. Google Glass will on exacerbate this dilemma given it’s restricted Augmented Reality functionality and its lack of privacy settings (at present). This post is dedicated to expanding how you see AR and literally flooring you with an Augmented (amplified) Reality (perspective) experience like no other!
VIRTUAL AUGMENTED REALITY
xxxy is artist Yehuda Duenyas, a theater artist and director, he has custom-built numerous venues around NYC and is currently conducting research in Electronic Arts at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he is developing a new body of interactive performance systems which fuse playful tropes of theater with experimental gaming, simulation, engineering, and cognitive science.
BRAIN WITHOUT LIMITS
Last year, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute students built a virtual reality contraption that let them soar through the sky, held aloft by a trapeze harness and seeing through HMD-covered eyes. This year, they’re controlling it with the power of their minds. For his master’s thesis, project leader Yehuda Duenyas added an Emotiv headset - the same one controlling cars and the occasional game.
The Emotiv EPOC uses sensors to tune into electrical signals produced by the brain to detect user thoughts, feelings, and expressions.It is a variant of EEG - electroencephalogram which records electrical impulses from the nerves in the head. “Electro” refers to the electrical impulses sent from one nerve cell to another. These impulses are the way nerves talk to each other and get information from the brain to the rest of the body. “Encephalo” refers to the head, and “gram” refers to the printed record.
Yehuda Duenyas has taken his artistic flare and coupled it with brainwave reading technology to make the wearer seemingly able to levitate themselves into the air by carefully concentrating.
The Ascent is a live-action performance installation that allows individual participants to levitate over 30 feet into the air through interactive sound and lighting via the power of their own focus and meditation. It’s a game! The reality is that it’s more than a game as to win the user must utilize the power of their relaxed mind to achieve the win. It’s as if Yoda and Deepak Chopra need to move-into your head during the process to attain enough enlightenment for The Ascent to ascend.
For those that are able to relax enough they not only achieve flight, but they are rewarded with an crescendo of light and sound that culminates (if you’re relaxed enough) with a confetti canon. Considered a part adventure ride, part spiritual quest, this epic experience is the first neuro-driven ride of it’s kind, and as of June 2012 was considered the largest EEG bio-feedback machine in the world.
Strictly speaking The Ascent is not Augmented Reality, or Virtual Reality, it’s a new form of immersive reality that takes the term wearable computing and flips it on its head. I’m convinced that this is the manner in which things are progressing and the sort of interaction that will become the accepted norm. Even though the cost of reproducing such an experience is ludicrous, it’s not entirely unheard of to potentially reduce the scale and apply it to mundane tasks such as cargo handling or perhaps micro-surgery one day. Sky is the limit!
I was lucky enough to meet Yehuda at AWE2013 where The Ascent was awarded Best AR Hardware by organizers.He’s a creative and humble human being that knows no limits and wishes to break all boundaries.