Virtual reality is more than a trick. It's a solution to big problems.
- According to projections shared by the UN, Earth's population is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050. By the year 2100, that number could increase to 11 billion. Virtual reality will be necessary to reduce the waste of such a large population in industries like transport, retail, and manufacturing.
- As an existing technology, there is a lot that virtual reality can do: rich and immersive environments, heightened storytelling, emotionally resonant experiences, and increased productivity in retail. But it's only in its infancy.
- As the world's population continues to grow, the technology will need to evolve to facilitate a larger network of users, and developers will have to think harder about the technological potential and the ethical, neurological, and emotional side effects.
Google's Arts & Culture app just added a suite of prehistoric animals and NASA artifacts that are viewable for free with a smartphone.
- The exhibits are viewable on most smartphones through Google's free Arts & Culture app.
- In addition to prehistoric animals, the new exhibits include NASA artifacts and ancient artwork.
- The Arts & Culture app also lets you project onto your walls famous paintings on display at museums around the world.
Many of the world's museums are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but now you don't need to leave the couch to see some of the creatures on display at institutions like Moscow's State Darwin Museum and London's Natural History Museum. Google's Arts & Culture app just added a suite of new exhibits that can be viewed in augmented reality through your smartphone.
After installing the app on an ARCore-supported Android device, an iPhone, or an iPad, users can project the creatures onto any surface, take photos and videos, change their size, and move them around the room.
One of the strangest new exhibits is the Cambropachycope, a tiny crustacean from the Cambrian Period that has one of the world's oldest preserved compound eyes. Here's a look:
Google Arts & Culture
Other animals on display include:
- Opabinia — A 500-million-year-old arthropod with five eyes
- Skeleton of the blue whale – The largest animal to ever exist on Earth
- Spotted trunkfish — A fish with an unusually strong carapace made from thick hexagonal scale plates called scutes
- Aegirocassis — A 480-million-year old marine animal, believed to be the oldest large filter feeder, which existed hundreds of millions of years before whales and sharks
Google Arts & Culture
Recent studies suggest virtual reality porn can produce a more positive experience than viewing from a monitor or screen.
- Since early 2014 when Ela Darling, an adult entertainment actress recorded her first VR performance, the world of virtual porn has taken off.
- Recent studies suggests VR porn produces a more positive experience than typical porn viewing through a monitor or screen.
- RealityLovers, a top VR porn website, speaks about the benefits of virtual reality porn experiences and the future of VR adult entertainment.
The porn industry has seen a lot of change over the years, from Playboy being sold in corner stores to naughty pay-per-view movies on TV to personalized porn that's available on cam websites... and now, VR porn. VR porn (virtual reality porn) takes adult content to the next level; instead of just watching a scene, you're seemingly participating in it while watching through a VR headset that brings the environment to life.
Your brain on VR porn
Daily Dot covered a study that was done by a popular VR pornography website and the results were quite interesting (albeit from a small sample): according to the study, which had men between the ages of 18-45 watching the same clip on a flat monitor and then again with a VR headset, participants watching VR porn had to work harder to process the information. The article explains:
That's not necessarily a bad result... [B]oth VR and PC scored in the cognitive load "sweet spot," where users were neither overwhelmed with information nor bored by it... The participants' motivation, or whether they feel positive or negative about watching certain content, was also greater, or more positive, in the VR test.The overall results of this study suggest that VR porn produces a more positive experience but is not too overwhelming. Various studies have since confirmed this original finding.
The rise of VR porn and what it means for the adult entertainment industry
What is the viewing experience like?
With some of the top VR porn websites having been around for up to five years now, the continued developments in technology have allowed the adult entertainment industry to advance in ways we could have only imagined, allowing viewers to have an incredibly realistic experience through platforms like RealityLovers.
For those who have not yet experienced virtual reality porn, it's a completely immersive way to consume adult content. There are 180-degree and 360-degree porn websites available which allow you to explore the environment you're in, which can include exotic locations around the world or fantasy locations that don't exist in real life.
One of the most popular experiences is POV (point of view) porn, which allows you to view the scene from a first-person perspective. As you can imagine, this is a particularly popular genre of VR porn, although there are many other genres in existence.
What equipment do you need to watch VR porn?
Although VR systems used to be expensive, they are becoming increasingly more popular among the general public. From smartphones and Google Cardboard to Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and beyond, there are plenty of different options for VR equipment.
Most virtual reality porn websites are capable of accepting various types of VR systems, but you may need to check with the site to make sure the equipment you have (or are looking to purchase) is compatible with their platform.
Along with a VR headset of your choosing, there are also some sex toys that people choose to use to enhance their virtual reality experience. People who desire a totally immersive experience may opt for something like the Fleshlight Launch (a male interactive sex toy that is able to sync with VR content through select platforms).
VR porn and beyond…
If you're curious about virtual reality porn, devices are more affordable than ever and more and more platforms are giving viewers access to virtual reality situations. The sex toy industry has also hopped on board, manufacturing more and more toys that are Bluetooth compatible, meaning you can sync them to your VR system and use them simultaneously. From POV sex to threesomes and more, virtual reality is quickly becoming a favorite way for people to bring their fantasies to life.
By leveraging the difference between lit and shadowed areas, a new energy source perfect for wearables is invented.
- Mobile devices used both indoors and out may benefit from a new energy collection system that thrives on mixed and changing lighting conditions.
- Inexpensive new collection cells are said to be twice as efficient as commercial solar cells.
- The system's "shadow effect" would also maker it useful as a sensor for tracking traffic.
For all of its promise, solar energy depends on the capture of light, and the more the better. For residents of sunny climes, that's great, with rooftop collection panels, and solar farms built by utilities in wide open, sunny spaces that can provide power to the rest of us. Now, though, a team of scientists at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has announced success at deriving energy from…shadows.
We've got plenty of them everywhere. "Shadows are omnipresent, and we often take them for granted," says research team leader Tan Swee Ching, who notes how shadows are usually anathema for energy collection. "In conventional photovoltaic or optoelectronic applications where a steady source of light is used to power devices, the presence of shadows is undesirable, since it degrades the performance of devices." His team has come up with something quite different, and Tan claims of their shadow-effect energy generator (SEG) that, "This novel concept of harvesting energy in the presence of shadows is unprecedented."
The research is published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.
How it works
Image source: Royal Society of Chemistry/NUS
The energy produced by the SEG is generated from the differential between shadowed and lit areas. "In this work," says Tan. "We capitalized on the illumination contrast caused by shadows as an indirect source of power. The contrast in illumination induces a voltage difference between the shadow and illuminated sections, resulting in an electric current."
SEG cells are less expensive to produce than solar cells. Each SEG cell is a thin film of gold on a silicon wafer, and an entire system is a set of four of these cells arrayed on a flexible, transparent plastic film. Experiments suggest the system, in use, is twice as efficient as commercial solar cells.
An SEG cell's shadow effect works best when it is half in light and half in shadow, "as this gives enough area for charge generation and collection respectively," says co-team leader Andrew Wee. When the SEG is entirely in shadow or in light, it doesn't produce a charge.
Gold in them that shadows
To be sure, the amount of energy that NUS researchers have thus far extracted is small, but it's enough to power a digital watch. The researchers envision the SEG system harvesting ambient light to power smart phones and AR glasses that are used both outdoors and indoors. While such devices can run on solar batteries, solar is only replenished outdoors, and the SEG could "scavenge energy from both illumination and shadows associated with low light intensities to maximize the efficiency of energy harvesting," says Tan. It seems clear that we're on the cusp of the era of wearables — AR visionwear, smart fabrics, smart watches, and so on — and so Tan considers the arrival of the SEG "exciting and timely."
The researchers also note an additional application for which the SEG seems a natural: It can function as a self-powered sensor for monitoring moving objects. The shadow caused by a passing object would trigger the SEG sensor, which can then record the event.
Next up for the team is investigating constructing cells using other, less costly materials than gold to make them even less expensive to produce.
Do space and time really exist? NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller looks at the implications of Einstein's famous equation E=mc2.
- NASA astronomer and science communicator Michelle Thaller explains that the real brilliance of Albert Einstein is that he was able to bridge ideas that appeared to others to be in different realms.
- The thing Einstein is most famous for is the equation E=mc2. Thaller explains why that equation is so mind-blowing: Pure energy and matter are the same thing. That means, as humans, we are both made of matter and of pure energy, and as pure energy, we would not experience space or time.
- "I think that, once we really understand this, we're going to be in for some very difficult truths to accept," says Thaller. "It may be that there is no space or time as we know it, really."