Skip navigation

Tag Archives: virtual reality

Don’t mind me, but I’m thinking it’d be really cool if we had some Trauma Center and da Vinci Trainer combo. You know, maybe with a bit less “Healing Touch” and a bit more Haptic Technology!


X-Ray Heart by mmattes

Ever wondered how it might be if you could see through objects?

Well, three students – Jon Rodriguez, Ben Jensen, and James Kahramaner – at Stanford University are determined to create X-Ray Vision in Virtual Environments.  By calculating a focal point based on users’ pupil accommodation, their product Voxel Vision will enable users the ability to focus inside solid, opaque virtual objects or beyond them, effectively letting users see through-walls in a natural manner.  The ambitious three list visual surgical assistance, ambush deterrence, and cellular composition as possible use cases, emphasizing that the applications may extend to enhancing computer desktop interactions.

So far, their project has successfully managed to receive backing from their KickStarter followers.  With a little over an initial investment of $5 grand, Rodriguez, Jensen, and Kahramaner are aiming to finish their project by September 2012.  Along the way, they plan to recruit some talented specialists.  If this is in your alley, definitely contact them about the potential for a future collaboration.

Voxel Vision’s team welcomes any comments, questions, or critiques of their work.  For more information on how to get in touch, check out their KickStarter page.

Kajimoto Laboratory

As one of our most under appreciated yet useful senses, touch has been a tricky experience to simulate realistically in immersive environments and VR simulations.  Most attempts to increase tactile presence (how real a situation feels to you) in simulations involve general vibrations across our skin such as the commercial N64’s Rumble Pak, force-feedback haptic devices like SensAble’s PHANTOM Omni or Novint’s Falcon, and shear forces (the sensation on your skin as an object’s surface runs along it) like some of the research conducted in the Kajimoto Laboratory.

Kaji-Lab has done extensive research in haptic and multimodal interfaces since 2006.  What I find most intriguing about this lab is their drive to study and virtually replicate a variety of interactions, including the sensations of tele-present kissing…

and simulated “bassari” (feeling of being cut by a sword)…

I haven’t heard any other news about the kissing machine, but the bassari research seems to have undergone a newer iteration as demonstrated in this article.

While some may be skeptical about these particular ideas, it is this kind of work that paves the way for improving our immersive technologies and experiences.  For more information about the Kajimoto Laboratory and their work, please check out their website here:

A virtual Reality and converging technologies conference located in France (March 28 – April 1 2012).  If you’re interested in VR or related fields, this is definitely the event to attend to get a feel for what’s cutting edge in industry and research.

As for logistics, The conference begins March 28th for professionals and opens up to the general public on March 31st and April 1st.  Major VR R&D companies like Mechdyne Corporation, Disney Research, and NVIDIA will be attending this year.  More information can be found at, but be warned that the site is predominately in French with limited English translations scattered about!

As an appropriate beginning for this blog, I figured I should begin with one of my first exposures to immersive technologies. How else did I get interested in the subject without some kind of lead, right?

Fashionable VR to recover your memories from your past!

So, “What’s with this image?” you may be asking yourself (which by the way was shamelessly pulled from Insight On Video Games).

Well, Star Ocean: The Second Story (SO2) for the PlayStation is one of the culprits entities responsible for my interest in Virtual Reality (VR). In particular, the scene above occurs after our heroes leave their home planet Expel with no way of returning. Some time late game, the “Mysterious old man” offers our heroes a way home via the latest VR technology! Kind of similar to the scene with Neo and Morpheus in the Matrix, where Morpheus offers Neo the choice to find out more about the Matrix.

Upon accepting the man’s offer, the heroes can walk on their home planet once again. There are some subtle changes such as additional areas to explore thanks to the Synard, which is an aerial mode of transportation in the game, but ultimately the recreation of the world, now called Virtual Expel, is entirely the same.

When SO2 first came out, I was barely beginning middle school. At the time, I didn’t think much about the implications of VR other than I could explore places and do things I wasn’t able to participate in previously in the context of SO2’s plot.

Despite acknowledging this potential – the ability to do things inside a virtual world that you normally couldn’t do in the real world – with respect to the game, I didn’t make the connection between mapping this application to my real world. I wouldn’t come by this realization until after .Hack//Sign (pronounced “dot hack sign”) captivated me with its complex and interpersonal narrative some years later.  Still, it’s interesting to note that these initial musings started as early as they did and slowly eased more and more into my interests.

While SO2 didn’t really give me the biggest exposure to immersive technology, it certainly was one of the initial factors that contributed to my interest in VR, which I would later explore in depth as a viewer of .Hack//Sign and eventually as a senior research assistant in Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab.