A University of Illinois physicist has built a method that explores the connection between the real and virtual worlds by linking a mechanical pendulum to its virtual twin. It is the first real/virtual physics experiment, and could help clarify the influence that virtual communities exert on reality, and vice versa. For instance, the experiment will help us understand how the economies of games for example Second Life could affect real economies.
In accordance with UI physics professor Alfred Hubler, his latest experiment is an illustration of this a “mixed reality” state where there is no clear boundary in between the real system and also the virtual system: “The line blurs between what’s real and what isn’t.”
At the APS March Meeting, Hubler reported over a recent experiment that he or she believes supports the existence of mixed reality company. He used a standard mechanical pendulum in addition to a virtual pendulum designed to stick to the popular equations of motion. He and his colleagues sent data about the real pendulum for the virtual one, while sending information regarding the virtual pendulum to a motor that influenced the motion of your real pendulum. They found out that once the two pendulums were of different lengths, they remained in the “dual reality state” where their motion was uncorrelated, and thus not synchronized.
In addition they found that as soon as the pendulum lengths were similar, they reached a vital transition point and became correlated. “They suddenly noticed the other person, synchronized their motions, and danced together indefinitely,” said Hubler. He compared it to your phase transition: the critical temperature/pressure point wherein matter moves from a state (gas) to another (liquid). In such a case, the “phase transition” takes place when the boundary between reality and virtual reality disappears.
This is basically the “mixed reality” state, wherein a real pendulum as well as a virtual pendulum move together as you. The secret is real-time feedback. Scientists have coupled mechanical pendulums with springs to produce correlated motion, but without the staggering computational speed now achievable, coupling pendulums by using a virtual system simply hadn’t been possible. “Computers are fast enough we can detect the positioning of the real pendulum, compute the dynamics of the virtual pendulum, and compute appropriate feedback towards the real pendulum, all instantly,” said Hubler.
As flight simulations, immersive VR, and online virtual games and worlds become increasingly accurate inside their depictions of real life, Hubler believes such “mixed reality” states may become more common. He thinks his lab-induced mixed reality states could be employed to better understand real complex systems with a lot of parameters, by coupling an actual system to your virtual one until their constant interactions lead to a mixed reality state-as an illustration, modeling neurons by coupling a genuine neuron using a virtual one.
Instantaneous interaction is actually a critical requirement even though Hubler has demonstrated that we can manage this within the lab with real and virtual pendulums, expanding that for an entire virtual world requires even faster computers, as well as more effective probes and actuators as well as other supporting device technologies. Future generations of Second Life along with other games could become very exciting indeed, and almost indistinguishable from “reality.”