A University of Illinois physicist has built a method that explores the bond between your real and virtual worlds by linking a mechanical pendulum to the virtual twin. It is the first real/virtual physics experiment, and could help clarify the influence that virtual communities exert on the real world, and vice versa. As an example, the experiment might help us know the way the economies of online games like Second Life could affect real economies.
According to UI physics professor Alfred Hubler, his latest experiment is an example of a “mixed reality” state where there is not any clear boundary involving 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 with a recent experiment that he believes supports the presence of los angeles mixed reality company. He used a standard mechanical pendulum in conjunction with a virtual pendulum designed to follow the popular equations of motion. He and his colleagues sent data concerning the real pendulum for the virtual one, while sending details about the virtual pendulum to some motor that influenced the motion in the real pendulum. They found that once the two pendulums were of numerous lengths, they remained in a “dual reality state” by which their motion was uncorrelated, and therefore not synchronized.
Additionally, they discovered that once the pendulum lengths were similar, they reached a critical transition point and became correlated. “They suddenly noticed the other person, synchronized their motions, and danced together indefinitely,” said Hubler. He compared it to a phase transition: the critical temperature/pressure point wherein matter moves from a single state (gas) to a different (liquid). In this instance, the “phase transition” takes place when the boundary between reality and virtual reality disappears.
This is actually the “mixed reality” state, where a real pendulum as well as a virtual pendulum move together as one. The secret is real-time feedback. Scientists have coupled mechanical pendulums with springs to create correlated motion, but without the staggering computational speed now achievable, coupling pendulums using a virtual system simply hadn’t been possible. “Computers are now fast enough that people can detect the position of the real pendulum, compute the dynamics in the virtual pendulum, and compute appropriate feedback on the real pendulum, all live,” said Hubler.
As flight simulations, immersive VR, and internet based virtual games and worlds become increasingly accurate within 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 huge number of parameters, by coupling a genuine system to a virtual one until their constant interactions lead to a mixed reality state-as an example, modeling neurons by coupling a true neuron with a virtual one.
Instantaneous interaction is really a critical requirement and while Hubler indicates which we can manage this within the lab with real and virtual pendulums, expanding that with an entire virtual world will demand even faster computers, in addition to more effective probes and actuators along with other supporting device technologies. Generations to come of Second Life along with other games could become very exciting indeed, and almost indistinguishable from “reality.”