Metaverse to play surrogate to nature, but how mature is the technology? – News

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    release date: Tuesday, March 5, 2024, 9:37 p.m.

    The UAE offers a strong regulatory environment and infrastructure, like Al Wasl Dome, to simulate natural wonders through VR, augmented reality or mixed reality.

    It's no secret that spending time in nature brings a sense of calm. The “soft attraction” theory suggests that attentional resources are restored because the natural world does not require concentration. Natural aromatic compounds such as phytoncides help release serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which trigger positive emotions.

    However, not everyone has the time or resources to visit natural habitats often. Natural habitats are out of reach, especially for people with accessibility issues. Extreme weather conditions are forcing us to stay indoors. Eco-warriors are urging tourists to avoid the fragile ecosystem.

    New technologies promise immersive virtual experiences of the real world. The Metaverse, a persistent 3D virtual reality (VR) world, could serve as a proxy for nature and help humans experience the joys of nature. The study “The Effects of a Nature-Based VR Environment on Stress in Adolescents” was conducted by Elin A. Björling et al. While exploring Nature Treks VR using an Oculus Go headset, participants experienced a temporary reduction in stress. However, some participants could see through the “fakeness” of the environment.

    “Virtual reality (VR) therapy is a powerful tool for VR therapy,” said Dr. Donna Z. Davis, director of Oregon Reality Lab in Portland and an expert on VR therapy. The result is a lack of quality experiences and associated costs that continue to limit its use. Although head-mounted displays and tactile gloves have evolved, challenges such as motion sickness and his VR hangover still remain.

    Dr. Davis believes that early adoption is likely to be in response to specific needs. “There is a wealth of research pointing to the power of presence and interactivity in these spaces, especially for people who often live in isolation. For example, people with disabilities who have limited access to the world around them can also In studies like this, we had participants who went further and said that this experience literally saved their lives.'' Dr. Davis noted:

    The UAE offers a strong regulatory environment and infrastructure like Al Wasl Dome to simulate natural wonders through VR, augmented reality or mixed reality. Multi-sensory immersive technology has made phygital art popular in Dubai, blurring the psychological and physical distance between city dwellers and nature.

    New immersive technologies and spatial computing will form a metaverse that recreates the sights, smells, and sounds of nature. The simulation includes machine learning, photogrammetry, aerial scanning of the landscape, and digital hand-drawing of objects. Ambient music inspired by nature and wearable scent dispensers aim to add a touch of authenticity. The illusion of embodiment allows users to perceive their own virtual body parts, for example when passing a haptic glove through a digital blade of grass.

    But can technology create the authentic experience of a walk in the woods? The human brain is a complex network of neurons that trigger emotions through electrical signals. If the metaverse relies on first principles, it may trigger such signals. For example, our brains interpret the constant pitch of sounds in nature as non-threatening.

    New nature simulation efforts are focused on scientific accuracy. Biologist Dr. Duncan J. Ursik is director of the Digital Life Project at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Since 2017, his team of designers, photographers, and researchers have been building his scientifically accurate 3D models of endangered animals. His 3D animation of a young green sea turtle that survives a shark attack is stunning, even on a 2D screen.

    The challenge is to capture geological and biological diversity in form and function. “Biological diversity is amazing,” Dr. Aasik said. The tool to create real leaves applies a procedural generation algorithm to introduce randomness into the tree network. Ray His casting-like techniques spread moss-like procedural details across the landscape. Machine learning renders the textures of plants and animals and applies scientific rigor to the behavior of digital creatures.

    Users will demand that their virtual nature experiences become more authentic, as evidenced by gamers' insatiable appetite for richer graphics. “I predict that more and more people will be looking for more realistic animals,” mused Dr. Ursik. “When people say the word sea turtle, what do they mean? There are multiple types of sea turtles: adult sea turtles, juvenile sea turtles, females, males, and different geographic races. I think they care about the differences.”

    Shalini Verma

    Shalini Verma

    Simulating nature requires large amounts of data. Dr. Irschick's team created his meticulously detailed 3D models of approximately 100 animals. He says that in a few decades, he will have created a substantial library of 3D models of animals, which he currently creates for gaming, science, and conservation research, and that will serve as his baseline data for machine learning. I'm thinking of becoming deaf. ” Generative AI brings scale by learning patterns and rapidly building diverse 3D models.

    But ultimately, does the human brain respond positively? Dr. Hari Subramanian, a professor of neuroscience, an expert in neuromodulation, and a thought leader in brain behavior, believes this is very plausible. “Virtual walking will generate optimal neural activity and elicit feelings of relief and rejuvenation,” he says.

    Dr. Subramanian believes that people already have anxiety in their brains, so they seek stress relief through virtual games and movies. With voluntary suspension of disbelief, the same principle applies to the metaverse's natural simulations.

    Shalini Verma is an entrepreneur and author.She tweets @shaliniverma1


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