Neal Stephenson's next novel is Fall; or, Dodge in Hell, an 880-page Stephsonian brick of a novel that has ample room for two novels, and that's because Stephenson actually stuck a second novel inside the first one. Read the rest
[Kathe Koja is one of my favorite writers (actually, she's two of my favorite writers!) and her latest project, am immersive, mixed-reality dance club, is so unbelievably cool that I jumped at the chance to give her a platform to tell you about it. Don't miss her Patreon! -Cory]
Stories need an audience to be fully alive. I write novels (Christopher Wild, The Cipher, Under the Poppy, Buddha Boy, among others) and write and produce immersive events and readings (The Art of Darkness, Glitter King, Night School, ALI<E, among others), and when I work I’m always considering that audience, its shared energy and engagement with the story I’m working to tell: otherwise it’s just words in a row, props in a room. Read the rest
Tim Maughan has long been one of the most promising up-and-coming, avante garde UK science fiction writers, whose post-cyberpunk short fiction mixed radical politics with a love of graffiti and a postmodern filmmaker's eye: now, with his debut novel Infinite Detail, Maughan shows that he has what it takes to work at longer lengths, and can sustain a first-rate adventure story that grabs and never lets go, without sacrificing the political and technological insights that give his work depth that will stay with you long after the book is done. Read the rest
Objective Reality is a new VR installation from automato.farm, written by Bruce Sterling, in which you "play" one of a variety of inanimate objects: a rotating fan, a roaming Roomba, the electricity sparking from one outlet to the next; each object has an associated VR helmet that makes you look like your head is a giant appliance. Read the rest
"Saccades" are the phenomenon where your eyes flick momentarily from one place to another; during saccades, you don't consciously register visual input, creating tiny moments of blindness (AKA "saccadic suppression"). Read the rest
As VR headsets and controllers become readily available it is only a matter of time before we are all wearing haptic underoos and doing VR yogas.
Now I can feel my heartbreak as I get shot down in Fortnite.
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Immersive experiences seek to engage the full sensory system in ways that words, pictures, or touch alone cannot. With respect to the haptic system, however, physical feedback has been provided primarily with handheld tactile experiences or vibration-based designs, largely ignoring both pressure receptors and the full upper-body area as conduits for expressing meaning that is consistent with sight and sound. We extend the potential for immersion along these dimensions with the Force Jacket, a novel array of pneumatically-actuated airbags and force sensors that provide precisely directed force and high frequency vibrations to the upper body. We describe the pneumatic hardware and force control algorithms, user studies to verify perception of airbag location and pressure magnitude, and subsequent studies to define full-torso, pressure and vibration-based feel effects such as punch, hug, and snake moving across the body. We also discuss the use of those effects in prototype virtual reality applications.
Singer-songwriter Chase Holfelder of Raleigh, North Carolina did something cool. He used virtual reality to perform a cover of Jamiroquai's 1996 hit "Virtual Insanity." With an HTC Vive rig, he made all the sounds and instruments needed to play the song.
He explains how he did it in this behind-the-scenes video:
EFF-Austin's Jon Lebkowsky writes: "Every year while thousands flock to a certain large festival that temporarily colonizes Austin, EFF-Austin throws a honking big geek soiree. Keynote speakers are this year are Caroline Old Coyote and Michael Running Wolf, Native American VR/AR activists who are using technology to preserve their culture and heritage. Additional speakers include EFF Investigative Researcher David Maass discussing police surveillance, government transparency, and legislation in California, former EFF-Austin president Jon Lebkowsky, Carly Rose Jackson with Texans For Voter Choice, and Vikki Goodwin, Democratic candidate for Texas House District 47. Also music by Michael Garfield, Pilgrimess, and UBA, plus custom video game consoles, lockpicking, and cosplay. " Read the rest
This Ready Player One fan, who wasn't an admirer of virtual reality, test drives the Seattle-based Haptx haptic glove. The experience converts him into a VR "believer." The Haptx glove isn't yet on the market, but according to their press release, will be available to "select customers" this year. Read the rest