Friday, July 13, 2007

MIT Dual Reality Lab - Innovation in cross spatial communication

This link was passed to me by Keystone Bouchard. This group (ResEnv or Responsive Environments Group) works closely with the MIT media lab group and focuses on devices and systems that bridge the virtual and the physical.
The above example is called their 'shadow office' which is linked real-time with their physical office. The description labels the design as a two-way interaction, but as far as I can tell the sensors pull information from the physical and display it in the virtual. While this group sees the virtual and physical as two distinct environments (hence the name Dual Reality Lab) I prefer to view this as a singular architecture that extends between the two types of space.
The form that this architecture takes is dependent, at this point, upon the technology that can bridge this gap. For this reason, the MIT team has created a custom framework for this interface in the form of distributed sensors in the physical environment. They call this the PLUG system and as you can see here, consists of various cross platform MIDI devices as well as custom scripting.

Much like the physical laws of space govern the structural form of traditional architecture, so technology constraints shape and limit the form of transArchitectures.

This group has recently published a series of papers tracking this progress and their thesis are freely available through the site. They have also branced into various devices and products that take advantage of distributed sensor systems including a Star Trek inspired 'tricorder' device that can see through walls. Some of their other projects can be seen here

I applaud the efforts of the MIT group and I plan to visit with them in my move to the Northeast. While they have some very bright and well connected individuals working with Linden Labs on new forms of interface, this group does not necessarily consist of all architects. For this reason, I think it is our responsibility as virtual architects to learn from the advances that they have made and begin to apply these innovations to our virtual creations. This way we can begin to refine our virtual vocabulary and move toward a set of virtual principals that Keystone and others have begun to identify.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have got to see this. Obama playing on XBox. Funniest video ever.