February 11, 2007
SAN DIEGO -- None of this is really happening, but the experience is almost overwhelming in "virtual Iraq." The Humvee plows along a desert road. The engine rumbles underfoot, and Blackhawk helicopters whirl overhead. A sandstorm blows in, and insurgents pop up and start to shoot with sickening blasts that shatter the windshield. Is that the smell of burning rubber? Those sensations of war are being fed into a special helmet, goggles and earphones. They are conjured by a computerized virtual reality developed in part by gaming engineers and psychologists at the University of Southern California and being tested, among other places, at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego.
January 8, 2006
The sci-fi dream of computer-generated virtual reality - so familiar to readers of Neuromancer and viewers of The Matrix - has finally come true. But, as is often the case with guesses about future technologies, it has not come true in quite the way that many people expected. While scientists developed sensory-input devices to mimic the sensations of a virtual world, the games industry eschewed this hardware-based approach in favor of creating alternative realities through emotionally engaging software.
September 11, 2005
His head almost completely hidden by a virtual-reality helmet, 12-year-old Eli Modlin plunged his hand into a vat of painfully cold ice water as his mind slipped into another aquatic world. Now a diver navigating the ocean floor, Eli watched sharks and giant sea turtles slowly circle above the swaying sea grass and colorful coral reefs just ahead. The only sounds he could hear were of his own breathing. The allure of buried treasure dominated his thoughts. Only later did Eli realize what he hadn't felt for a long stretch - the pain from the icy cold water.
August 14, 2005
NOVEL OLD TWENTIETH By Joe Haldeman. Ace, 257 pages By John Coffren If you were virtually immortal, what would you do with your greatest surplus -- time? Science-fiction master Joe Haldeman suggests that you might choose to do nothing more unusual than take a long cruise and watch the History Channel. That is the 23rd-century equivalent of what his immortals do in Old Twentieth. They sail away on a starship bound for a distant solar system, Beta Hydrii, and they while away the millennia-long voyage in a virtual reality / time machine that immerses them in human history.
March 13, 2000
When you combine the old comic master, Moliere, and the New Vaudeville clown, Bill Irwin, you're bound to tickle the funny bone, and the Vagabond Players' production of "Scapin" does just that. Working with playwright Mark O'Donnell, Irwin adapted Moliere's commedia dell'arte-inspired 1671 farce as a vehicle for himself. And though Mark E. Campion proves somewhat stolid in Irwin's role of the scheming servant, Scapin, an Irwin-esque spirit of anarchy surfaces in the looser, more madcap manner of Tony Colavito as his fellow servant, Sylvestre.
February 18, 2000
NEW YORK -- On the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a remarkable new museum has been fashioned from the simplest of geometrical forms. Its exterior is a 12-story-high cube, with two outer walls made of colorless glass. Centered inside, as if it's floating on air, is a white aluminum sphere, 87 feet in diameter. The glass is so clear and the sphere is so large and luminous, especially at night, that it practically forces people to stop and look inside. The building is the Rose Center for Earth and Science, a $210 million exploratorium that opens tomorrow as the latest addition to the American Museum of Natural History.