Archive for January, 2008

Haptic Education – Croquet

What is Haptic Education?
Adding the tactile sensation to virtual learning. Haptic, from the Greek αφη (Haphe), means “pertaining to the sense of touch” (Miriam-Webster’s Online dictionary), and haptic technology refers to technology that interfaces with the user via applied tactile and/or force feedback, i.e. vibrations and/or motions. Read More

‘Several examples of successful use of haptics have been demonstrated in the areas of the arts, design, entertainment, and medicine (Laycock & Day, 2003); however, the field of education has been as yet untapped. The main barriers for haptic usage historically have been computing power and the high price of haptic devices, which have limited/prevented the application of haptics in fields that are traditionally economically bounded such as education. However, in recent years the prices of haptic devices have come down to a degree where they are no longer cost prohibitive. Thus, it is now a financially viable option within the field of public education.’

Second Life and Croquet were explored in a haptic education research project. The project was to program a virtual frog that could be dissected incorporating force feedback using the Novint Falcon. Novint Falcon is haptic device costing $239.

From Wikipedia: “In June 2007, Novint Technologies, Inc. introduced the first affordable, high-fidelity 3D Touch (haptic) game controller. The Novint Falcon replaces a mouse or joystick and lets users feel realistic game interactions, objects, environments, and force feedback in enabled games.”

‘Our ultimate goal was to get the haptic device talking to the virtual world. That meant both navigation and haptic feedback. We could then build virtual objects with relative ease. Most modern virtual worlds offer easy object importation capabilities, and with resources like Google’s 3D Warehouse there was already a large selection to work with.’ Read detailed study

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SL and Croquet

Some key differences between Second Life and Croquet are highlighted by Max Borders in this article.

Some excerpts from the article –
‘Conceptually, Second Life is exactly where we want to be. It’s immersive, it’s distributed and it has just about everything we need to start building “metaverses” (Neal Stephenson’s prescient 1992 term for virtual realities that run in parallel with our own). The trouble comes, however, with the architecture—not just the software required to make Second Life an alternative to TV Land, but the whole technical edifice upon which our Internet lives are currently built.’

‘Second Life will never scale because its designers embraced the computing hardware and software status quo. The architecture we currently enjoy was designed in large part for two-dimensional computing. Adding another dimension requires tremendous processing and bandwidth resources–resources that will start to cause bottlenecks in the hierarchical structure of the Web itself.’

‘Croquet is thoroughly peer-to-peer in both its application and its architecture. So it is not vulnerable to the limitations of hierarchy – either conceptually, or technically. It is a platform for networking just about everything. Mac? PC? Linux? It doesn’t matter. Croquet is built on a “virtual machine”, which means it transcends the boundaries of both operating system and geography alike, like some encoded blueprint for the space-time continuum. It not only can it scale to the level of the imagination, it will eventually look cooler than any game dreamt up by 20 geeks at Sony – and we will all participate in its creation.

Another article called ‘7 ways Croquet is better than Second Life‘ compares the two technologies.

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