Wearable Computing Initiative:
Quasi-Immersive VR
L. Van Warren
Warren Design Vision
Reformatted with Google Ads 2/21/2005

A futurist once said, "when there is a change of paradigm, everybody starts at zero".  The current desktop is not real time, living stereo 3D.  We seek a wearable Johnny Mnemonic computing experience before the turn of the millennium.  A continuing unfolding of the computer revolution.  What's the best way to continue the computer revolution? Change the paradigm.  How?  Do what Disney did for the classics.  Do what Sony did for wearable entertainment.

VR technology has been around for awhile, but it is not yet universally accessible or practical.  One reason for this is that existing VR technologies are totally immersive and tend to cut the user off from important environmental cues and communication.  People are highly optimized for awareness of their surroundings.  This document introduces the notion of a quasi-immersive VR experience that allows the user to perform all conventional computing activities in a lightweight, binocular wearable system that is easy to use, and enables a rapid shift of focus to their surroundings.  This QI-VR system will combine telephony, edutainment, and conventional desktop computing in a lightweight package.  It will further facilitate a myriad of new design activities by allowing a higher bandwidth of user input that has previously been available.
Contributing factors:
1)  Binocular wearable computing is the next great frontier.
2) Operating systems and user interface issues are  well understood.
3) The market is poised for a creative, innovative explosion of this technology.
My proposal is to tie together three existing technologies to produce a novel product of broad appeal for real people at a fair price.  These technologies are: wearable display technology, wearable interface technology and PlugAndPlay system software.  A project like this requires a benefactor of significant resource.  An appropriate benefactor is a large software or hardware company with an existing research and development department, with a product development cycle and marketing arm.  When not available in-house, required technologies will be developed or acquired from other industry and academic sources as appropriate.  The overall time frame for product demonstration will be 1 calendar year with a Phase One feasibility demonstration appearing in six months at a cost of 21 professionals and $3.2 M. 
VRB - Virtual Ray Bans
The Virtual Ray Bans will be a lightweight pair of prescription glasses with a 1 cm diameter auxiliary display at the six o'clock position on the lens shortening the focal length of an 1024 x 768 integrated display device.  The remaining real estate on the lens is available for normal viewing, including peripheral vision.  On each ear will be a small walk-man type earphone capable of 40-20,000 Hz frequency response.  A thin profile microphone will extends down to the wearers lips to enable telephony & videophony.
Although preliminary versions of such devices have begun to appear, no one has yet exploited binocular stereopsis for an enhanced three dimensional viewing experience in a consumer product.  Further the six o'clock reading position that optimizes near viewing without loss of peripheral vision has not yet been fully exploited.
Each lens will be driven by a 500 MHz Dec Alpha Class machine running Microsoft Windows NT 5.0.  This pair of processors are designated VRP - Virtual Ray Processors.  The VRP will deliver synchronized binocular digital video streams to the user.  These two streams will flow via micro coax trailing off the ear piece, behind the head, around the front of the shoulder and into a combined IR link/power supply broach.  A staff optometrist will be available for writing and filling prescriptions for the Virtual Ray Bans in a variety of frame styles and colors.  A similar strategy will be executed during consumer distribution of the product.
VRG - Virtual Ray Gloves
Complementing the VRB product, which can be used with a conventional mouse and keyboard, will be the VRG - Virtual Ray Gloves.  Made of Spandex in a variety of colors, these stretch to fit gloves house user customizable joint position encoders and microaccelerometers to detect virtual keypresses and touch impacts.  Like The Virtual Ray Bans, the VRG are a numerically fitted product.  An image of the users hand, transmitted via fax or email provide the necessary shape data for characterizing the hand.  The gloves will be manufactured on partially automated assembly lines.  The fabric will be cut using the user shape templates on computer controlled laser cutting tables.  Because of their increased spatial resolution they also adaptable for use by handicapped or paraplegic individuals.  This will result in positive public relations.  Virtual keypresses are previewed to the user in a subwindow prior to commit via finger tapping.  The VRG gloves will have two modes, a typing mode, and a sculpting mode.  In sculpting mode the key mapping feature is supplemented by a high spatial resolution encoding feature to allow user's to interactively paint, sculpt, build, program and connect objects together.  This will  reduce the labor intensive nature of computer modeling, especially in the construction of virtual worlds.  Because they will use inexpensive fiber optic position encoding technology the gloves will retail for approximately the price of a keyboard.  The gloves connect to the VRP processors via a low power RF link.
There is no computer vocation or use that is not affected by these products.  Further the VRG project takes computing to game, entertainment, athletic, service venues and others that are impossible to anticipate.  These products will require a minimal incremental software engineering effort utilizing off the shelf technologies to enable the dual processor machines to deliver synchronized video, web, and desktop content to the user.

Definition of Responsibilities, Time, Budget & Resources Allocation

VRB Subgroup
    responsible for developing all aspects of the VRB headset including the fiber link.
    the VRB headset links to the desktop VRP processors via IR link.
VRG Subgroup
    responsible for developing all aspects of the VRB gloves.
    the VPG gloves link to the VRP processors via hands free RF link.
VRP Subgroup
    responsible for packaging the twin AlphaNT systems into a briefcase, satchel,
    backpack and desktop designs.
    responsible for the VRP resident plug and play software that drives the
    VRB and VRG

VRB Subtasks Phase 1
    VRB display
        1 person  6 months    1x$75K + $50K = $125K
    VRB staff optometrist
        1 person  6 months    1x$75K + $50K = $125K
    VRB optics
        1 person 6 months    1x$75K + $50K = $125K
    VRB power
        1 person 6 months    1x$75K + $50K = $125K
    VRB link
        2 person 6 months    2x$75K + $250K = $500K
VRB Subtotal 6 people 6 months                   $1500K

VRG Subtasks
    VRG encoder
        1 person 6 months    1x$75K + $50K = $125K
    VRG fabric
        1 person 6 months    1x$75K + $50K = $125K
    VRG power
        1 person 6 months    1x$75K + $50K = $125K
    VRG link
        2 person 6 months    2x$75K + $250K = $500K
VRG Subtotal 5 people 6 months                   $875K

VRP Subtasks
    VRP package design team
        2 person team  6 months    2x$75K + $50K = $200K
    VRP plug and play integration team
        4 person team  6 months    4x$75K + $50K = $200K
VRP Subtotal  6 people 6 months                   $400K

VRP Legal, Clinical & Liability
    4 person team 6 months 4 x $100K + $50K = $450K
VRP Subtotal  4 people 6 months                   $450K

VRB Demonstrator Program Total 21 people 6 months $3225K

Metric of success.  The project goals will be considered to have been met if over three quarters of the team continues to refine their design work using the VRB technology instead of their conventional desktop systems.

Addenda: Random Notes

New app software: Net based applications.
Open architecture.  Can be contributed by anyone.
Students, professionals, young and old.

Three dimensional, real time view of file system, with important things large/near and things I don't care about small/far.

I want the desktop designed by they guy who did the login session for Johnny Mnemonic.  I want industrial light and magic under the hood.  I want the visible V-8 engine.  Iwant to see every valve and every piston,  Iwant to be able to turn it off.  If I touch something that is moving and say more, i want more detail.  if i touch something and say less, i want the detail to fade.  I want that for my local machine, i want that for my server, i want that for my world view.  I want to see the circulation of information in my system as a real time corporeal animation.  When I send info to the printer, i want to see the bits go there.  I want a mechanistic, electric experience.  As I use my computer I want it to get used to my priorities, without putting things I need once in a while too far out of the way.  i want a bird's eye view of the information superhighway.  i want real time trace route running in the background.  i want to know who i talked to today.  i want to know where they were and what the weather was like.  i want every event logged and i want to flag important ones.  i want my computer to be my telephone.  i want all my communication to be encrypted at 128 bits RSA with no back door.  i want my computer to be my television.  i want to sit on my bed at night and read any book in the library of congress on my computer at high resolution.  i want to rent a movie from the video store and see it on my computer, only i don't want to go to the video store.  i want to check on my kid's classroom with my computer.  i want my computer to be a pair of glasses that i wear with little walkman earphones and a little tiny microphone going to my lips.  and i want to be able to play football while wearing it.  when i take it off my friends will point at me and whisper, "he's offline", as in, "out of it".  i want the entire thomas register on my computer and i want to be able to get at any manufacturer of any part in real time and get a price and time to delivery in less than 5 seconds.

i want  finder, nettop and desktop done in a rich softImage expression.
i want to extend the desktop analogy to be the worldTop analogy.  i want to access food, commodity, information, museum and entertainment from my computer.  i want to buy and sell, to rock and roll.

i can walk down the street, hands free and see my worldTop through the stereoscopic images in my sunglasses.  i can also see the sidewalk and not get hit by a car, but if i do get hit by a car, i want my computer to call 911 and report my GPS location and send my heart rate and respiration.  i want all the data i have generated to be stored on a DVD library and put in the WorldView archive for inspection by current and future generations.

 i want to be able to import in any document i ever created in the last 25 years, paper, Unix, Mac, Windows, C/C++/Java programs, images, html, etc.

computers are about communication.  i want to see people in little picture frames.   i want to see everyone i supervise in a little window and i want them to be able to see me.  i also want to see what is on their screen at any given time.  if i click on their screen i want it to get big.  if i click on their picture i want it to get big.  when the picture is big, i want it in hi definition TV format. if they want to replace their image with an avatar, that's ok. i want them to have an avatar builder that is nice.

i want to survey the whole wide world of computer users and ask them what the top ten applications that they use are, and then ask each of the ten former mac clone makers to take responsibility to develop, maintain and sell one of the ten key applications.

the controlling idea is, take me on a drive through cyberspace.  i want my computer and screens to be indistinguishable from my car and steering wheel.  i want to spend my days working in cyberspace, but producing change in the real world that was first planned, financed, approved and executed in virtual reality.

 i can set the briefcase down on my desk, open up the panoramic 21" high definition color corrected screen and swing out the high fidelity Bose speakers and work on editing my latest high definition television presentation for uplink to my employer. personal publishing meets personal production.
i want every idea that i can think of to become a three d working movie within 10 minutes like the red blob dodge commercial.  have it out in time for next Christmas.

The real time, three dimensional, Johnny Mnemonic computing experience by 1999.