Imagine being able to "walk" into your computer and interact with any program you create. It sounds like science fiction, but it's science fact. Surgeons now rehearse operations on computer-generated "virtual" patients, and architects "walk through" virtual buildings while the actual structures are still in blueprints. In Virtual Reality, Howard Rheingold takes us to the front lines of this revolutionary new technology that creates computer-generated worlds complete with the sensations of touch and motion, and explores its impact on everything from entertainment to particle physics.
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Howard Rheingold is author of Tools for Thought, Excursions to the Far Side of the Mind, They Have a Word For It: A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslatable Words and Phrases; coauthor of Higher Creativity and The Cognitive Connection; and editor of Whole Earth Review. He is multimedia columnist for Publish magazine and has been consultant to the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment. He has written for the New York Times, Esquire, Psychology Today, Playboy, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Omni.
The term "virtual reality" describes the computer-generated simulation of reality with physical, tactile, and visual dimensions. This interactive technology is used by science and engineering researchers as well as by the entertainment industry, especially in the form of video games. In this book, Rheingold, editor of Whole Earth Review , reports on his visits to virtual reality labs in industry and universities around the world. He describes the eerie experience of using virtual reality systems that can simulate a walk-through of a building in an architectural graphics program, interviews leading researchers, and speculates on the social and psychological implications of this technology, in which the artificial world overlaps with reality. He also highlights the aims of system designers and gives a good sense of the exploratory nature of this research. Recommended for popular technology and science collections.
- Christopher Jocius, Illinois Mathematics & Science Acad., Aurora
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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