Category Archives: How It Works

Virtual Reality in Europe

About to attend my first VR conference outside the USA, at VR & AR World in London. It will be interesting to see VR from a European perspective.

Continuing to focus on promoting emotional well-being with XR, to drive interactive content. Some of the healthcare presentations look promising. As always, anything Vive will be of great interest.

XR emotional metrics is a new area with boundless potential in therapy, research, and personal growth. Looking forward to meeting other like-minded participants.

Another way Virtual Reality can change the world

No more Us v Them – with its wars and power strangleholds (mostly by straight white men).
Be comforted and swaddled by a person not of your race and culture, in a haptic jacket of course.

Good For You

Medical advancements continue in the 21st century at an amazing pace, but the rest of healthcare is playing catch up. Only in the last few years have we built a constructive path towards providing affordable healthcare for all U.S. citizens. Also lagging has been the implementation of computer technology, though thanks to a large infusion of government funds as part of the recovery from the Great Recession, electronic health records have finally been implemented nationwide.

So what do we do with all this new technology? What do we do now that healthcare is connected and wired up?

Everyone can avail themselves of new medical advancements, but doing so may not always be a straightforward proposition, as the following anecdote helps illustrate:

When I was a kid, a line of products hit the market which attempted to solve the continuing problem of getting kids to eat their vegetables. The solution: wrap vegetables in french fries! I remember clamoring for my parents to buy these products, catchily named “I Hate Peas”, “I Hate Carrots”, and so on. These weird concoctions didn’t taste as bad as their namesake vegetables, but they didn’t taste as good as french fries either. Quickly passing in and out of our household and likewise consumer culture, their memory remains as part of a recurring theme in my life – I want what is good for me, but more importantly, I want to like it!

And so it goes with devices, apps, and activities that are good for us.

Many of us are overweight, not in good physical shape, overly stressed – in large part because healthy behaviours are not fun or rewarding enough. They seem too difficult.

So how can we use technology and other modern methods to make healthy behaviours more fun and more rewarding?

There are already working examples. The 10000-steps-a-day goal and easy-to-use calorie counters are major motivators for fitness band wearers to learn and practice healthy behaviours.

One area of tremendous promise is Virtual Reality (VR for short). Affordable and lightweight VR headsets are just now hitting the market, along with the first wave of apps. Soon everyone will be able to enter amazing environments which can encourage virtual speedwalking, skiing, and even dancing. Who wouldn’t want to stride through fabulous locations, ski over gorgeous landscapes or join in dancing to our favorite music with wonderful virtual partners?

 Healthcare providers and insurers, who are in the business of promoting healthy behaviours, could offset the cost of VR gear and apps and therefore bring more people to healthier, and yes, fun lifestyles. Even those who use VR without much physical activity can enjoy therapeutic benefits for stress, depression and other mental issues – some without even knowing it! And once people are engaged in new activities using VR, they can continue many activities the old-fashioned way, in the real world.

We are in an exciting time of technological advancements, but it is ultimately up to us to use them to our benefit.

Where Do We Go With Technology?

Since computers have been invented, a primary goal has been Artificial Intelligence – to design computers that “think” like people. A related utopian ( or dystopian? ) goal has been Singularity – where computers surpass humans’ abilities. In theory, computers would teach themselves to evolve much faster than humans to the point of becoming “super” beings with abilities we as humans can only dream of.
 Perhaps a more worthy goal for computers than making them think like people – or surpass people, would be to make computers that can help people be better people.

 By better – not necessarily smarter, bigger, stronger and more accomplished.

Actually happier, healthier, more fulfilled, more ethical and harmonious (with others and our surroundings).

 How can we do this?

 

LOUD and CLEAR

Child Abuse. Rape. Male domination and violence against women, children, the powerless. This shit has been going on for centuries.
Finally, finally it is surfacing like a breaching whale. On video.
Sick brutal behavior being called out.
LOUD and CLEAR

The Cost of Cosmopolitan Living

Mayor of London Boris Johnson is refusing to pay a U.S. tax bill. Turns out Johnson holds dual UK/US citizenship having been born in New York, and therefore is required to file U.S. tax returns. The IRS is demanding he pay capital gains tax on the sale of his primary residence in London, because the UK does not tax capital gains on the sale of first residences.

I’m no fan of Boris, yet another elite who is out of touch and/or uncaring about most people’s lives, but in this case he does have a point.

It iis< "very difficult" to give up U.S. citizenship, as he claims (multiple forms, fees and in-person pass/fail interviews with consular officials). And through no fault of his own he was born a U.S. citizen because his parents flitted between countries on socio-financial whims.

So he can blame Mummy and Daddy for his predicament. Or the over-encompassing new law (FATCA) intended to prevent American tax evaders from hiding money overseas, but which now affects every U.S. citizen living abroad.

Life is not always fair. Sometimes it takes considerable effort to deal with injustice while maintaining some measure of integrity. Rarely there are nightmare stories where lives are practically ruined by injustice, though one might think it is more common because the press gravitates towards these tragic stories – or questionably propagates them – as did the recent Guardian headline for an article about FATCA – "I was terrified we'd lose all our money."

Heaven forbid Bombastic Boris would ever come out and acknowledge his true place in all of this.

Knowledge is….

Power to the People!

Just made my donation to Wikimedia.