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1. Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual
2. Virtual Reality: The Revolutionary
3. The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality
4. Spatial Augmented Reality: Merging
5. Understanding Virtual Reality:
6. Exodus to the Virtual World: How
7. Narrative as Virtual Reality:
8. The Virtual Reality Homebrewer's
9. Developing Virtual Reality Applications:
10. Virtual Realities (Adventures
11. Digital Sensations: Space, Identity,
12. Virtual Realities and Their Discontents
13. Stepping into Virtual Reality
14. Maya: The World as Virtual Reality
15. Virtual Reality
16. Virtual Reality Specialist (Cool
17. Designing Virtual Reality Systems:
18. The End of Hardware, 3rd Edition:
19. Mindreal: How the Mind Creates
20. Augmented Reality: A Practical

1. Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality, Expanded Edition
Paperback: 496 Pages (2002-12-16)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$13.92
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Asin: 0393323757
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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"I recommend this book to you with an earnestness that I have seldom felt for any collection of historic texts," writes William Gibson in his foreword. Tracing the fertile series of collaborations between arts and sciences throughout the twentieth century, Randall Packer and Ken Jordan present the often overlooked history behind multimedia—the interfaces, links, and interactivity we all take for granted today. "Many of the papers that had profound impact upon my development—to say nothing of the entire industry—are here," raves Donald A. Norman, author of The Invisible Computer.

In "an evocative whirlwind tour through 100 years of work" (Wired), Packer and Jordan bring together an "historically significant" (Slashdot) collection of the groundbreaking visions of scientists like Vannevar Bush, Douglas Englebart, and Norbert Wiener, and artists like John Cage, Nam June Paik, and William Gibson. Their insightful explanations of the core concepts behind multimedia provide historical context that "reads like a Western civ of modern media" (Film/Tape World). ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
This book has shaped me in ways I barely have words for. It is a must read for anyone interested in Interactive Media Design, what we used to call Multimedia. I have used it in the classroom as both a student and a teacher. It has proven invaluable in the creation of my own Interactive Narrative Design theory. While clearly in need of an update (I'm looking at you Randall), I could not be without it.

5-0 out of 5 stars It is a digital world we live in...
With the progression of human culture in the digital age developing as it is, it's intriguing to look back at even the recent past and see where we've been and where we were thought to be going. The collection of writings in this volume are invaluable and often shockingly ahead of their time. Anyone who expects to be successful in the future - in this ever-evolving digital world - would benefit by reading this book, and sooner rather than later.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Intro to this Topic
I had to get this book for a class, but am very happy I was introduced to these theories. I'd recommend it for anyone interested in the topic of where online media is going.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Resource for Digital Media Enthusiasts
From Futurist Cinema, to artificial intelligence, to cyberspace, this collection highlights the origins of multimedia, its influences, its directions, and its future possibilities. It includes an insightful and comprehensive introduction by Packer and Jordan themselves, and the authors they have chosen to include in this work reflect the vast landscape of multimedia in its many iterations: Vannevar Bush, William Gibson, Norbert Wiener, John Cage, and Janet Murray, just to mention a few. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in peeking below the surface of multimedia evolution.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Collection ofFascinating Contributors
Reading this collection of articles gave me a better understanding of the people and ideas that helped shape computer-based communication. The contributors are for the most part well chosen; a few that I might well have done without, I must admit -- but far more excellent choices than "questionable" ones. The organization of the book is interesting as well. I was reminded of the magazine "Mondo 2000" that I subscribed to in the early '90's (multimedia/geek chic). ... Read more

2. Virtual Reality: The Revolutionary Technology of Computer-Generated Artificial Worlds - and How It Promises to Transform Society
by Howard Rheingold
Paperback: 416 Pages (1992-08-15)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$1.93
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Asin: 0671778978
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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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. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sacred and Scary Reflections on Neo-Biologicial Civilization

First published in 1991, this is a gem that should be one of the first readings of anyone contemplated the sacred and the scary aspects of how humans, machines, and software are being changed by emerging information technologies.While there is a lot of focus on "cool tools" and all the paraphenalia of "virtual reality" qua artificial sensation and perception, the rock bottom foundation of this book can be found in Howard reflections on what it all means for the transformation of humans, business, and society in general. ... Read more

3. The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality
by Michael Heim
Paperback: 208 Pages (1994-10-27)
list price: US$34.99 -- used & new: US$4.99
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Asin: 0195092589
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Computers have dramatically altered life in the late twentieth century. Today we can draw on worldwide computer links, speeding up communications by radio, newspapers, and television. Ideas fly back and forth and circle the globe at the speed of electricity. And just around the corner lurks full-blown virtual reality, in which we will be able to immerse ourselves in a computer simulation not only of the actual physical world, but of any imagined world. As we begin to move in and out of a computer-generated world, Michael Heim asks, how will the way we perceive our world change?

In The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality, Heim considers this and other philosophical issues of the Information Age. With an eye for the dark as well as the bright side of computer technology, he explores the logical and historical origins of our computer-generated world and speculates about the future direction of our computerized lives. He probes the notion of "cyberspace," virtual reality (the computer-simulated environments that have captured the popular imagination and may ultimately change the way we define reality itself), and discusses such topics as the effect of word-processing on the English language, and the new kind of literacy promised by Hypertext.

Vividly and entertainingly written, The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality opens a window on a fascinating world that promises--or threatens--to become an integral part of everyday life in the twenty-first century. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars persian review
For persian visitors, there is a persian review that has been published in Mehr weekly too, in my blog : www.yousefi.persianblog.com

4-0 out of 5 stars How to really play God
No one disputes that the growing sophistication of computing technology has altered the human condition. With the current world population in excess of five billion and the U.S. economy in excess of six trillion dollars annually, computers are essential to the management of life. However, few people ever think about how much this has altered the perception of existence. Philosopher Michael Heim is one such person.
The imminent, but distant development of Artificial Intelligence has forced a thorough rethinking of what human intelligence really is. The Turing test, where a computer interacts with a human via teletype and passes the test if the human thinks that the object on the other end is also human, has been proven inadequate. Other abilities, such as being able to perform extensive arithmetic computations, is also not an indicator of intelligence. As amazing as it may seem to the child struggling to learn their 'rithmetic, the algorithms are just not that complicated. The only conclusive result to date is that intelligent behavior is ill-defined. The best that can be agreed upon is a statement similar to that uttered by a justice of the United State Supreme Court. When asked to define pornography, his response was, "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it."
Robotics, computer viruses and the nebulous discipline of Artificial Life are forcing a re-examination of what life is. Capable of reproducing, but only with the assistance of other objects, computer viruses are remarkably similar to their biological counterparts. Arguing that they are fundamentally different because they are nothing more than a series of instructions misses the point. A biological virus is a set of instructions coded in either RNA or DNA, both of which allow for four options, and is surrounded by a protective protein coat. The computer virus is stored in two option binary on a protective magnetic or optical medium. Each is extremely vulnerable when the instructions are isolated. For the biological virus,
this is when it has infected a host and the instructions are free of the protective coat. In the case of the computer virus, this is when the instructions are in working memory .
Artificial life, generally cellular automata, do many of the things commonly associated with life, including the ability to evolve into other forms. Like all dynamic systems with a random component, this evolution can be in either direction, to more or less "advanced." Again, the argument that a cellular automaton is nothing more than a series of precise instructions being sequentially executed has been rendered invalid. Whatever force you assign to human and animal existence, the core of life is a series of instructions coded in genetic material and requiring outside power sources to function.
While the development of AI and AL are forcing significant alterations in human perceptions of existence, those alterations will be dwarfed by the changes wrought by the advent of Virtual Reality. For here, the foundations of perception itself will be changed. It will be possible to create an existence of ones own choosing that is indistinguishable from that of "true" reality. This will require a redefinition of what is meant by the word God. One of the items under the definition of God in Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary is, "one controlling a particular aspect of part of reality ." Anyone [programmer(s) plus computer(s)] capable of creating a virtual existence will satisfy this definition. Furthermore, AI and AL can both be considered subsets of virtual reality.
Michael Heim, known as "the philosopher of cyberspace," offers a preliminary examination of the consequences of virtual reality on the human mental state. Since VR is still primitive, the explorations here are still fairly speculative. But it is necessary to examine them now, while VR is still a toddler full of potential. He does a good job in setting down the universe of discourse, explaining items in terms that even the computer illiterate can understand. Some historical background in philosophy is used, but all can be understood by those lacking such knowledge.
The successful development of AI, AL, or VR all fit the criteria of a being that satisfies the definition of God. All those interested in the future course of humanity should begin thinking about such things. And this book is a good place to start.

Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality
If you search through the internet on the definition of VR, you'll hit on just about anything having to do with computers.Why?Heim attempts to answer this question with a wonderful explanation of what the term hasmeant, means now, and may mean in both the near and far future.He reviewsthe impact products have had on our daily lives, which we take for grantedtoday, and studies what past philosophers feared--have these fears become areality?The book defines our relationship to computers now, and what ourexpectations are.It's a fun little book to read.It'll make you stop andthink about our real world when your done.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality is provocative and fun.
Michael Heim's Metaphysics of Virtual Reality is an investigation of the philosophical underpinnings of digital and virtual technologies.Chapters one through five contain and engaging analysis of information processingtechnologies and their profound impact on human thought.Heim's simplethesis that digital technologies change the way we think by altering theenvironment in which we think supports far-reaching claims about theunmittigated impact of the information revolution.Chapters six throughten treat of cyberspaces and virtual realities as products of a culturalimagination in search of ultimate fulfillment.Includedis a helpfulglossary of technical terms belonging to the somewhat disparate domains oftechnology and philosophy.Heim has written a fun book inspite of theponderous subject matter thanks to his crisp prose.He judiciouslybalances weighty concepts with lively commentary drawn from popularliterature, science fiction and film.As is to be expected, when an authorincorporates many diverse elements in a concise text, some depth ofanalysis is sacraficed.However, Heim adequately compensates with thoughtprovoking, if enigmatic predictions for the future of technology thatinvite the reader to speculate on the nature and ultimate worth of emergenttechnologies. ... Read more

4. Spatial Augmented Reality: Merging Real and Virtual Worlds
by Oliver Bimber, Ramesh Raskar
Hardcover: 392 Pages (2005-07-15)
list price: US$75.00 -- used & new: US$35.00
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Asin: 1568812302
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Like virtual reality, augmented reality is becoming an emerging platform in new application areas for museums, edutainment, home entertainment, research, industry, and the art communities using novel approaches which have taken augmented reality beyond traditional eye-worn or hand-held displays.

In this book, the authors discuss spatial augmented reality approaches that exploit optical elements, video projectors, holograms, radio frequency tags, and tracking technology, as well as interactive rendering algorithms and calibration techniques in order to embed synthetic supplements into the real environment or into a live video of the real environment. Special FeaturesComprehensive overviewDetailed mathematical equations

Code fragments

Implementation instructions

Examples of Spatial AR displays ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Spatial Augmented Reality book review
This book covers a very methological approach to augmented reality.It goes into some of the technical background of how AR works and new opportunities to make even more progress with AR designs.A little technical so not a light read but informative none the less.

4-0 out of 5 stars widely accessible descriptions
Previously, I'd thought augmented reality was the same as virtual reality. But Bimber corrects this oversight. Augmented reality has to do with physical devices that contribute to the perception of a real world scene. Whereas virtual reality discussions can, and often do, revolve entirely around purely geometric constructs implemented entirely in software.

So much of this book centres on display hardware. What types of displays are currently available that can augment your vision. Some are handheld, some are worn [i.e. heads up display], and some are for the tabletop. The HUDs are a disappointment, though this is a critique of the current technology and not of the text. The biggest hinderances to wider HUD usage are the weight and the power supply. Of course, the latter also restricts so much of other mobile devices.

There is also a light discussion about the maths involved in geometrical optics, so that you can make sense of some of the later passages in the book. Optics is also covered, but not at the level of Maxwell's Equations. Instead, it suffices to keep to the simpler level about Snell's Law and the like.

As expected in a book of this nature, there are colour plates showing typical output of various displays. Nice add-on that contributes to the relevance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent comprehensive book on an emerging technology
Augmented Reality is different from Virtual Reality in that part of the scene is "real" and part of the scene is computer generated. In Virtual Reality, the entire experience is computer generated. This is one of the very few helpful books on augmented reality that is not so academic and terse that it can only be understood by an optics specialist or a designer of specialized hardware.
Chapter one is simply an overview of the entire book. Chapter two is a brief overview of geometric optics that is intertwined with an explanation of how light and optics are used to form pixel images. It would help if the reader already had a knowledge of geometric optics along the lines of what is generally offered in college freshman physics. Chapter three then examines what is state-of-the-art in display technology for augmented reality systems. This is followed with geometric modeling concepts that show equations for stereo vision, interactive rendering, camera calibration, etc. that are necessary for placing the computer generated image in the realistic scene. Equations and instructive diagrams are shown throughout the book so that the reader can write his own code to produce the necessary computer graphics. The notation is clear and easy to follow. Also, snippets of OpenGL code are shown for quite a few of the algorithms. The reader should already be familiar with computer graphics algorithms and with OpenGL, as little time is spent in basic instruction on these subjects. The best and most unique parts of the book are the sections on holograms and on the simulation of motion.
In summary, I would highly recommend this book especially for those interested in the programming, algorithms,and geometric optics involved in augmented reality system design. I also suggest "Real-Time Rendering" by Tomas Moller for further reading, since that book contains algorithms that are essential to augmented reality systems. ... Read more

5. Understanding Virtual Reality: Interface, Application, and Design (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Graphics)
by William R. Sherman, Alan Craig
Hardcover: 608 Pages (2002)
list price: US$106.00 -- used & new: US$54.98
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Asin: 1558603530
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Understanding Virtual Reality arrives at a time when the technologies behind virtual reality have advanced to the point that it is possible to develop and deploy meaningful, productive virtual reality applications. The aim of this thorough, accessible exploration is to help you take advantage of this moment, equipping you with the understanding needed to identify and prepare for ways VR can be used in your field, whatever your field may be.

By approaching VR as a communications medium, the authors have created a resource that will remain relevant even as the underlying technologies evolve.You get a history of VR, along with a good look at systems currently in use. However, the focus remains squarely on the application of VR and the many issues that arise in the application design and implementation, including hardware requirements, system integration, interaction techniques, and usability.This book also counters both exaggerated claims for VR and the view that would reduce it to entertainment, citing dozens of real-world examples from many different fields and presenting (in a series of appendices) four in-depth application case studies.

* Substantive, illuminating coverage designed for technical and business readers and well-suited to the classroom.
* Examines VR's constituent technologies, drawn from visualization, representation, graphics, human-computer interaction, and other fields, and explains how they are being united in cohesive VR systems.
* Via a companion Web site, provides additional case studies, tutorials, instructional materials, and a link to an open-source VR programming system. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tom DeFanti's review
Understanding Virtual Reality" is the definitive, authoritative, and exhausive exploration of the field by two insiders and practioners, Sherman and Craig.Virtual reality, a uniquely viewer-centric, large field-of-view, dynamic display technology has evolved over the past decade in many physical formats, driven by many software applications using a variety of operating systems, computers, and specialized libraries.Sherman and Craig capture them all in this substantial volume.

Most writing about virtual reality involves summarizing and interpreting interviews and demos, with massive doses of the speculative and the spectacular, and lots of historical fuzziness.Sherman and Craig, however, lived in the world of actual VR production at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where corporate researchers, educators, scientists, and artists make use of this technology in their daily work.They have personally suffered with VR tech and benefited greatly from access to it as well as to amazing amounts of computing, engineering, and scientific talent.They were held to real deadlines of corporate contracts, scientific conference demonstrations, and the design of IMAX productions.While they were doing all this, they were also writing this book.As a result, "Understanding Virtual Reality" has the integrity and feel of a long-term, eyewitness account and a personal journal, because these production-oriented researchers were documenting the times contemporaneously, rather than trying to reconstruct the details years later.

I know all this because I was their group leader for a couple of years in the mid-90's at NCSA, and their colleague in VR the years before and after. I co-invented the CAVE hardware, among other things, with Dan Sandin at the University of Illinois at Chicago, in 1991.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on VR
I picked this text for my virtual reality course here at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory and found it to be an excellent, well written, comprehensive introduction to the field.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent text for Undergrad class
I received this book shortly after it was published.Since then it has served well as a reference for my students working in my VR research group, as well as being very enlightening for me as well.
I will be teaching a course on VR the next two spring semesters at Valparaiso University, and will be using this text.
The book does a great job of spanning the current VR technology out there, as well as addressing issues for development.I'd recommend it for VR researchers, as well as those teaching VR at the undergrad or grad level.

5-0 out of 5 stars VR in the hand
It is interesting this book, since gives a complete visualization of the current virtual reality. In form didactics it travels all the fields of the VR, not serving alone for a neophyte, also for somebody that the VR knows. Very good book
Hugo Neira S ... Read more

6. Exodus to the Virtual World: How Online Fun Is Changing Reality
by Edward Castronova
Paperback: 256 Pages (2008-11-11)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$6.85
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Asin: 0230607853
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Virtual worlds have exploded out of online game culture and now capture the attention of millions of ordinary people: husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, workers, retirees. Devoting dozens of hours each week to massively multiplayer virtual reality environments (like World of Warcraft and Second Life), these millions are the start of an exodus into the refuge of fantasy, where they experience life under a new social, political, and economic order built around fun. Given the choice between a fantasy world and the real world, how many of us would choose reality? Exodus to the Virtual World explains the growing migration into virtual reality, and how it will change the way we live--both in fantasy worlds and in the real one.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars NOT TWHAT I EXPECTED

2-0 out of 5 stars nice inside view of game design, that's about it
This is a thought provoking book with an excellent tour of what goes on in the game design world. But let your own thoughts occur without being led by those of the author. In that way the read will be productive.

The title is an accurate prediction but not a good indication of the content. I think increasing numbers will get involved in virtual reality for the fun and psychological rewards it brings, but they will do it for escape to a kind of pure and controlled environment, something the physical world can never be.

Having been a character in World of Warcraft, a game I played with dedication for 9 months, I opened this book with anticipation.

But the central premise that the fun to be had in the virtual world will bring demands for the real world to be more fun is more than a bit wacky. I get the impression that the author wanted to make some kind of broad statement in defense of virtual reality and settled on the transfer of fun.

The real world is full of entertainment and fun already. Neil Postman wrote a book called Amusing Ourselves to Death that questioned it. That was a far better thought out book than this one.

Castronova wants us to believe that the politics that work to make an online game can be transferred to real life but there are differences that make this all but impossible. For one thing, the risks in real life are real. You don't get to die and come back to life, you don't get an infinite number of tries to achieve a goal. The real environment is not magically regenerative so that once you have taken something another copy appears to be taken by others. There is no infinite supply of anything here on Terra Firma.

Throughout the book, I kept wondering if he had read Brave New World, a dire warning of a world where pleasure for the masses has been achieved while the whole thing is watched over and directed by hidden managers. Castronova implies that it would be a good thing for virtual world game designers to step into positions of authority. Aldous Huxley is turning in his grave.

The book increases in silliness, reaching a peak in the fantasy in the epilogue of a Senator logging in to World of Warcraft.

But Castronova's effort is not a waste of time. Read it for enlightenment about how and why game worlds work as they do...and they do work very well.

4-0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking speculative discussion
In Exodus to the Virtual World, Dr. Edward Castronova explores a possible future wherein participation in virtual worlds and MMOs becomes so widespread that major social effects are felt here in the real world. He suggests that as more people spend more time in virtual worlds, they will come to expect the real world to provide many of the conveniences of those virtual worlds: more fairness, more opportunity, more fun. This, he theorizes, will lead to a conflict over attention between the real and the virtual, with the real world being forced to adopt social policies inspired by game design.

The author frequently suggests that game designers may be better-equipped than most to handle the social policy issues of the 21st century and beyond. As a game designer, I found this rather gratifying, though I remain skeptical whether it's actually true. However, the parallels he draws between social policy design and virtual world design are compelling, and many of the mechanics we find today in virtual worlds and MMOs are in fact elegant solutions to social issues that have yet to even be well-addressed in the real world.

This book is primarily a speculative, futurist work. Many of the author's claims go largely unsubstantiated precisely for that reason: they're speculations into one possible future. I had no problem with this, and the author makes it clear up front what type of book this is. You just have to come into it with the right mindset. That said, he does frequently reference verifiable present-day facts in order to establish trends which inform his projections, making them more educated predictions than wild guesses.

My only major complaint with the book is that, as the author has extrapolated the present state of virtual worlds and MMOs into a vision of future society, he's undertaken significant cognitive effort to evolve the social side of things, and spent almost no effort on the evolution of the virtual worlds and MMOs themselves. In effect, there seems to be an unstated assumption throughout the book that the design of virtual worlds and MMOs will remain largely static, and that the only variable will be the percentage of the population participating in them. But if the relatively brief history of video games shows us anything, it's that we can expect meteoric paradigm shifts in games around every 5-10 years. Relevant examples include the introduction of the first text-based MUD, the first graphical MUD, and the original Everquest. Why should we not expect similar paradigm shifts to dramatically alter the landscape of virtual worlds and MMOs in the next 5, 10, 20, even 50 years? And of course, these paradigm shifts will affect how users participate in those worlds, which will in turn affect their expectations of the real world in accordance with the author's theory.

Nevertheless, Exodus to the Virtual World comes well-recommended. It's a thought-provoking read for game designers and players alike, and I'm willing to bet some politicans could learn a thing or two from it as well. ;)

4-0 out of 5 stars Attention migration
The central theme of Exodus is the concept of "attention migration". That is: that more and more people choose to immerse themselves in synthetic worlds (Castronova's word instead of "virtual worlds") - MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games), like Second Life and World of Warcraft. Today they have at least 16 million registered users, and the number is increasing quickly. Also, some of these synthetic worlds function like alternate societies withtheir own norms of conduct, citizenships, economies, codes and policies and so on. In a information society where attention is central, the increasing attention spent on synthetic worlds will (according to Castronova) create a "atmospeheric event"...
Castronova writes well and he discusses this social phenomenon and it's probable future impact in an interesting way. Though at times I think the discussion becomes a little repetitive, and I can't totally agree that "real" societies will have to become more "fun" and gamelike to compete with the synthetic counterparts. But it is a fascinating thought.

3-0 out of 5 stars Misleading title for an interesting book
This book was not what I expected. It is primarily a reflection on lessons learned through development of digital games that could be applied to real life. The author doesn't seem to have any expectation that they will be applied exactly as described and doesn't address the myriad details that would need to be dealt with for that to happen, but the whole concept provides a lot of interesting food for thought.

For example, two general themes that cut through a lot of the lessons are the importance of fun and the idea that people's experiences playing digital games are likely to influence their expectations for how things should work back in the "real world" outside of games. So if the book had been called something like "Real Life Lessons from Digital Games," it would have delivered well on the expectations set by the title.

As it was, I found the title misleading for a couple of reasons. First, while the title refers to "Virtual Worlds" most of the lessons relate specifically to game-based virtual environments. Social worlds such as Second Life are discussed, but the author specifically acknowledges the fact that these are quite different from game-based environments which have clearly defined goals, roles, rules, rewards, etc. Therefore, if your interest relates more to open-ended worlds, such as Second Life, that are used for a variety of purposes and are not focussed on a single unified game, then there may be less in this book for you than you would guess from the title.

Second, the Exodus part of the title made me think that the book would talk more about what will happen within virtual worlds when more of us spend more time in them (e.g., How will it change the ways we work, play, communicate, consume, etc? What are the legal and political implications since so many more of our interactions will involve people from other countries?), but as stated previously the book is more about how interacting within virtual environments will change our expectations for interactions outside of those environments. Related to this is the idea - which seems to stem in part from the games versus more multi-faceted worlds distinction made previously - that we will at any one time be in either the virtual world or the real world and not both simultaneously (at least in terms of our attention). My own belief is that over time virtual worlds will become integrated with the other parts of our lives just as the Web is now, but that type of integration is only discussed briefly in the book.
... Read more

7. Narrative as Virtual Reality: Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society)
by Marie-Laure Ryan
Paperback: 416 Pages (2003-10-03)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$23.21
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Asin: 0801877539
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Is there a significant difference in attitude between immersion in a game andimmersion in a movie or novel? What are the new possibilities for representation offered by theemerging technology of virtual reality? As Marie-Laure Ryan demonstrates in Narrative asVirtual Reality, the questions raised by new, interactive technologies have their precursorsand echoes in pre-electronic literary and artistic traditions. Formerly a culture of immersiveideals--getting lost in a good book, for example--we are becoming, Ryan claims, a culture moreconcerned with interactivity. Approaching the idea of virtual reality as a metaphor for total art,Narrative as Virtual Reality applies the concepts of immersion and interactivity todevelop a phenomenology of reading.

Ryan's analysis encompasses both traditional literary narratives and the new textual genres madepossible by the electronic revolution of the past few years, such as hypertext, interactive moviesand drama, digital installation art, and computer role-playing games. Interspersed among thebook's chapters are several "interludes" that focus exclusively on either key literary texts thatforeshadow what we now call "virtual reality," including those of Baudelaire, Huysmans, Ignatiusde Loyola, Calvino, and science-fiction author Neal Stephenson, or recent efforts to produceinteractive art forms, like the hypertext "novel" Twelve Blue, by Michael Joyce, andI'm Your Man, an interactive movie. As Ryan considers the fate of traditional narrativepatterns in digital culture, she revisits one of the central issues in modern literary theory--theopposition between a presumably passive reading that is taken over by the world a text representsand an active, deconstructive reading that imaginatively participates in the text's creation. ... Read more

8. The Virtual Reality Homebrewer's Handbook
by Robin Hollands
Paperback: 380 Pages (1996-08)
list price: US$115.00 -- used & new: US$47.28
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Asin: 0471958719
Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars
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Virtual Reality/Programming A Little Imagination, The Right Tools, and You Can Have a Virtual World at Your Fingertips… This complete. do-it-yourself kit is a great starting point for exploring virtual worlds of your own design. Taking you through the basic principles of virtual reality [VR] technology, full of useful facts on the components you can buy, crammed with original construction projects and easy-to-use software, this all-in-one handbook is an excellent source of information and ideas for building VR systems simply and inexpensively. Whether looking for new ways to build the hardware, a quick introduction to 3D graphics, or tips for creating more sophisticated worlds, its all here in one package. Youll find:

  • 26 illustrated projects for building the main VR hardware - from head-tracker and head-mounted display to joystick and data glove
  • an extensive survey of the gear you can buy from low-cost hardware to world-building software
  • a concise and readable 3D graphics tutorial
  • tips for enhancing your virtual worlds, covering topics such as terrain mapping and simulation
  • heaps of free software on CD: three complete toolkits [including RVRIL, successor to REND386] and much more, for C and Turbo Pascal programmers
Projects are easy to build using readily available, standard components. Each gives good insight into how the professional systems work and will inspire you to build with confidence on your own experiments and ideas! Robin Hollands is chairman of the UH Virtual Reality Special Interest Group, and a regular Garage VR magazine columnist. Includes CD packed with demos and toolkits: AVRIL, VR386, VROOM, 3D-Ware, WorldToolkit, Virtus Player, RenderWare and much more ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

1-0 out of 5 stars Did not teach me anything useful
This book was written in 1996, and it shows. All the hardware it teaches to use is terribly outdated and may not even exist anymore (the CyberMaxx HMD it teaches you to program is an example). If you believe this book will make you able to build a VR deck to experience in virtual reality every computer game you have... forget it.
The projects in this book are very much like Physics demonstrations at school: cute bute useless ways to teach any concept, and sometimes non-standard terms are intentionally used to generate confusion. For example: a portable TV strapped to your eyes and viewed through a lens is called a "biocular display" and made to look like a homemade version of a real VR helmet; a flimsy thing made of wood that holds a Fresnel lens in front of your screen is called a projector; the "flying joystick" is just a standard 1996 disemboweled joystick, held together with duct tape.

If you want to illude some Lawnmower Man fans, convince them to buy this book. ... Read more

9. Developing Virtual Reality Applications: Foundations of Effective Design
by Alan Craig, William R. Sherman, Jeffrey D. Will
Hardcover: 448 Pages (2009-08-07)
list price: US$89.95 -- used & new: US$60.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0123749433
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Virtual Reality has turned the corner from being a mere laboratory novelty to become a valuable tool with practical applications in many fields. From best-selling VR guru Bill Sherman comes Developing Virtual Reality Applications - a comprehensive compendium that examines over 50 unique and foundational VR applications in Business, Science, Medicine, Education, Spatial Studies, Public Safety, and Entertainment industries. Each chapter contains one or more key applications that are explored in depth, as well as examples of these applications in their most recent form and the most current research being conducted. The book also cross-references techniques between different application areas, synthesizing the data into a coherent whole that describes overall VR trends and fundamental best practices. Such synergy gives you a hands-on guide for developing your own applications, and provides an enhanced, longitudinal view of VR development. By promoting mobility across disciplines, Developing Virtual Reality Applications becomes an indispensable one-stop reference for anyone working in this burgeoning field.

  • Dozens of detailed application descriptions provide practical ideas for VR development in ALL areas of interest

  • Development techniques are cross referenced between different application areas, providing fundamental best practices

  • Includes a media-rich companion website with hours of footage from application demonstrations
... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars qualitative survey; no maths
Virtual Reality is a subdivision of computer graphics and the latter is intensely mathematical. But this book eshews a mathematical bent. Instead it offers a sweeping survey of recent [2008-9] applications of VR. You can easily read this and get a good understanding of where VR is being used. The survey spans both academic and industrial/commercial efforts.

The book is also aided by a heavy use of illustrations, many in colour. Quite appropriate given that we are talking about graphics. The figures greatly help the understanding of the text.

One interesting subtopic is augmented reality. Where typically a user wears a special pair of glasses and walks around the real world. Depending on her location and perhaps orientation, the glasses communicate wirelessly with a GIS-aware database that downloads information to be displayed in an overlay fashion on her vision. ... Read more

10. Virtual Realities (Adventures in Odyssey)
Audio CD: Pages (2000-01-18)
list price: US$24.99 -- used & new: US$15.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1561798479
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Oh no! Dr. Regis Blackgaard is back . . . in the Imagination Station no less! Is anyone in Odyssey safe from his latest scheme? Come along on the adventure and experience the best birthday ever . . . that never ends! Join in the biggest mudfight Odyssey has ever seen, and hear how the adults are planning a year of NO FUN! Along the way, learn lessons about being honest, using time and resources wisely, and helping others. This album is your ticket to adventures in Odyssey--and in your own imagination!

Volume 33 contains the following stories (and themes):

  • Another Man's Shoes (understanding others)
  • Opening Day (God's leading)
  • Blackgaard's Revenge 1 & 2 (recognizing deception)
  • The Buck Starts Here (using resources wisely)
  • Something Cliqued between Us (including others)
  • The Eternal Birthday (too much of a good thing)
  • Bethany's Imaginary Friend (imagination is healthy)
  • The Y.A.K. Problem (worry)
  • Blind Girl's Bluff (honesty)
  • Where There's Smoke (positive role models)
  • The Virtual Kid (enjoying life)
  • You Win Some, You Lose Some (being a good example)
  • The Treasure Room (valuing people)
  • Chain Reaction (consequences of irresponsibility)
... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fantastic!
Album 33 of "Adventures in Odyssey" is one of the best albums available.Addressing such relevant issues as bullying, Peer pressure, deception, and God's will, the Odyssey gang embark upon twelve more enthralling adventures.Of course, the wise John Avery Whittaker is on hand to give advice, but the kids have to learn how to live their own lives.The quirky Jared Dwight, the headstrong Liz, and the sensitive Mandy Strausberg are just a few of the delightful kids.My favorite episodes in this album include:

1. "A Mile in his Shoes." Tormented by the class bully, Jared gets a unique opportunity to see what Brock Peterson really has to endure on a daily basis.This episode is thought-provoking and relatable to me because I endured bullying frequently in my schooldays.
2. "Blackguard's Revenge." An old nemesis is back in a surprising place! Aubrey Shepard, a new girl in town, is seduced and falls into his trap! Can Whit, Connie, and EuGene thwart this villain's diabolical plan? An enthralling adventure about the struggle for a person's soul.Superb acting in this one!
3. "The Buck Starts Here." A retelling of the Parable of the Talents using the kids of Odyssey.
4. "Blind Girl's Bluff." When two girls taunt Aubrey at the mall, Lisa Mulligan, a blind girl, stands up for her.Aubrey wants revenge, and she devises a plan that results in some unexpected consequences.
5. "The YAK Problem." A relevant story about the nature of hysteria, and it reminds the listener of the panic caused by Y2K at the beginning of the millennium.God is in control.
6."You Win Some, you Lose Some." Connie Kindell is a new counselor at the camp at The Timothy Center.Nothing she does seems to work out.Is she cut out for this kind of work?
7. "Chain Reaction." A miniepisode that illustrates how one act can start a chain of related events.Very interesting episode.

All of the episodes in this set are great! Please give it a chance.God bless you.

2-0 out of 5 stars Oh Odyssey, how far you have sunken...
If you're like me, you're buying this album mainly because there is a two-part Blackgaard story (Blackgaard's Revenge) on this album. So my review will mostly focus on this episode.

This, in my humble opinion, is the episode where AIO officially "jumped the shark", so to speak.

The episode begins with a parental warning that the episode may be too intense for younger listeners. They should have also included a warning that the episode may be too stupid, fantastic and just plain ridiculous for anyone with the slightest inkling of common sense and AIO continuity.

First off, the premise itself is the problem. The real Dr. Blackgaard is of course dead, but what comes around for this bout is a "Blackgaard" virus-program that somehow has all his memories and has a sophisticated learning matrix to learn everything else.When did Blackgaard plant this in the Imagination Station? We're told during the time he took over Whit's End, but are we really supposed to believe that he figured out how to figure out how toprogram that sophisticated of a program into the Imagination Station during that short time when he was busy campaigning for mayor and getting the mineral situation squared away? Also, if this program is supposed to be like him, why does it remember things that presumably took place AFTER he would have implanted it? And why would Blackgaard put such a program in the Imagination Station when he was planning on blowing up Whit's End?

But never mind. "Dr. Blackgaard" has appeared for one last go, but it's apparent that any greatness is quickly lost in the atrociously bad dialogue coming out of "Blackgaard's mouth." From his opening line of "I'm back, and I'm not happy..." to his taunt of "Run, chickens! Run!", the episode quickly loses steam.

Then, as the second part begins, something called THICK AND OVERUSED SYMBOLISM begins to hit the viewer over the head. Do you think Blackgaard represents Satan? Do you think Whit symbolizes Jesus? Do you think Aubrey represents man? Do you think Whit will sacrifice his life to save Aubrey and then come back to life? If you know all the answers to these questions before you hear the rest of the story, congratulations. You have both intelligence and common sense.

What makes this worse is that the resurrection scene is VERY anticlimactic. Without giving too much away, Whit's method of resolving the conflict is cheap compared to what Jack Allen did so well in "The Final Conflict" (the true ending to the Blackgaard saga, by the way).

Speaking of schemes, Dr. Blackgaard's scheme in this episode makes no sense. Without revealing too much, he has a scheme to attain eternal life that doesn't really give him eternal life in the strict Christian sense of the word. I would have liked to see this been expanded on more.

The rest of the album is full of stories that are okay, but mostly subpar to the peak that AIO reached in years past. Fans of the show will also note that a couple of these episodes are consist of two ten-minute episodes. The format is disastrous and was quickly abandoned. The only two stories that come close to being anything great are "Opening Day" (which introduces one of the best new characters: A non-believer named Aubrey Andromeda) and "Chain Reaction" (written by Marshall Younger, one of the more experienced AIO writers), but that's it."Virtual Realities" is just another sign that the "new" AIO episodes just don't cut it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Blackgaard is back???
Oh no!  Dr. Regis Blackgaard is back...in the Imagination Station no less!  Is anyone in Odyssey safe from his latest scheme?  Come along on the adventure and experience the best birthday ever...that never ends!  Join in the biggest mud fight Odyssey has ever seen and hear how the adults are planning a year of NO FUN!  Along the way, learn lessons about being honest, using time and resources wisely and helping others.  This album is your ticket to 14 different adventures in Odyssey - and in your own imagination.


1. Another Man's Shoes (Theme: Understanding others)
2. Opening Day (Theme: God's leading)
3-4. BLACKGAARD'S REVENGE (PARTS 1 & 2)  (Theme: Recognizing deception).
5. The Buck Starts Here! (Using resources wisely).
6. The Eternal Birthday (Theme: Too much of a good Thing) Aubrey wishes that her birthday would last forever...or does she?
7. Bethany's Imaginary Friend (Theme: Imagination is healthy) Aubrey has an imaginary friend and it's driving Bethany nuts.
8. The Y.A.K. Problem (Theme: Worry).
9. Blind Girl's Bluff (Theme: Honesty).
10. Where There's Smoke (Theme: Positive Role Models).
11. The Virtual Kid ( Theme: Enjoying Life).
12.  You Win Some, You Lose Some (Theme: Being a good example)
13.  The Treasure Room (Theme: Valuing people)
14.  Chain Reaction  (Theme: Consequences of irresponsibility).

REVIEW: You may notice how there are more episodes in this volume.  Basically, in the third CD...instead of one full 20 minute story, there are two 10 minute episodes.  This volume introduces a new family and sisters, Bethany and Aubrey.  Although Blackgaard returns, I read that AIO wants to go back to providing stories that weren't as serious in previous years and to go back to stories concentrating on the kids.  Either way, I'm sure the stories will be excellent and this one is pretty good as well.  Blackgaard stories are pretty popular because of the good vs. evil storyline and how Witt and friends always are triumphant.  These storylines are pretty good and I enjoyed the whole CD. ... Read more

11. Digital Sensations: Space, Identity, and Embodiment in Virtual Reality
by Ken Hillis
Paperback: 316 Pages (1999-09-15)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0816632510
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A dazzling study of virtual reality
With virtual reality (VR) -- or at least the promise of it -- fast becoming a fixture in the public imagination, books like this are vitally important in shaping how we think about, make use of, and create futuretechnologies of representation. Drawing from a remarkable breadth ofcultural, technical, and philosophical thought, Ken Hillis's DigitalSensations remains direct and accessible as it deftly weaves togethertheory, insight, and imagination to understand VR as a technology withspecific cultural and historical origins (origins that go farther back thancomputers, TV, even the telephone and telegraph). Hillis makes apassionate, convincing case that these roots influence the way VR iscurrently used (in everything from military simulations to avant-garde artinstallations) and, perhaps more important, how it is publicly perceived:as a utopian, anything-is-possible means of escaping our bodies and themateriality of our lives to achieve a kind of electronic nirvana.Recognizing this as a commercial and ideological vision, Digital Sensationspositions itself in one sense as an antidote to that hype, calling ourattention both to the far-fetched claims of VR visionaries and to theethical implications of a technology that depends for its effects on acunning substitution of illusion for place. Yet the book is not abringdown; if anything, Hillis helps us think rigorously about theimplications and potential of VR, counterbalancing the simplistic,domesticated perspective that characterizes VR simply as a new form ofmindless entertainment, virtual singles bar, or faster way of commuting tothe electronic office. In chapters on contemporary theory as well ashistories of optics and vision, Hillis scrutinizes each component of VR(space, place, body, identity, embodiment, language, and metaphor) callingfor a careful consideration of what the desire for a "leap intocyberspace" might mean politically for those who go -- and those whoare left behind. ... Read more

12. Virtual Realities and Their Discontents
Paperback: 176 Pages (1995-11-01)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$0.79
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Asin: 0801852269
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The recognition that cyberspace is a fiction -- a narrative that creates a coherence it would like to imagine "really" exists -- is crucial to any theoretically sophisticated critique of the limitations of this consensual hallucination and the discontents it imperfectly masks. In this groundbreaking volume Robert Markley and his co-authors set out to discover why "cyberspace provokes often-rapturous rhetoric but resists critical analysis."

Taking a variety of approaches, the authors explore the ways in which virtual realities conserve and incorporate rather than overthrow the assumptions and values of a traditional, logocentric humanism: the Platonist division of the world into the physical and metaphysical in which ideal forms are valued over material content. Cyberspace, David Porush suggests, represents not a break with our metaphysical past but an extension of its basic theistic postulates. Richard Grusin argues that the claims for new forms of electronic communication depend upon the very notions of authorship -- and subjectivity -- they claim to transcend. N. Katherine Hayles examines debates about cybernetics in the 1950s to demonstrate that the history of mind-body ideas in the age of computers and feedback loops is itself conflicted. David Brande analyzes cyberspace as an extension of the logic of late twentieth-century capitalism. And Robert Markley explores the entangled roots of cyberspace in the philosophy of mathematics.

"One of the ironies of our culture's fascination with cyberspace is that our material and psychic investments in Virtual Reality suggest that the death of print culture -- or its disappearance into the matrix -- has been greatly exaggerated.... Cyberspace is unthinkable, literally inconceivable, without the print culture it claims to transcend. It is, in part, a by-product of a tradition of metaphysics that, boats against the current, bears us back relentlessly to our past." -- Robert Markley, from the introduction

... Read more

13. Stepping into Virtual Reality
by Mario Gutierrez, F. Vexo, Daniel Thalmann
Paperback: 214 Pages (2008-04-04)
list price: US$89.95 -- used & new: US$48.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1848001169
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Virtual reality techniques are increasingly becoming indispensible in many areas including medicine, entertainment, architecture, education and manufacturing, with VR tools being used for testing and prototyping products at design stages, as well as for creating applications in finished products. This book looks at how to generate advanced virtual reality worlds. It covers principles, techniques, devices and mathematical foundations, beginning with basic definitions, and then moving on to the latest results from current research and exploring the social implications of these.

Very practical in its approach, the book is fully illustrated in colour and contains numerous examples, exercises and case studies. Careful reading of this textbook will allow students and practitioners alike to gain a practical understanding of virtual reality concepts, devices and possible applications.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Read!
This is not a college text book of virtual reality (VR) but a short introduction to the topic for beginners. It provides a good overview of VR by presenting a general system architecture for VR systems, virtual human-object interaction in virtual worlds (e.g. distributed virtual environments) and VR hardwares. In addition, fundamentals of computer graphics and animation are useful for understanding VR systems. There are interesting applications such as virtual surgery and telerehabilitation systems. It is possible to visit cultural heritage sites in their former glory and walk through them interactively with augumented reality technologies. By the way, the illustrations are in colour! ... Read more

14. Maya: The World as Virtual Reality
by Richard L. Thompson
Paperback: 304 Pages (2003-05-23)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$39.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0963530909
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In the world of modern science, consciousness is reduced to a fading epiphenomenon, left over after the brain has been physically explained. It seems to arise when matter is suitably organized, but scientists and philosophers have been unable to explain why complex organization should produce anything beyond complex physical behavior. Yet consciousness won't go away.

One possibility is that, instead of being produced by matter, consciousness is a separate element, added to physical systems. This can be modeled using the idea of a virtual reality, in which a human subject enters a computer-simulated world through a sensory interface. In this book, virtual reality is used as a metaphor for our situation as conscious beings. The basic theme is that what we can imagine doing in a virtual reality system may actually be happening in nature on a vastly greater scale. Nature may be like a computer simulation interfaced with conscious observer/participants.

This groundbreaking book shows how conscious beings could interact with a physically realistic virtual world. It shows how paranormal phenomena can be reconciled in a natural way with the laws of physics, and it sheds light on paradoxes of time, on life beyond the body, and on cosmic and terrestrial evolution. In a sweeping synthesis, the ideas and data of modern science are used to illuminate the ancient theme of consciousness in a world of illusion. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brings Science and Religion Together
This is a great book. As you can tell from the cover blurb, this book uses Virtual Reality as a metaphorical device to explain consciousness. Brings together threads that relate to the ideas of Michael Talbot (holographic universe), Rupert Sheldrake (concept of morphic resonance), and many other "real" scientists, as well as the Scientific and Religious principals of Srila Prabhupada.

The book is well written and non-biased in my opinion. Many of the scientific concepts that relate to our current understanding of consciousness are well and fairly explained, in a "nutshell" in my (lay person's) opinion. The author doesn't have an axe to grind, which makes the book a bit dry at times, but still a rewarding read.

The only slight criticism I would have is that the end -- where some of the Vedic Religious principals that essentially describe the Spirit-Soul and God are discussed -- is presented as a somewhat abrupt conclusion to the preceding chapters of the book.

All in all, however, this is an excellent book. Mr. Thompson walks a razor's edge in bringing together Science/Religion and God, and he does it successfully. This book will age well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing, profound and eye-opening
Richard Thompson has done a wonderful job in this book, delving into all kinds of topics, from Deterministic Chaos, Turing Machines, Relativity, Quantum Mechanics to all kinds of psychic and paranormal phenomena while maintaining the overall theme of the book - exploring the possibility that the world we live in may not be the real world. I won't be surprised if 100 years from now, Richard Thompson is hailed as a scientist at par with Einstein, though I feel his insights are better than what Einstein had - after all, even Einstein was wrong some times. But Richard Thompson seems to raise points which no sane scientist can refuse. It is a pity he is not yet recognized for his outstanding writings. ... Read more

15. Virtual Reality
by Joey W. Hill
Paperback: 240 Pages (2005-06-01)
list price: US$12.99 -- used & new: US$8.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 141995184X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Mark is a reclusive Dominant who confines his sexual interests strictly to the online world. On his routine afternoon ferry ride, he meets a woman who rouses the Master in him, and the line snaps between the virtual and real worlds. She begs for him to take her over, and bring them both fulfillment and healing. He wants to refuse her but he finds himself agreeing to spend one day with her. It is a mistake, because the anger he holds inside is fully capable of destroying a soul as rare and beautiful as Nicole's. But no Master, not even one as strong and disciplined as Mark, can resist the offer of a submissive who wants only one thing-to be his forever. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Southern Gothic Romance. ;)

Joey Hill is a brilliant, inspiring writer who spends her time in the BDSM realm, and makes for a wonderful introduction to the philosophy and aesthetic of that realm...even if she's a bit intense for the beginner.

What's clear from reading this story (and an number of her other stories) is there is a bloke in particular she has a fixation with...a bloke it would be interesting to meet in real life. A bloke one gets a glimpse of a particular manifestation of in this work. He's reflected in other of her works but the manifestations are slightly different and no less enjoyable.

I have yet to read a story of hers in which the leading man and leading lady are not in some way broken, and this story is no exception. Our leading man has been royally screwed over by his ex-wife (and so-called friends) and has retreated to dealing with the opposite sex in the virtual crucible of Internet chatrooms. The leading lady is rediscovering herself after the death of her husband and has decided to grab the brass ring in her pursuit of the leading man.

I didn't fall in love with the leading man, as he lacked the intensity of personality which appeals to me, but I couldn't help but cheer Nicole on as she took a brazing torch to his icy exterior and managed to free her prize.

Money well spent. Wasn't disappointed at all.

4-0 out of 5 stars Intriguing personalities!
I love this author, and have resolved to read everything that she has written.This story, like all of her others, involves a BDSM lifestyle, but like all her stories, it is the characters and their problems that are at the root of the story.

In this story, a troubled engineer and a shy, missish- woman, both overcome their inhibitions to find happiness as a couple.They meet online.The engineer is a sexual dominant but also someone with a troubled past, a past that doesn't allow him to trust very well.The 'shy kitten', the woman that he meets online is someone who he helps, at first, gain confidence in herself as awoman.He makes her change her hair, and wear more feminine clothes, all things that make her feel more confident and aware of hereself as a woman.She finally gathers the courage to seek him out and confront him in person.She takes the risk to explore what it takes to make their relationship real.

Like others of this author's works, this is a very moving story about two troubled people who help each other find fulfillment.I"m not sure why I ddin't give it 5 stars.Probably because I wasn't compelled to read it over again just after putting it down, as I have been with some of her other books. IT is very well done, though

5-0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put it down!
This is only the second Joey W. Hill novel that I have read and I was not disappointed. After Natural Law, I went looking for more Hill books. I was a little skeptical about Virtual Reality but when I started reading, I had to read cover to cover! Hill knows how to capture the inner struggles of men. Hey, I like a big, tough man as much as the next girl; but Hill portrays the way a woman touches a man emotionally, under all of his usual strength and suggested passiveness, past the "I just wanna have sex" attitude, and straight to their need to connect beyond sex. So far, the two books I have read by Joey W. Hill have given me goosebumps and I on my way to get another one now!

3-0 out of 5 stars Joey Hill is a treasure
but this is not her best book.I liked it,but wasn't passionate about it.It was something about the hero being so bruised in his former relationship and lacking affection/warmth in this one.He was dominant sexually but not open emotionally and so while he felt like a real person - I think there are probably a lot of male doms out there like him - I didn't warm to him.I guess part of you always wants to fall in love with the hero.I didn't here,so it's only 3 stars,but Joey Hill is an excellent writer and her misses are better than many people's hits.

5-0 out of 5 stars An erotic love story to touch your heart
Joey Hill has an incredible gift for telling the heartwrenching story of dmaged souls who find redemption through their love. For Mark and Nicole this means making an unrestricted commitment to each other., Nicole finds this much easier, although she is the shy partner in the relationship. Mark has lost his ability to trust. At all. To read how Nicole convinces himself of what they can have together, how he tests her, pushes her, until he realizes what a gift she is to him, is a wonderful journey. As with the Ice Queen/Mirror of My Soul combination, I dare the reader to finish this story with dry eyes. Do not miss this novel. It's a Must Buy. ... Read more

16. Virtual Reality Specialist (Cool Careers)
by Kelly Milner Halls
Library Binding: 32 Pages (2009-07-15)
list price: US$27.07 -- used & new: US$16.63
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1602795037
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17. Designing Virtual Reality Systems: The Structured Approach
by Gerard Kim
Paperback: 233 Pages (2005-08-03)
list price: US$109.00 -- used & new: US$63.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1852339586
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Developing and maintaining a VR system is a very difficult task, requiring in-depth knowledge in many disciplines. The difficulty lies in the complexity of having to simultaneously consider many system goals, some of which are conflicting.

This book is organized so that it follows a spiral development process for each stage, describing the problem and possible solutions for each stage. Much more hands-on than other introductory books, concrete examples and practical solutions to the technical challenges in building a VR system are provided.

Part 1 covers the very basics in building a VR system and explains various technical issues in object modeling and scene organization. Part 2 deals with 3D multimodal interaction, designing for usable and natural interaction and creating realistic object simulation. Primarily written for first level graduates, advanced undergraduates and IT professionals will also find this a valuable guide.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very accessible introduction to virtual reality systems
This text does not pertain to any new research in the field of virtual reality or virtual environments. Instead, it is meant to be a modern introduction (post VRML) to students new to VR on what building blocks are required to produce a virtual reality system. I review the book in the context of its table of contents:

Chapter 1 "Introduction: Virtual Reality in a Nutshell" is just a broad overview of the field and of this book. It discusses the goals and applications of VR, and also discusses what it considers to be the two pillars of VR: presence and 3D multimodal interaction.

Chapter 2 "Requirements Engineering and Storyboarding" discusses VR from the standpoint of a concrete example: a ship simulator design.

Chapter 3 "Object and Scene Modeling" discusses object modeling, scene construction, object placement, multiple frames of reference, re-expressing coordinate systems, and both functional and behavioral modeling. All of this is done from the standpoint of the ship simulator design that was introduced in chapter two. There is quite a bit about graphics concepts in this chapter.

Chapter 4 "Putting it All Together" pulls together the concepts from chapters 2 and 3 into a system design philosophy, again from the standpoint of the concrete example of the ship simulator design.

Chapter 5 "Performance Estimation and System Tuning" is somewhat mislabeled in my opinion. This chapter discusses some advanced graphics concepts such as tuning with level-of-detail models, presence and special effects, and use of images and texturing.

Chapter 6 "Output Display" is about human optical perception as well as available display hardware. First the human visual system is briefly discussed along with human depth perception and stereoscopy. Next visual display systems are discussed along with haptics - the science of applying touch sensation and control to interaction with computer applications.

Chapter 7 "Sensors and Input Processing" discusses trackers, event generators, and sensor errors and calibration.

Chapter 8 "3D Multimodal Interaction Design" is about fusing symbolic and statistical information from a set of 3D gesture, spoken language, and referential agents. In particular, a structured approach is presented, along with ideas on interfacing, and finally some case studies. Among the case studies are the previously mentioned ship simulator along with immersive authoring, tabletop computing, menu selection and invocation, and whole-body interaction.

Next, there are two short chapters on simulation.
Chapter 9 discusses the basics of collision detection, starting with collision detection of line segments, then moving on to collision among polygonal models, building a bounding volume, and finally collision among bounding volumes.

Chapter 10 introduces physics based motion and collision response. Among the topics mentioned are center of gravity, moment of inertia, linear and rotational kinematics, laws of motion, dynamics, collision response, and deformation. There are quite a few equations shown in this chapter, and although this is just meant as an introduction the material is quite useful.

Chapter 11 "Virtual Characters" is the final chapter and touches on a rather advanced subject. The form of such a character, motion control, and inverse and forward kinematics of such a character are discussed.

Although this is a short book - roughly 230 pages total - it is very useful in that it does not wander through its topics in an academic way, but takes a systems engineering and mathematical approach to building virtual worlds. The use of the ship simulator is very enlightening and binds the book together into a very cohesive and useful volume. The block diagrams and pseudocode are also very helpful. You are going to need other books to build a complete virtual world, but this is an outstanding modern outline of everything that you need to consider. I highly recommend this book as an introductory text to any student wishing to learn the practical issues behind building a virtual reality system.

4-0 out of 5 stars introduces the field
It is nice to see what the status of virtual reality work is these days. About 10 years ago, VRML was all the rage. But that died in the dot com implosion. In part because of the lack of computational and bandwidth ability.

Now the technology has progressed much further, and Kim shows us interesting new possibilities. The book does not really go that far in research, however. It's more of a first text in the field, for a graduate or undergraduate level course. The material discusses both hardware and software. This field is like robotics, where hardware must always be considered.

The so-called structured approach of the title can simply be understood as maintaining a good three dimensional model, that stays consistent as objects move around. Well, ok, the text has more to the structured approach than this, but to me, that's the main idea.

If you are indeed a student of VR, perhaps the book will help you take us further into the field. ... Read more

18. The End of Hardware, 3rd Edition: Augmented Reality and Beyond
by Rolf R. Hainich
Paperback: 416 Pages (2009-04-27)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$25.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 143923602X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Drag those windows from your screen and into the air in front of you. Use a simple glance to switch lights, open doors or surf the web. Virtual devices, virtual objects will surround us, anywhere. Only one piece of real hardware will do it all, replace anything. From concept to design to even a fiction part, "this book is a blueprint for an entire technology". The new edition has been greatly extended, with many new ideas and materials. From the foreword by Oliver Bimber: "Despite a technological focus, the book is written in a popular-scientific style - and therefore allows easy access to the material - even for non-experts.If I were to characterize this book in a single word, that word would be 'inspiring'. I can only hope that one day, someone will pick up and realize these ideas. For although, this might not be the 'End of Hardware' - it could well be the beginning of many new and exciting interfaces to the digital world in which we all live in.". ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

1-0 out of 5 stars Wishful thinking
Not an especially good book. Not badly written. But little reality comes back in the book.

The front cover is just ghastly as is the table of contents. An introduction comprising 100 pages. It is badly organized and comes across as pseudoscience.. Other than that it is ok. I hope someone some day will write a proper book on Augmented Reality.

That said. It does give a good overview of techniques that might be useful for Augmented Reality. But after a while the would, should, could get's old. And you just want a practical example.

3-0 out of 5 stars Some pages missing
Hello, I bought the third edition last month, and I've discovered that my book doesn't have the pages number 209 to 212. I don't know if it's a generalized problem.
Otherwise, the book itself is interesting although it has a few language errors that even me, a non english speaker, can detect.

Greetings from Spain

5-0 out of 5 stars end of hardware book review
This was an eye opening book.Essentially it talks about the not so distant future of human / computer interfaces.If you can imagine a hardware delivery system that doesn't feel like a computer but is so natural to use it is just with you.This book describes the coming time when these kind of displays and technology will make life with machines much more natural.Essentially doing away with the klunky interfaces of today into a much more wearable computer technology that becomes part of who we are.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Augmented reality could be many things today. This book is based on the original idea - portable, ubiquitous computing with but a single user interface, minimized to the absolutely necessary adaptation to the human senses - and it's probably the most complete book ever written about it.
Does it really make sense that we're filling our rooms with more and more electronic gimmicks and gadgets, including boulders like TVs and PCs, obsolete and junked every 2 years ? - Read this book, and you'll definitely know it doesn't.
The author gives a thrilling survey of new ideas and solutions, all written in a very concrete and readable style, richly illustrated, understandable to almost anyone - which is mandatory, as it really concerns anyone. It's about the future of information technology, from right now on through the next decades at least, about what to expect and for what to prepare.
This doesn't get speculative at all, the author frankly explains and calculates realistic options technology will offer, explains all these new applications that will change our lives.
After an extensive introduction comes a fiction part, illustrating the impact on everyone's everyday life, then a design part handling all aspects of implementation including many new approaches, and finally there's a part about the future of media, especially regarding all the new capabilities calling for three dimensional productions. Some holographic techniques are introduced, for example, that I've never heard about anywhere else.
Don't expect extensive mathematics or even program code however. This is not a textbook (which wouldn't make sense anyway, because it touches so many different disciplines).
There are more issues of course, concerning such a technology that doesn't stop at the user interface at all. Ubiquitous computing raises essential questions. The author shows that computers will more and more become sort of mind extensions, so computer privacy is already getting exceedingly important.
Bottom line: This book is groundbreaking, very relevant, and a must for anyone interested or involved in modern technology.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply essential to read!
This is not one of the usual popular science books - this is the blueprint for an entire technology.
The author manages to address both interested 'laymen' and technology experts. The design part makes up half of the book and may be more demanding to read, but even here he explains everything as simply as possible, with many pictures and without requiring any math.

This book doesn't just bother a lot with the state of the art, it goes straight ahead to new shores and explores the tools to get on. Several ideas are most probably entirely new. So the expert will profit a lot from this lecture as well.

One core thematic are displays, a problem simply taken as incurable by many other publications in this field. Without the clear proof that those ultra light, ultra versatile display glasses are actually feasible, the approach wouldn't work, so here it comes. An entire bunch of other technologies belonging to the complete thematic are discussed as well. Many more aspects of the case are addressed, everyday applications are treated extensively, the impact on media, security aspects, anything.
A complete table of contents and the introduction can be found at the book's site theendofhardware.com.

One may object if everything discussed here will really emerge this way, but as to feasibility and applicability, the author delivers good and comprehensive arguments, emphasizes ergonomical aspects, unaffectedly predicts that certain classical hardware like keyboards will seamlessly coexist with the new technology.

The really exceptional content and the way it is written - plain, straightforward, with lots of illustrations and explanations and quite some humor - are making this book a prime recommendation.

Klaus ... Read more

19. Mindreal: How the Mind Creates Its Own Virtual Reality
by Robert Ornstein
 Paperback: Pages (2010-10-07)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$10.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1933779799
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Made the lights go on for me - fun and enlightening book
My work is in business communications and technology, and I know how hard it is to follow the adage "Don't say what you know, say what the reader needs to know". For this reader, the author's judgment is excellent in that respect. The book deals with some very "deep" concepts but doesn't try to answer un-answerables. For example, how many times have we all heard said that life's an "illusion", a "dream" etc? So often we don't really wonder any more what it might signify. Ok, there's something flawed in normal everyday thought, but what's more "real"? In these very few pages, some with hilarious full-page illustrations, I felt the lights going on about what's dreamlike (literally) and illusory in the way people (I anyway) take on mental challenges. Ornstein's good natured observations furthermore quite helpfully suggest ways to think better and more productively, but not with simplistic self-help prescriptions. I read the book twice and found the second round as revelatory as the first. I wish the book had been around before I grappled with the "great themes" in my liberal arts college years. Engineering students would probably love it for its lucidity and conciseness.

5-0 out of 5 stars Should be mandatory reading for everyone
MINDREAL is a real eye-opener of a book. With Ted Dewan's delightful illustrations serving as a graphic-novel counterpoint to Robert Ornstein's engaging text, it shows that the human mind is not the logical and unified tool it's reputed to be, but rather consists of a jumble of separate "programs" that have been put together during the course of our evolution. These separate programs come into play to deal with specific situations, but often the wrong program gets used, making us easy targets for manipulation and frequently resulting in disastrous outcomes. In plain language and with a touch of humor, MindReal explains how these programs evolved to deal with the world as it was thousands of years ago, which was a far cry from the way it is today. It shows how our perception of the world is not an accurate picture of what's really out there but is rather just a sketchy "virtual reality" designed to help us survive. This virtual reality was adequate for dealing with the conditions in which we evolved, but those conditions have changed so much in recent years -- mostly by our own doing -- that our mental programming is in urgent need of some kind of an update to cope effectively with today's technological landscape. Ornstein suggests not only that such an update is possible, but that it is essential. "We need to teach people not only to get information into their minds, but also to change the way they think," he writes. In light of the unprecedented problems now facing us, both as a species and as a planet, I can't help but agree, and feel that reading MINDREAL is an important step in the right direction.

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice graphics, but elementary and repetitive
This 173 page book is a fast read, and the illustrations are fun, but the content is elementary and disappointingly repetitive. It frequently uses neologisms (like "Mind LTD" and "MindReal") that I suppose are meant to be cute, but I found them annoying rather than illuminating.

I was hoping that because the coauthor is an accomplished illustrator that the book might resemble a graphic novel, and that we could look forward to something like a plot, perhaps a mystery or two, and some suspense. Or even a clever way of explaining the book's theme (that our mind creates a "virtual reality" that we think is real). But alas, the theme is amply explained in words in the two page preface, and then, with very minor amplification, repeated for 171 pages.

I imagine that this book may well appeal to young readers who are interested in the mind, or to those who haven't read much about cognitive psychology or the neurosciences. But if you do know something about these topics, look to Ornstein's other, more scholarly books, which are excellent. If this book had been marketed as a children's book, I would have given it 5 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Virtually four thumbs up!!!!
Dr. Ornstein's books such as The Right Mind and The Healing Brain have always been considered mind blowing.The Evolution of Consciousness is probably the one I talk to people the most about, and in a way MindReal is the ultimate sequel.It gives example after example of how our mind can generate perceptual distortions and be ill suited for the modern world--running outdated programs developed during our evolution that are random remnants of an obsolete world.The book finishes with several solutions and hope filled suggestions for how to change the way we think (as opposed to just adding new information).This books is extremely relevant and very accessible to all.It has great illustrations and is very engaging-- people close to me that normally don't read very much have really enjoyed this book. ... Read more

20. Augmented Reality: A Practical Guide
by Stephen Cawood, Mark Fiala
Paperback: 328 Pages (2008-01-18)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1934356034
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Augmented Reality is a natural way to explore 3D objects and data, as it brings virtual objects into the real world where we live, rather than forcing us to learn how to navigate inside the computer. With video-see-through technology, AR handheld devices such as tablet PC™s, PDA™s, or camera cell phones, (or in many cases just a webcam and our standard computer monitor), you hold the device up andsee throughthe display to view both the real world and the superimposed virtual object.You can move around and see the virtual object, model, animation, or game from different views as the AR system performs alignment of the real and virtual cameras automatically.

This book will introduce you to Augmented Reality (AR), provide detailed explanations of how the technology works, and provide samples for you to try on your own. Code samples using the freely downloadable ARTag software SDK in C++ and C# are included; all you need is a computer, printer, and a webcam.

Create something new today!

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

1-0 out of 5 stars No mathematical information
This book has not sufficient mathematical information.

It is only describe to AR tool.

If you study theoretical AR, don't try this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars The basics of AR
Is important to have the book, for reference, guide and knowledge. Keep you working in the ideas and you can agree important elements with your collegues.

1-0 out of 5 stars Uses proprietary, abandoned AR library
The overall content of the book is good.However the technical parts target the author's "ARTag" library.This library is both abandoned and proprietary.The institution that sponsored the development of the library (National Research Council of Canada) no longer funds AR work, and has taken down the SDK download.Purchasers of the book can download a single copy of the library for non-commercial use on a single computer after filling in a web form that asks for specific words from specific pages of the book.You are not permitted to redistribute the library.As far as I can tell, this is the only way to obtain the library right now, and so I cannot recommend you use it on any projects that you plan to redistribute.

4-0 out of 5 stars Augmenting Reality
I've developed an interest in augmented reality in the last couple of years, based on what I've been finding in YouTube videos.So recently I've been considering doing some coding myself."A Practical Guide" is a straight forward approach to this expanding field.While it isn't a type of AR for Dummies book, it does take you thru the basics.This is a book good for getting the feel of what AR is all about.

Are you a software hobbyist? If you are, then this book is for you. Authors Stephen Cawood and Mark Fiala, have done an outstanding job of writing a book that provides all of the information that you will need to quickly start developing your own Augmented Reality (AR) applications.

Cawood and Fiala, begin by showing you how to get started by running AR on your system. Then, the authors explain how OpenGL is used to create computer graphics for AR. Next, they show you how to create OpenGL applications. The authors also show you how to develop AR applications. They continue by showing you how to integrate ARTag into your OpenGL programming to create your own AR applications. Then, the authors show you how to use typical video game design flow to create 3D models in a specialized 3D program and then import them into the AR program you're writing. Next, they show you how to create a 3D AR video game. Finally, the authors also help you build upon the game you started to build earlier in the book.

This most excellent book provides detailed explanations of AR technology--even the math is explained. But, more importantly, the book will show you how to create your own AR applications, using nothing more than a PC and a USB 2.0 webcam. ... Read more

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