Haptic Virtual Reality Suits


Lots of people escape the world through the internet, some with games, perhaps web environments like Second Life, but what’s happened to Virtual Reality that promised so much so many years ago. From what I understand the only thing really holding things back is the cost.

One thing that I would love to see is Sport VR. Imagine if you could don a suit and be your favorite All Black or soccer star. You could see what they see and feel (desensitised off course) the tackles and the thrill of the game.

There are already a range of body suits such as the Inlabs Motion Capture Suit that can be used to capture body motion data for a variety of purposes. These can be used for sports medicine, training and biomechanical research. Forms of this technology have been used to help develop movie models for animation, allowing models to look like they are real by taking motion information from people.

VR is used by the military to train pilots and the US Navy has VR parachute trainers so that they can experience everything, the visuals, the thump when the chute opens and the harness touch points grip your body.

In the future VR will support remote medicine using robots to perform surgery. In some cases the surgeon will be there, in other cases it might be through telemedicine where experts can influence or control surgery remotely from anywhere in the world with reliable broadband connections. Micro surgery is already taking place today which is far less invasive and allows recovery to be much quicker than normal.

VR would make a lot of sense in remote and dangerous locations, for example space exploration. There are major issues with space travel where the distances, event to other planets in our solar system represents years in each direction. Wouldn’t it be great if we had the dexterity (or better) of a human without having to actually send a human to Mars.

Virtual Reality is a natural progression of technology that we have already become used to. Look at the number of phones inlcuding iPhone and Windows Mobile devices from brands such as HTC which have gyroscopes that recognise which way the device is facing and automatically change the screen format accordingly. Wii fitness has become incredibly popular, combining a video game with exercise has rapidly propelled Nintendo back into leadership in the TV games world.

Worlds like Second Life, using VR could mean that the avatars become totally lifelike and the whole gaming world is in for a shakeup. Imagine all the action games where you are actually running and shooting, driving and crashing cars and feeling all the bumps and hits.

Of course the more fun this becomes the greater the risks that people will prefer VR to real life. In Japan there have been problems for a number of years where children prefer to stay in the rooms every day just living on their computers and don’t want to go into the real world. They are known as hikikimori. People like that are now appearing around the world, where virtual reality is preferable to real life.

Of course there are those who are elderly or severely disabled where VR could give them some semblance of normal experiences that they otherwise wouldn’t. Imagine being restricted to your bed or a wheelchair, but being able to experience the sensations of walking or running, or even sex.

I won’t delve too far into this, but the ultimate in safe sex could be VR sex. People who are severely disabled, or who find it difficult to find partners could have their experience without risk. It appears that they haven’t yet been manufactured in a form that is safe, but it is coming. Michael Anissimov has some good ideas and I will leave the last word to him from his accelerating future blog.

 

The Trouble with Orcon


I note that many people are reading my blog about Orcon and the trouble I have had since I signed up, so I feel obliged to give you an update.

Things have improved to some degree, I frequently have days where my connection only drops out 1 or 2 times, but I am still experiencing dropouts, disconnections this week:

  • Saturday 16
  • Sunday 31
  • Monday 27

I also noted that people have found me when searching about the 2 for 1 movie tickets for a year that were promised as part of the connection deal. Well I signed up 4 months ago and still haven’t seen them. If they do arrive, I hope they will still be valid for 12 months and not the remainder of the year. But at this stage I’m not holding my breath on ever seeing them.

I don’t know if it is because of the interleaving, but our Caller ID doesn’t work on the phone about 50% of the time, which is annoying.

My wife wants me to go back to Telecom and thinks I’m an idiot for putting up with Orcon’s poor service. As a footnote, Orcon did come up with a $100 credit for my troubles. Funny thing is that a couple of weeks ago, even though my payment is made automatically by direct credit from my American Express Card, and I had the $100 credit, I got an email saying that my account was overdue and asking me to do something about it urgently. I was tempted to send one back saying that their service was overdue and could they give me a reliable connection urgently.

So, the bottom line? Still having plenty of disconnections, no 2 for 1 movie tickets as promised, intermittent caller id and no satisfaction. Should I be calling Fair Go?

The Orcon Problem


You have to laugh, or else you would cry. The other day I was complaining about the problems I have had with Orcon for the last 3 months. Today I was going to write an email to Scott Bartlett prior to phoning him in person, but the latest episode means I may have to wait until after the weekend before I start demanding compensation and head for the media in a big way.

Last month my Internet disconnected 696 times and then last weekend I lost my landline phoe altogether. I know some of you laughed at the fact that I have a landline, but as I said, elderly relatives still have landlines and can’t afford the cost of calling mobiles.

Anyway my landline is back and my internet has a few consecutive good days. But if you read my blog before, you will have read that over a 1 month period my internet disconnected 696 times. Did you think that was bad?

Well how about this. Yesterday my Orcon connection dropped 245 times and today so far it has dropped 451 times. In fact my average continuous connection time could be measured in seconds.

So I rang Orcon again this morning and got a friendly guy who asked me if I had line filters in my house. I felt like jumping from my chair, rushing into their call centre and launching a tirade, but I didn’t. I asked him if he had read the story on my account in their CRM.

He has come up with a new idea of applying interleaving which he said could increase latency by up to 10 mSeconds. I’ll have to see what the impact is on my poker tournaments, but in general that doesn’t sound too bad. he said it would take about 2 days for it to have an impact and my next tournament is tonight, but given that last night I couldn’t even check my email, it sounds like a major potential improvement.

I was giong to call Scott Bartlett at Orcon today and demand a refund, demand the 2 for one movie tickets that they promised and then start calling the media. I will wait until Monday and then decide my next step.

Several people who were thinking of joining Orcon have decided not to and my Glenfield rental tenants have just received a package from Orcon which they are going to show me tonight. There is no way they will join Orcon, having heard about my story.

I thought my problems were over, but it seems as though they are getting worse. In this day and age I can’t believe this. I’m busy working on LBS applications, proximity based marketing and all sorts of exciting mobile applications but in 3 months I can’t get a reliable internet connection at home. Just as well I don’t have a home business anymore. I wonder what my associates at the ICT Cluster tonight will think of this.

Would you put up with this?

The continuing saga with Orcon


So if you read my previous blog you will know that our phone line died yesterday. So This afternoon I rang Orcon to find ut what is happening. I rang the 0800 number and selected landlines and waited for a response which came pretty quickly and I got a very polite response from Jamie who advised me that she had to pass me on to a different department because the other department was responsible for the port change. She also explained that the port change affected the landline and the broadband connection.

So off to another department and another woman who advised me that they were still waiting for a technician to advise the date when someone would do a port change!

I said “Are you telling me that I have no phone and that you can’t even tell me when someone will advise when they will look at it?” Correct, it might be this afternoon, they do work on Saturdays so someone might turn up then or, well they just don’t know because it is another department.

I asked if they would forward incoming phones to a mobile and they have agreed to do that, but why couldn’t they suggest that in the first place? Basically this now means that people can contact us without having to know our mobile numbers and without having to pay for the toll call, but it does also mean that we have to pay mobile call rates for the outgoing local calls, but at least we have communications.

But we have no idea when our home phone line wll be reconnected.

Since last night I have had 2 people come to me saying that they had been planning to move to Orcon and now won’t. Would you like to be in on a sweepstake as to when I will have a home phone line? Or perhaps hw many times my internet will disconnect today? Yes, funny isn’t it, I still have a Broadband connection at home even if I don’t have the phone. I just checked, so far my broadband has disconnected 18 times today.

Life without the Internet 2


So in this day and age you would think that diagnosis and repairing problems with computers and connectivity would be a breaze.

The Xtra Advanced Broadband Helpdesk couldn’t work out what the problem was with my connection. I said that I thought it was my DLink modem which after all was 2 years old. He said that he didn’t think it was and even though my current modem wouldn’t be compatible with the next generation of broadband, I should wait until after the technician came round. Of course if it was proven that the problem was with the modem and not their cabling, I would have to pay $85 for the technician. I agreed, but said don’t send anyone before 3:30 p.m. Friday because there would be noone home. That was duly added as I anticipated yet another evening and morning without Interet, without Podcasts to download to my iPod etc.

Now, here’s a surprise. The technician turned up on Thursday and like I told the Helpdesk, there was noone home and they left a card saying they had tried to come to look at my cabling. Meanwhile, I stop off at PB Technologies and buy a new generation modem, take it home and install it, get the password changed back from their test login to mine and hey presto, stable connection, everything is working. Next step them to cancel the technician coming back on Friday and re-set up my Phillips Skype phones which had gone nuts through the process. So now I had Internet, but no phone.

After trying to reset the phones unsuccessfully I went to my gig at Bar Africa were I was performing my new songs and not able to use the net at all. Tonight I will get to go home and try to figure out what the problem is with the phones and hope that I can get them to work. I am hoping it isn’t a channel conflict between the WiFi router and the phone router because the phone doesn’t appear to have the ability to change channel.

So this process has taken 4 days, my diagnosis of a faulty modem was correct and if I had taken my own councel instead of the Advanced Specialists, I would have been out of action for a couple of hours. Just as well I no longer operate a business from home!

Anyway, my next step is to  run a diary for a day to see how much I rely on the Internet and how much I interface with it on a normal day. I will do that on Tuesday as Monday is Auckland Anniversary Day, a public holiday. Should be very interesting as I recognise how connected I am.