6 WAYS TO CREATE A VIRTUAL SPACE REFUGE
A young girl is sitting in a cafe and reading an article on a phone. An older man is arguing with his wife, who is in another country. You see a woman jogging and listening to her favorite playlist. Everyone is in the same space while building their own bubbles: imaginary obstacles that form their own space.
It feels weird saying that without smartphones, we can build obstacles when we all know it was built to connect. There’s nothing wrong with setting our own boundaries. Quite on the contrary. It’s a nice representation of the manifestation of our microcosmos. A bit like taking a part of our own home with us. So in an alien setting, we can feel at ease, private even.
Building a virtual space refuge can happen in many forms. Here we will present a few:
1. EXTENDED REALITY
Extended reality (XR) is a term referring to all real-and-virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology and wearables. It can manifest itself in different forms such as augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and virtual reality (VR) and the areas interpolated among them.
The levels of virtuality range from partially sensory inputs to immersive virtuality also called VR. XR is a superset that includes the entire spectrum from “the complete real” to “the complete virtual” in the concept of reality–virtuality continuum introduced by Paul Milgram. Still, its connotation lies in the extension of human experiences especially relating to the senses of existence (represented by VR) and the acquisition of cognition (represented by AR). With the continuous development in human-computer interactions, this connotation is still evolving. XR is a rapidly growing field being applied in a wide range of ways, such as entertainment, marketing, real estate, training, and remote work.
With this technology we can create any reality we want for ourselves, be it a gym, meetings, or social interactions.
2. SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media are interactive technologies and digital channels that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, interests, and other forms of expression through virtual communities and networks. While challenges to the definition of social media arise due to the variety of stand-alone and built-in social media services currently available, there are some common features:
- Social media are interactive internet-based applications.
- User-generated content (such as text posts or comments, digital photos or videos, and data generated through all online interactions), is the lifeblood of social media.
- Users create service-specific profiles for the website or app that are designed and maintained by the social media organization.
- Social media helps the development of online social networks by connecting a user’s profile with those of other individuals or groups
Be it a video meeting, a conferencing tool, or just a plain chatroom, where participants can join meetings/chats from any device, including dialing in from their phones. Administrators can record meetings and can set up integrations with other third-party services. It is probably the most abstract of the virtual spaces and also the most used, but with it, we can still achieve a virtual refuge of sorts.
3. VIDEO GAMES
Video games are very similar to XR types of virtual space, with the biggest difference being that a video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device – such as a joystick, controller, keyboard, or motion-sensing device – to generate visual feedback. This feedback is shown on a video display device, such as a TV set, monitor, touchscreen, or virtual reality headset. Video games are often augmented with audio feedback, delivered through speakers or headphones, and sometimes with other types of feedback, including haptic technology.
They are defined based on their platform, which includes arcade video games, console games, and personal computer (PC) games. More recently, the industry has expanded onto mobile gaming through smartphones and tablet computers, virtual and augmented reality systems and remote cloud gaming. Video games are classified into a wide range of genres based on their type of gameplay and purpose.
This form of virtual reality also seems to be used for quite some time. Similar to VR with it we can achieve practically any kind of virtual space. In a way, a very similar, but simplified virtual reality can be achieved with films.
Since it is a physical manifestation of wavelengths it cannot be really described as a truly virtual space, but since it too is only a mirage that we use to transform a space we will still count it as one.
Holography is a technique that enables a wavefront to be recorded and later reconstructed. Holography is best known as a method of generating three-dimensional images, but it also has a wide range of other applications. In principle, it is possible to make a hologram for any type of wave.
A hologram is made by superimposing a second wavefront (normally called the reference beam) on the wavefront of interest, thereby generating an interference pattern that is recorded on a physical medium. When only the second wavefront illuminates the interference pattern, it is diffracted to recreate the original wavefront. Holograms can also be computer-generated by modeling the two wavefronts and adding them together digitally. The resulting digital image is then printed onto a suitable mask or film and illuminated by a suitable source to reconstruct the wavefront of interest.
We will see where the future will actually bring us and whether the virtual spaces will allow us to be more adaptable and less wasteful.