Author Topic: Virtual reality  (Read 27274 times)

Offline grondilu

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Virtual reality
« on: 10/03/2013 07:59 pm »
Here is a recent article from arstechnica:

How gaming tech is making for better interplanetary exploration

Quote
"My dream in this area is that, someday, when we put human boots on the surface of Mars, I want there to be millions of people in attendance for that event," Jeff Norris, Mission Operations lead at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory told Ars in a recent interview. "I want them not just sitting in their living room watching a television screen; I want them standing on Mars in their own holodecks right there beside the astronauts."

I think this is not just a dream.   It's what is going to happen.  In case you don't know, Virtual Reality is coming.  The technology is now here, and is currently demonstrated with thousands of units of the Oculus rift prototype, which has been sold all around the world, and whose consumer, final version should be available next year.



By the way, the Oculus rift is not unknown in the space industry.  It was mentioned by Elon Musk on the SpaceX channel, for instance.  They use it for CAD experimentations:



Next month, the Gaia mission will be launched.  After a few years, it will have given us a map of a billion stars and other celestial bodies.   3D programs  like Celestia or spaceengine, once adapted to VR, will make it possible for the regular Joe to explore the galaxy as never before.




Space is a terrible place.  It's dangerous, and just staying alive there is extremely costly.   Yet we want to know and see what's up there, which is quite a natural consequence of our human curiosity.  But , do you think we have to physically be in space in order to satisfy this curiosity?


Moreover, when an astronaut is in space, he already looks around him through a helmet.  He doesn't touch anything with his own skin.  Were he standing on mars, he would not breathe martian air, nor would he feel martian wind.   So, there is already quite a thick layer of technology between his senses and the place he explores.    Is it so much different with VR?

« Last Edit: 10/03/2013 11:43 pm by grondilu »

Offline Oli

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #1 on: 10/03/2013 10:55 pm »
Absolutely, could not agree more.

What is still holding VR back is the lack of screen resolution/quality (when you have 110 field of view HD is nothing), but that will change.

Of course you won't be able to replicate zero gravity, but apart from that why would you want to go to space when you can get almost the same experience here on earth with VR?

Robotics and VR may very well eliminate the need for HSF altogether.

And guess what, both technologies will progress at a much faster rate than rocket technology. You cannot beat Moore's Law.

SpaceX and Skylon are already obsolete before they even started. ;)
« Last Edit: 10/03/2013 11:11 pm by Oli »

Offline grondilu

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #2 on: 10/03/2013 11:36 pm »
SpaceX and Skylon are already obsolete before they even started. ;)

Well, not so much.  We'll still have to send probes and robots in order to get the data we'll need to feed our VR models.

Unless people are satisfied with purely fictional VR environments and get disinterested in what actually exists outer space.   This is a real possibility though, at least according to the Transcension hypothesis.
« Last Edit: 10/03/2013 11:41 pm by grondilu »

Offline Oli

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #3 on: 10/03/2013 11:54 pm »
^

I have the appropriate image for that below ;)

Of course we are technologically very far from that, but as you said, for virtual spaceflight it could become acceptable in the next 10 years or so.

And no, we will never get disinterested in what actually exists in outer space  :)

Edit: Btw the graphics in the videos above are horrible :o
« Last Edit: 10/04/2013 12:02 am by Oli »

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #4 on: 10/04/2013 12:13 am »
Robotics and VR may very well eliminate the need for HSF altogether.

Its a personal value judgement. To me HSF has always been about eventual space settlement and exponential growth of the human race out into the universe. That something else could duplicate the experience is besides the point. The experience will probably be something like claustrophobia and being sea sick a lot of the time.. why spend effort to duplicate that? :)

Having this clear though, Im also not at all afraid of using robots and VR to further this goal of space settlement. There are hundreds of questions to answer and technologies to develop. Sometimes robots are the best way to answer or develop these.

Just wanted to insert a recent hobby horse also: combine COLBERT-like treadmill, a teleoperation booth and VR immersive video game environment to allow people to live together in closet sized areas for months on end without losing too much bone mass or going nuts from claustrophobia or interpersonal conflicts.

Offline Nilof

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #5 on: 10/04/2013 01:05 am »
I don't think that VR will make HSF obsolete. It may however make spacesuits obsolete.
For a variable Isp spacecraft running at constant power and constant acceleration, the mass ratio is linear in delta-v.   Δv = ve0(MR-1). Or equivalently: Δv = vef PMF. Also, this is energy-optimal for a fixed delta-v and mass ratio.

Offline grondilu

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #6 on: 10/04/2013 11:09 am »
To me HSF has always been about eventual space settlement and exponential growth of the human race out into the universe.

That's an unrealistic point of view.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #7 on: 10/04/2013 11:11 am »
To me HSF has always been about eventual space settlement and exponential growth of the human race out into the universe.

That's an unrealistic point of view.

That's your opinion.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline grondilu

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #8 on: 10/04/2013 11:33 am »
And no, we will never get disinterested in what actually exists in outer space  :)

Well, never completely, sure.   But maybe enough to estimate that it is not worth the efforts and resources required for space exploration.   I'm not saying it's going to be so, but it is a possibility.   To some extend, the lack of public interest is already a factor that impacts space agencies budgets quite a bit, I guess.


On an other note, I just watched the latest video update on Atlas:



It looks good, and it makes the idea of teleoperating an android robot more promising:
« Last Edit: 10/04/2013 03:49 pm by grondilu »

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #9 on: 10/05/2013 09:52 pm »
To me HSF has always been about eventual space settlement and exponential growth of the human race out into the universe.
That's an unrealistic point of view.
Hi grondilu, let's not derail your thread to a "Whats HSF for" debate, but you really are holding a minority viewpoint here.   It doesn't mean the majority is right, but It does mean you need to explain your point of view before people can even guess what it is. At least notice that you are dismissing pretty much every big name in popular science from Elon Musk to Stephen Hawking.
« Last Edit: 10/05/2013 09:56 pm by KelvinZero »

Offline Oli

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #10 on: 10/05/2013 10:20 pm »
^

Well at present its certainly a totally unrealistic point of view. But of course, if humanity discovers a nice planet in another solar system, you can expect humans to settle there (if environmental regulation does not forbid it ;))

Quote from: grondilu
To some extend, the lack of public interest is already a factor that impacts space agencies budgets quite a bit, I guess.

Space science is doing fine. HSF is not about exploration, that can be done by robots far cheaper/easier.
« Last Edit: 10/05/2013 10:23 pm by Oli »

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #11 on: 10/05/2013 10:45 pm »
Well at present its certainly a totally unrealistic point of view. But of course, if humanity discovers a nice planet in another solar system, you can expect humans to settle there (if environmental regulation does not forbid it ;))
There are totally realistic technologies and projects we can start on right now, we don't even need to get humans to LEO to begin them. It is only bad sci-fi movies that suggest interstellar travel will become easy while life support and ISRU will remain hard.

Lets try to pull this back on topic. VR is totally relevant without suggesting HSF is just a spectacle, no pun intended.



« Last Edit: 10/06/2013 01:19 am by KelvinZero »

Offline sanman

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #12 on: 10/06/2013 02:08 am »
Well, just imagine that you're actually on Mars - you could still make tremendous use of telepresence technologies (I wouldn't necessarily call them "virtual reality", since the display could be showing a live video feed)

Instead of always having people don spacesuits to leave their habitat, they could put on a pair of VR goggles to pilot a robot that will do the hard work outside for them. That minimizes the risks, and yet still allows a personal hands-on approach to doing the tasks at hand. The robot would always be outside, ready to be activated and piloted.

Remember that Bruce Willis movie with the android avatars? Likewise, you could have entire work crews gathering outside to do hard work in robot form. Your job might be a construction worker, and yet all you would do is sit in your chair all day, using telepresence to pilot a robot that does that work in the dangerous outdoor Martian environment.

Does anyone object to that view of the future, or find it unrealistic?

« Last Edit: 10/06/2013 02:11 am by sanman »

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #13 on: 10/06/2013 02:32 am »
Remember that Bruce Willis movie with the android avatars?

Unfortunately yes.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline Oli

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #14 on: 10/06/2013 03:31 am »

Quote from: KelvinZero
It is only bad sci-fi movies that suggest interstellar travel will become easy while life support and ISRU will remain hard.

Its hard to speculate because we have no clue how interstellar travel will look like :)

Quote from: KelvinZero
Lets try to pull this back on topic. VR is totally relevant without suggesting HSF is just a spectacle, no pun intended.

Who said VR will be just a spectacle? If VR is as good as the real world, why should we move physically? However how "real" it will be depends on the application. A view from LEO will be easier to replicate (with high FOV/res video feed or CGI), than walking around on Mars.



Offline QuantumG

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #15 on: 10/06/2013 03:40 am »
This sounds like a discussion from when I was a teenager (20 or so years ago).

It's not like there's been some revolutionary breakthrough in VR.. they're just attacking the latency problem.

If they succeed, I expect a few thousand units to ship before the hype wears off any everyone rediscovers that resolution is still king.

Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline Oli

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #16 on: 10/06/2013 04:33 am »
Quote from: QuantumG
It's not like there's been some revolutionary breakthrough in VR.. they're just attacking the latency problem.

No there has not, but the resolution of affordable screens may now be good enough for consumer VR.

Quote from: QuantumG
If they succeed, I expect a few thousand units to ship before the hype wears off any everyone rediscovers that resolution is still king.

Resolution is reaching a point where improvements are not noticeable anymore. Yes, we'll probably see 4k smartphones and 8k TV, but at some point you can only gain from higher res. by increasing field of view. In particular for gaming this is highly desirable (not so much for movies).


Offline QuantumG

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #17 on: 10/06/2013 04:40 am »
Gaming is what this latest rekindling of interest in VR is about. There will be other applications for this hardware, but they're sidelines. If they don't make the gaming sales, they'll be sunk and fade into the background like every other VR company has, selling an occasional high end system to a military or medical outfit.

To me, the outcome seems clear: they'll sell a bunch of units on the novelty factor, then gamers will start demanding resolution upgrades. If they can do that, affordably, they'll get a much bigger market and decades of sales. If not, they'll fade away as a passing fad.

That's just my opinion, though.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Offline Oli

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #18 on: 10/06/2013 05:00 am »
^

First of all, I'm not talking about that particular company. What they did was nothing special from a technical POV and I doubt they can patent it, but they did it at a point in time where the experience is good enough to trigger interest.

Secondly, I would not generally limit VR to head mounted displays only, however increasing screen sizes has its limits so I think it will go towards HMD in the long term.

Finally, its not only gaming. Imagine having a pair of augmented reality glasses which provide you with a huge 180 screen estate everywhere you go. That's a killer application (good see-through glasses are really hard to do however, so very long term).
« Last Edit: 10/06/2013 05:04 am by Oli »

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Virtual reality
« Reply #19 on: 10/06/2013 05:13 am »
I can imagine all sorts of things.. what's actually being done is what you should be interested in.
Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

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