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Infographic: Sci-fi Vision

Turning Sci-Fi Vision into a Present & Future Reality

Let’s travel back in time and take a look at how early sci-fi pioneers imagined we might perceive sight in the future

Early Sci-Fi Experiences

  • 1787: Panoramic paintings made viewers feel present in the scene depicted
  • 1838: Stereoscopic photos
    • Used by Charles Wheatstone
    • Gave viewers a sense of depth and immersion
  • 1939: The View-Master stereoscope was used for “virtual tourism”
  • 1950s: Sensorama was an arcade-style theater cabinet that stimulated all senses
  • 1960: First head-mounted display (HMD): the Telesphere Mask
    • Produced for non-interactive film media
    • Did not have motion tracking
    • Provided stereoscopic 3D and wide vision and
    • Included stereo sound

Science Fiction writers soon started seeing the world through bionic eyes and virtual reality glasses—and now, ocular technology is finally catching up to their imaginations

Sci-Fi Film Inspiration Behind Today's Technology

  • 1969: The Veldt
    • Short story by Ray Bradbury
    • Adapted into The Illustrated Man film
    • Plot involves a family that lives in an automated home called The Happylife Home
    • The nursery is a virtual reality room able to reproduce whatever setting the children imagine
  • 1987: The term “virtual reality” was coined, or popularized, by Jaron Lanier
  • 1987: Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • Geordi La Forge was blind, but
      • Able to see with his VISOR (Visual Instrument and Sensory Organ Replacement)
      • Could detect:
        • Vital signs
        • Energy levels
        • Lies
    • Today
      • “Bionic vision” technology has been developed by Second Sight into Argus II
        • Was the first FDA-approved visual prosthesis to become available for commercial implant.
        • How it works:
          • Small video camera is attached to a pair of sunglasses
          • The data is sent to an electrode-covered microchip implanted at the back of the eye
          • The device produces a 60-pixel, black-and-white image.
        • Unfortunately, achieving images in color is impossible
          • Would require wiring each electrode to one of the eye’s matching color-perceiving cones
  • 1992: The Lawnmower Man
    • Used VR as a therapy tool for a mentally disabled patient
    • VR gradually increased the patient's
      • Intelligence
      • Control over all connected devices
    • Today:
      • Recent study from UCL and ICREA-University of Barcelona monitored 15 depression patients
        • During the VR experience, patients
          • Were embodied in an adult avatar
          • Practiced compassion by consoling a distressed virtual child
          • Were then embodied as the distressed child
          • Received compassion from an adult avatar
        • Results showed VR therapy could:
          • Help with depression
          • Increase compassion
          • Reduce self-criticism
      • VR could make us better informed
        • Clouds Over Sidra
          • VR film supported by UN as a call for partnerships to build resilience in vulnerable communities
          • Story of 12-year-old girl living in Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan
  • 2000: X-Men
    • Cyclops uses his visor to control his optic beams
    • Without the visor his eyes would release a destructive optic blast
    • Today:
      • Optic Vision Technology
        • Sharpens images by changing the shape of telescope mirrors up to 1,000 times per second
        • Used by astronomers to study black holes
        • First used by computers to analyze the light coming from a star
        • Has been proposed by the Air Force as a way to shoot down missiles
        • Used by optometrists to “un-distort” light and study the cells at the back of the eye
          • This could become a new tool for
            • Diagnosis
            • Treatment of diseases such as:
              • Macular degeneration
              • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • 2011: Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol
    • Used holographic contact lenses to
      • Identify and capture a bagman
      • Take photos of nuclear codes
    • Today:
      • Navion system from WayRay
        • Could navigate a vehicle using a holographic display on windshield
        • The first True Augmented Reality car navigation system
        • Applies aeronautical principles
      • Samsung has patented a smart contact lens
        • Projects images directly into user’s eyes
        • Built-in camera and sensors are controlled by blinking
        • Embedded antennas transfer content to an external device for processing
  • 2016: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story production
    • Used VR and augmented reality (AR) technologies
    • Allowed director Gareth Edwards to explore a set before it would be built.

Some of the world’s largest companies are creating headsets capable of transporting our minds into fantasy lands. Could the future of sci-fi be staring straight at us?

Sci-Fi Tech in Your Hands

  • In 2016:
    • The top 4 makers of VR headsets:
      • Samsung
      • Oculus
      • HTC
      • Sony
    • Sold a total of 12.1 million units
  • Facebook declared it will make the camera the first augmented reality platform.
    • Camera will use object recognition to suggest effects
    • Will include more than art frames and filters— 3D text and images will make AR mainstream.
  • Google's plans include:
    • Turning compatible phones into face-mounted VR viewers
    • Adding features like:
      • Sharing VR footage with friends,
      • Connecting with others in apps like YouTube, and
      • Checking in on Android notifications without having to take the phone out of the headset
    • AR camera technology that will
      • Conduct 3D scans of entire rooms
      • Function as an indoor mapping tool,
      • Help measure spaces and
      • Places virtual items into them, such as furniture
  • Our worlds in the future, thanks to sci-fi tech, could involve:
    • Never forgetting
      • Contact lenses that record experiences and process our memories.
    • Breaking the barrier between VR and the physical world
      • Impacting all of our senses: touch, sight, and smell.

Are You Ready?

















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