Monday, February 18, 2008

Toward the Hyperreality Engine Pt 2: The Hardware

The hardware for the hyper-reality engine is neither far-fetched, nor far off.

Before I descrive the specific h/w of the HRE, lety me point out that this is one of the many potential incarnations to suit this purpose. In other words, this specific flavor of h/w is not the only one possible. However, it was selected for the following reason:

- Does not personally encumber or otherwise ‘enhance’ the human experiencing it. The primary reason for this is that this system is intended to be enjoyed for any arbitrary amt of time, much like a tv set today. Things like helmets, goggles, etc, with me at least, after a short while I start to fatigue with such accoutrements.
The HRE is intended to suspend disbelief for an arbitrary amt of time, perhaps a few minutes, many hours, or longer.

However, the s/w that runs this system can easily accommodate in the guise of a helmet, goggles, or even s/w-driven nanites in a human brain.

Here are the basic components:
- Hi-rez screen of arbitrary size. In particular, a form of this tech that is relatively near-term: extremely thin LCDs, that can be “painted” onto any surface, incl. walls. To keep things simple, let’s say one large, blank wall in a bedroom, den, great room, or some such.
The properties of this are quite remarkable; you can change the color of this room from blue to orange, instantly. Interior decorative alchemy

Now imagine, instead of simple solid color changes, more elaborate, wallpaper patterns, anything u can imagine, including not just diff color patterns, but diff reflectivities, shininess, etc
For example, a wall of beaten gold, with shadows of apparent relief throughout. All illusion woven by the thousands or millions of pixels comprising this screen.

We’ll come back to the many possibilities here, but let’s cover the rest of the h/w first. Behind the scenes is some very serious computer hardware. Just how serious will become more apparent once I describe the capabilities of the software.
For now, think super-advanced movie-rendering engine, like Silicon Graphics on steroids.

From Part I of this series, you might guess among other types of input, various digital source stock is a big one
– photos, both native digitial as well as scanned
- Personal photos, both digital and scanned
- Stock digital photos
This includes movie stock footage as well, both documentary as well as theatrical releases.

So, the basic hardware must be able to input these various media types, process them, and have access to the future version of the web.

All this would be enough to floor the engineers tasked with building it.

But there is one more tough, very important key to hyperrealism. Back in 1982, at a fast-food pizza chain called Showbiz Pizza, there was a demo for a few months of a new projection tech called Showscan.

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