with David Santiano, Deyin Mia Zhang, and Xinran Azena Fan, NYU Shanghai; Barak Chamo, New York; Paolo Salvagione, Sausalito.

First prototype

We’ve developed a cheap and simple way to mount a smartphone directly above a laptop display and dedicate it primarily to “Speaker View” during live teleconferences. Though many potential audiences exist, our target audience are college students who spend hours in classes with a host teacher giving presentations or holding seminars.

We were pleasantly surprised by how well a first prototype worked. We looked extensively into the world of smartphone clamps, brackets, and mounts, and found nothing optimized for our needs…


Gyorgy Kepes books during his MIT years, 1947–1974.

On the opposite end of the Media Lab complex from the Director’s office resides MIT’s Program in Art, Culture, and Technology (ACT), a long-unrelated program which spent 30 years on opposite side of campus, by choice. In 2010, after the Media Lab tripled its size with an expansion, MIT leadership decided to move ACT into the expanded complex, presumably for more interaction with the Media Lab. While the Media Lab is about “technologies that promise to transform,” ACT is about “critical studies and production.”

Since the move, as before, there’s been little interaction. But what if, challenging as it may…


more risky research, less master classes

[March 2019: This article, and the entire VR/AR Series, is now available bilingually in Chinese and English courtesy of NYU Shanghai.]
[October 2020: Additional VR/AR class projects from NYU Shanghai since publication can be found here.]

Sunday VR project at NYU Shanghai: 6 students humming a 47 piece orchestral version of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy based on the layout of the Dublin Symphony Hall. A two-minute 3D VR video version on YouTube is here and a “making of” presentation is here.

Shanghai

The first half-semester was pretty easy on the students. They sat back through several weeks of richly audiovisual presentations on “VR / AR Fundamentals.” They unboxed and set up all five major VR platforms, then curated and experienced dozens of VR titles. They enjoyed the buzz of our “VR / AR News of the Week” class time.


Being immersed in live events and with other people.

[March 2019: This article, and the entire VR/AR Series, is now available bilingually in Chinese and English courtesy of NYU Shanghai.]


Using our effectors and intentions as inputs and how they shape interactive experiences.

[March 2019: This article, and the entire VR/AR Series, is now available bilingually in Chinese and English courtesy of NYU Shanghai.]


Fooling the non-audiovisual senses.

[March 2019: This article, and the entire VR/AR Series, is now available bilingually in Chinese and English courtesy of NYU Shanghai.]


Fooling two eyes and two ears, moving around, and with an unframed image.

[March 2019: This article, and the entire VR/AR Series, is now available bilingually in Chinese and English courtesy of NYU Shanghai.]


Fooling a single static eye and a single static ear into believing that a framed representation is real.

[March 2019: This article, and the entire VR/AR Series, is now available bilingually in Chinese and English courtesy of NYU Shanghai.]


Science with Attitude.

[March 2019: This article, and the entire VR/AR Series, is now available bilingually in Chinese and English courtesy of NYU Shanghai.]

These presentations will be posted weekly beginning next week.

Greetings! And welcome to the first in a series of six weekly pieces on Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality “fundamentals”. They’re meant to be fast, brief, holistic, and accessible to non-engineers.

The motivation is practical. I get calls from novice VR/AR producers and from check-writing executives worried about expensive camera stitching, or wanting awesome spatial sound, or feeling obliged to always fill the entire 360 degree view. But all too often they are unaware of zero-parallax…


Some Useful Distinctions

Kinoautomat — World’s First Interactive Movie — by Radúz Činčera, for the Czech Pavillion, Expo ’67, Montreal

The VR community, I’ve noticed, uses the word “interactivity” to mean several distinctively different things, each with different user experiences, different technologies, and different associated costs. If you understand these distinctions and you’re involved in VR, you will make better informed decisions. This will be especially true understanding camera-based VR and its differences from model-based VR.

These distinctions are described here. I’m not committed to the actual terms, only to the concepts behind them, so if you have better words, I welcome them. …

Michael Naimark

Artist, inventor, and scholar in the fields of virtual reality and emerging media.

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