Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Reality or something like it

Do you understand the difference between augmented reality and augmented virtuality?

The first enhances real-reality with virtual-reality. The second enhances virtual-reality with real-reality. And both are considered mixed-reality.

Phew. I'm glad we've cleared that up.

UPDATE 18/06/03, the earliest sources I (quickly) found for mixed reality are:

Milgram, P., H. Takemura, et al. (1994). Augmented Reality: A class of displays on the reality-virtuality continuum. SPIE: Telemanipulator and Telepresence Technologies, Boston, MA.

Milgram, P. and F. Kishino (1994). A Taxonomy of Mixed Reality Visual Displays. IEICE Transactions on Information and Systems (Special Issue on Networked Reality) E77-D(12): 1321-1329.

The taxonomy is fascinating, if rather problematic, and the continuum is worth unpacking a bit:

Milgram's reality-virtuality continuum

"Our distinction between real and virtual is in fact treated here according to three different aspects. The first distinction is between real objects and virtual objects. The operational definitions that we adopt here are: Real objects are any objects that have an actual objective existence. Virtual objects are objects that exist in essence or effect, but not formally or actually. In order for a real object to be viewed, it can either be observed directly or it can be sampled and then resynthesised via some display device. In order for a virtual object to be viewed, it must be simulated, since in essence it does not exist. [Aack! Does the virtual exist in essence, or not?!] This entails use of some sort of a description, or model, of the object ... The second distinction concerns the issue of image quality as an aspect of reflecting reality ... the standard of comparison for realism is taken as direct viewing (through air or glass) of a real object, or 'unmediated reality' ... The third distinction we make is between real and virtual images. For this purpose we turn to the field of optics, and operationally define a real image as any image which has some luminosity at the location at which it appears to be located ... With respect to MR environments, therefore, we consider any virtual image of an object as one which appears transparent, that is, which does not occlude other objects located behind it."

So much more to say, so little time ... these phrases and definitions all come from engineering and computing science, so it takes me a bit to "translate" them into language I understand ;)

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