Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Disavantages Of using VRDs

In the entertainment industry it would be hard to sell VRD systems to home users because of 2 main reasons:

1. Cost: VRD would be cost much more than a television, even a very nice television. Therefore, VRDs would be sold to either just the social "elite" or people who value their entertainment enough to spend a large amount of money.

2. Laser Beam: Although VRDs are believed to be safe for the human eye, according to Wapedia, it would extremly difficult to have people buy a unit that literally shoots a laser beam directly in their retina because people would fear losing their vision.

3. Limitation: Up to today VRDs have only been able to user red laser beams, which limit the colors a user can user to red. This will remain the same until the VRD system will be able to incorporate green and yellow lasers in its projection technology. ( information taken from Ryan Block)

For military purposes, the VRD might cause greater disavantages than it does advantages:

1. Cost: it would be expensive to retrain pilots to fly their plain from the controls of a VRD system.

2. Reliability: we often hear pilots say that no machine can replace their instincts, only time would be able to tell if pilots would be able to trust their instincts while using VRD as if they flyng.

3.Security in an indirect way the planes are more vulnerable because an enemy can gain intelligence to hack into the military computer and he would than be able to control the planes.

And finally for the use of operations, the VRD will also have some limitations:

1. Constancy: What would happen if a power failure would occur in the middle of an operation? or if a computer glitch makes the robot malfunction? Most likely it would result in a fatality.

2. Trust: It would be hard for both the doctor and the patients to trust the technology. Would you trust a doctor you never met to operate on your heart? Would you have the guts to allow a machine cut your chest open? I know i wouldn't! (for more information on operations and VRD)

Industries that can Benifit from VRD Sytems

1. Entertainment: One of my favourite movies from childhood was Jurassic Park because of the visual effects, and the idea of being able to actually see dinosaurs. Now imagine being able to be one of the main characters in the movie and being able to see everything as the character would in a virtual world! This technology would annihilate blue ray (keeping in mind that it would cost effective)and any other method of watching movies! In addition to movies, VRDs will also be able to replace many existing video game consuls. Imagine the incredible experience of combining the power of VRD with the Nintendo Wii. Not only would the user be able to coordinate his movements with the digital character but also be able to see the visuals of the game as if he was the character!

2. Medicine: Living in Montreal we are very fortunate to have one of the worlds leading hospitals in childcare, but what about the little girl in Vietnam with a brain tumour that can only be removed by a top doctor in North America? If we combine the power of robotics and VRDs we would have an incredible solution: the doctor would be able to step into a "virtual operating room" in North America, and on the other side of the world the little girl could be in an operating room with robots to perform the operation controlled by the doctor. (For more information on VRD and operations click here)

3. Military: We occasionally hear of military aircraft disasters, either during an experiment or war. This is very unfortunate because of the loss of a brave pilot who gave his life to protect his country and what he believed was right. But what if this pilot can be able to fly the plane as if he was sitting in the pilot seat but actually be 100 miles away? By introducing the power of VRD systems the military can have their pilots at home safe, while the planes are at war! (for more information on VRD and the military please visit the official Naval Postgraduate School Computer Department's web site)

I find that Virtual Retinal Display technology is so innovative that it might replace some items such as television screens and computer monitors but its true benefits would lie on how it can improve existing technologies and processes like operations, and flying military planes. For more ideas on how VRD systems can be used to replace or enhance our lives please do as i did and do some research and use your imagination; here is a good starting point.

VRD in our lives

(picture taken from here)

After doing some research, i have found a website (click here to view) that lists some very interesting characteristics:

  • Very small and lightweight, glasses mountable
  • Large field of view, greater than 120 degrees
  • High resolution, approaching that of human vision
  • Full color with better color resolution than standard displays
  • Brightness sufficient for outdoor use
  • Very low power consumption
  • True stereo display with depth modulation
  • Capable of fully inclusive or see through display modes
After reading these characteristics it is very obvious that the VRD system has a great potential to replace any existing visual display system, like monitors and televisions.

Monitor: Imagine being able to surf the web with only a pair of glasses on, all the information in the world (how handy would this come in during your next MIS quiz).

Television: How many times do you fight with a relative to watch a specific channel on the television? How much room those a television take in a home? Imagine now that you can increase your entertainment pleasures and have more room in your house, while everybody is happy because they have their own pair!

For more inforation on ho VRD system and the potential they have to replace technology please read the article by Lynn Wiss.

Apart from that it would seem that the VRD would have greater influence on our lives by enhancing certain methods. (please see next post)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Virtual Retinal Display

What is Virtual retinal display (VRD)?

VRD is an emerging display system technology that is worn on the head that propels an illustration directly on the retina using low-power lasers or LCDs. VRDs give the impression of seeing a normal computer screen floating in the air a few feet away. In theory VRDs can provide high quality images, but in real life some of parts needed for it to work flawlessly have not been develop enough. For a more detailed definition of VRD please visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_retinal_display

A little history:

Although the idea for the technology is relatively old, it was invented by the University of Washington in 1991, VRDs only started being developed in 1993. Thomas Furness often receives credit for the invention. It is important to note that the technology is still being develop today. In addition, The University of Washington won the 1998 the Discover Magazine Technological Innovation Award for the inventing the VRD. For more information please visit: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/07/980721081522.htm

Why were VRDs invented?

"The small screens and narrow fields of view of mobile devices don't work well with the human vision system," Furness says. "When we first started talking about VRD, the idea was to create a system that requires very little power but can be connected to a PDA or cell phone to deliver a wide field of view with high brightness. For mobile computing applications where you want to overlay digital information on top of what you see, you need the luminance to compete with the outside world." (http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/Science-Fiction-News.asp?NewsNum=247)