Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Deeper immersion in the virtual
Today I had the pleasure of presenting some futures ideas to an audience at the BT Tower in London. Despite the recent UK snowy weather, today there were some fantastic clear views of the city from the revolving restaurant where we dined, and the sun even made an appearance! One popular topic of conversation was the potential of virtual worlds in future, coupled with advances in hardware such as wearable displays which will permit a deeper level of immersion in such worlds.
Major organisations and blue-chip companies are already experimenting with virtual world environments for training, product testing and focus groups amongst other things. And this is when the level of immersion is rather limited and basically using mainly 2D visual and audible interaction. The addition of tactile sensing via haptics, and 3D visuals may help this further.
Once again, many extra decisions will have to be made by individuals who have access to this environment, about how they are prepared to use the extra capabilities it offers. This will include an element of what they believe is socially acceptable as well as desirable by the individual. I suspect the behaviours will evolve to be very different, in an analogous way to how the use of mobile devices in meetings and other social environments already has evolved since the technology became widespread.