Oculus Touch Controllers for Oculus Rift

Palmer Luckey with Oculus Touch Controller. From the Polygon

Palmer Luckey with Oculus Touch Controller. From the Polygon

Oculus Touch controllers will allow you to bring your real hands into virtual reality, Oculus Founder Palmer Luckey announced at the Oculus reveal event today.

There are two wireless controllers, mirror imaged for each hand. The Oculus Touch controllers, Luckey said, use the same tracking technology as the Oculus Rift headset. Each has an analog stick, two buttons and a trigger. Unlike the compatible Xbox One controller, the buttons are split between two hands. Both have haptic feedback, which will allow players to feel feedback when hanging out in virtual reality. Continue reading

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Oculus shows off final Rift virtual reality headset, partners with Microsoft’s Xbox


Oculus Rift will have an Oculus Touch pair of hand controllers. Photo: Stuart Dredge for the Guardian.

The virtual reality company, bought by Facebook last year for $2 billion, said Thursday it plans to launch its consumer Rift headset early next year in a partnership with Microsoft that will tie together the Xbox One game console to the Oculus platform.

The final version of the Rift, shown today for the first time, will come with an Xbox Once wireless controller, as well as a standing camera to track your head movements and whether you’re standing and moving around the room or sitting down. Oculus is also working on hand controllers of its own, called Oculus Touch, that resemble small joysticks with looping rings around the base. That hardware is being designed to bring more realistic hand-motions to VR worlds that will let people interact with the environment. Continue reading

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Gloveone: the Smart Glove for Virtual Reality


Image Credit: Gloveone

While virtual reality users may be able to see things soon thanks VR headsets such as Microsoft’s HoloLens, they will not be able to touch and feel the virtual objects.

However, that is about to change thanks to smart gloves dubbed Gloveone, which will enable users to feel sensations such as rainfall, heat, flitting of a butterfly, shapes (and even weight of an object) when interacting with virtual objects. Continue reading

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Virtual Reality Therapy for Phobias at Duke University School of Medicine

The Virtual Reality (VR) Treatment Program at the Duke Faculty Practice offers a new human-computer interaction form of therapy for individuals with anxiety disorders due to fear of heights, elevators, thunderstorms, public speaking and flying. After an initial diagnostic interview is conducted to ensure that the service is appropriate for the presenting problem, participants are placed in a computer-generated three-dimensional virtual world and guided through the selected environment. Computer graphics and various display and input technologies are integrated to give the user a sense of presence or immersion in the virtual environment. The therapist then guides the participant through the environment and can interact with them through the entire event. Research indicates that 6 to 12 sessions are required to achieve maximum benefit. The advantages of VR over traditional exposure therapy are: Continue reading

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Final Oculus Rift- Coming in 2016

First look at the final Oculus Rift

“Say Hello to the Final Oculus Rift—Coming 2016”

Virtual reality is coming—and now, we finally know when. You will actually be able to buy a real, consumer version of the Oculus Rift in the first quarter of next year. You’re looking at it right now. Let me repeat: this is not another prototype. Shit is getting real.

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Virtual Reality Therapy

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PTSD Veterans Are Taken Back to the Battlefield With Virtual Reality

A demonstration of how virtual reality (VR) can be used as therapy to help people get over phobias July 19, 2005 in New York. Dr. JoAnn Difede, director of the Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Studies Program at Weill Cornell Medical College, has adapted the VR therapy to treat 9/11 survivors. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

In the world of therapy, cures often resemble vaccines, but in reverse. Vaccination works by injecting a person with a weak form of the virus to instill immunity for a disease. In therapy, patients are often guided to experience weaker forms past traumas or general fears.

For problems caused by a past traumatic experience, patients are often encouraged to simulate certain elements of the event that triggered their fear.

Now, researchers are using game engines to construct virtual reality scenarios that simulate those past traumatic events as a form of exposure therapy, which are experienced through virtual reality (VR) headsets such as the Oculus Rift. Continue reading

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Healing Narratives and Virtual Worlds

Healing Narratives and Virtual Worlds written by William Jamaal Fort

Excerpt from the article:

“The process of creation lives at the center of the psyche and soul of every human. Its expression gives life meaning and helps us to better understand our place in the universe. We are a part of the creation and each one of us is an individual expression of the creative principle. Each moment of our lives presents a new opportunity to examine explore and express this principle. To many of us, this is life’s greatest gift; To many more, it is life’s greatest challenge.

We are constantly creating with every choice we make. Every thought, every word, and every deed that we project into our lives and into the lives of others has some creative effect on our reality whether positive or negative. We create with both our conscious and subconscious minds twenty four hours a day, seven days a week for our entire lifetime. It is impossible for human beings to disengage from the creative process and it is this process that determines the quality of our lives.

Near the core of Buddhist philosophy are these two simple yet powerful principles: “What you think you become” and the equally potent, “Thoughts become things”. It would seem reasonable to surmise that a thorough understanding and application of these two principles would greatly increase the quality of any individual’s life. As author Viktor Frankl discovered as a young man and later expressed in his book, “Mans Search for Meaning”, it is meaning itself that must first be developed to create a rewarding life. He understood that even as those around him suffered horrific losses in German concentration camps, that it was still the responsibility of the individual to somehow discover their inner resources and create a new personal paradigm for living.

Frankl writes, “This uniqueness and singleness which distinguishes each individual and gives a meaning to his existence has a bearing on creative work as much as it does on human love. So how do we best develop meaning in our lives and express our unlimited creative potential? The primary vehicle that we have used in this process since we emerged from the caves is story. Throughout human history, stories have helped us make sense of our lives but their real potential exists not simply in their power to inform or to entertain but in their power to create and to heal.

Civilizations have been created and destroyed through the narrative process. The future course of nations has been put into motion and sustained by its storytellers and it has long been accepted in the seats of power that he (or she) who controls the narrative, controls the world.

On a more human level, we have discovered through scientific research, the psychological and physiological effects of narrative on human beings. Circulation, respiration, the production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, and a range of other physiological functions can all be regulated to some extent through narrative exchanges. The emotional benefits of being able to reconcile our feelings through stories are innumerable and can have a real and measurable impact on physical health and wellbeing.

Group therapy which can promote communal narratives, individual therapeutic sessions, hypnosis and media can all be implemented as effective means for delivering healing stories. With the advent of social media, Virtual Reality, and 3d Virtual Worlds, we are afforded new and unique opportunities to develop new and powerful systems that could significantly improve the quality, efficient delivery, and effectiveness of narrative based therapies.

For well over 20 years, the concepts and technologies of fully immersive Virtual Reality experiences have been examined and tested in the fields of psychology and medicine. Many of the early VR technologies that exhibited the most promise where hindered by the complexity and costs of the systems. Limited access to these technologies due mostly to the cost slowed research to a snail’s pace. The dream of applying these technologies to the broad spectrum of therapeutic applications that they seemed the most suited for grew dim with time. Nothing on the virtual horizon seemed to really fulfill the potential that researcher Jaron Lanier first presented when he coined the term Virtual Reality.

Fast forward to 2010 where we discover one Mr. Palmer Lucky, a young innovator barely out of his teens who would seemingly single-handedly reinvigorated the entire VR industry. Lucky’s invention which he christened The Oculus Riftsolved many of the problems that for years had plagued full immersion Virtual Reality. Lucky’s device not only allowed for a more immersive experience, but it delivered it at an unbelievably low cost. In the time since Lucky’s innovation, a whole host of Virtual Reality devices have emerged broadening the promise of Virtual reality in a number of fields. All of these Virtual delivery systems provide us with completely unique opportunities for exploration and discovery. It is clear that as these devices are adapted for platforms such as Second Life and other 3d worlds, the potential for creating Virtual healing spaces becomes more apparent.”

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Flow Trainer System

Check out the Flow Trainer System video.

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Neuroscience Gets Radical: How to Study Surfers’ Brain Waves


Photo: Red Bull



At Red Bull’s surf camp in Salina Cruz, Mexico, Jake Marshall surfed for science.

When the energy drink company Red Bull flew a team of neuroscientists and elite surfers to a beach town in Mexico in late August, it was in hopes of answering a vexing question: How can you study the brain waves of surfers while they’re actually riding the waves?

Some people might consider another question more pressing: Why would you want to? But Red Bull already had an answer for that one. The company wanted to know “what stoke looks like in the brain,” says Brandon Larson, a technologist on Red Bull’s R&D team. (You read that correctly. It’s stoke not stroke.) When a surfer is stoked, Larson says, that person is “in the zone,” and performing at peak potential. If scientists can find the biomarkers of stoke, maybe coaches can use the information to help surfers achieve that hallowed state of mind.

It may come as a surprise that Red Bull’s R&D team isn’t devoted simply to the study of caffeine, and how to pack more molecules of it into those slim silver cans. In fact, Red Bull’s high performance unit has a number of biomedical research projects underway, and they’re “all about seeing what makes althetes tick,” says David Putrino, one of the neuroscientists who went to Red Bull’s surf camp in Salina Cruz, Mexico. At the camp, technologists were testing out a number of high-tech gadgets, including environmental sensors for surfboards, biometric sensors for surfers, and waterproof communication systems. But the brain experiments were surely the most extreme science.

During his week on the beach, Putrino and his neuroscience colleagues devised a water-resistant EEG system that surfers could wear into the ocean to record their brain activity. With EEG, electrodes on the scalp record the aggregate electrical activity of the brain; the various patterns of pulses (i.e. the different brain waves) have been associated with different mental states.

Typically, though, researchers deploy EEG systems in a lab. Red Bull’s Larson says that using an EEG system at surf camp sounded nearly impossible: “The ocean is terrible for electronics, there’s sand everywhere,” he says. But the Red Bull team figured if they could pull it off there, they could do it anywhere. “We can then roll this out to other sports,” Larson says.

The 15-year-old surfing phenom Jake Marshall was the scientists’ willing guinea pig. The researchers rigged up a system using Wearable Sensing’s dry electrodes (typical EEG requires smearing gel on the scalp), along with electronic components that were wrapped in silicone and velcroed to Marshall’s head. They pulled a swim cap over that gear and wrapped a waterproof bandanna around the cap. To keep sweat from interfering with the electric signal, they slipped some dessicants and tiny ice packs under the swim cap. Marshall also wore a waterproof backpack containing a laptop, which received the brain wave data from the headset. “Then he went out for a surf,” says Putrino. “He was completely unfazed.”

The researchers got 17 minutes of clean EEG recording while Marshall paddled out, checked out the waves and indicated which ones were worth catching, and then rode a big one back to the beach. The scientists are still crunching the data from those 17 minutes, and Putrino says this was primarily a proof-of-concept study. He hopes to get interesting enough results to justify another round of brain-surfing, perhaps with more sophisticated equipment.

However, Putrino is happy to share his first “totally unscientific” impressions of the surfers’ brains. The researchers also recorded the brain waves of Marshall and another surfer while they sat quietly on the beach in order to get baseline EEG recordings. Putrino says he was amazed by the power of the surfers’ alpha waves, the frequency associated with relaxation and meditation. “We’d say, close your eyes and focus on your breathing, and immediately we’d see this overwhelming alpha power,” says Putrino. “It’s not often you see that so strongly.”

Putrino notes that he tried surfing himself during that week in Mexico, and didn’t have much success at first. There was too much stimulation from the water and the wind, he says, and he was thrashing around, trying to take it all in. “But the moment I calmed myself down and stopped thrashing around, I got better,” he says. That experience led to his current hypothesis: Maybe elite surfers are so good because they can summon up a meditative brain state at will. Red Bull’s surf camp may yield this first piece of advice for up and comers: If you want to rule the waves at Mavericks one day, you’d better learn how to chill.

Written by: Eliza Strickland

Original Article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/biomedical/imaging/neuroscience-gets-radical-how-to-study-surfers-brain-waves

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