Virtual Reality (Archive 1995-1998)

VR Evangelism

The Grand Vision as of 1995

Introducing 3D

Print Media

The Story that Started it
All "Virtual Reality - Virtually Here"

Real-time 3D Tools & Accelerators

CyberSpaceShip Adventures

Exploring the Multimedium

Maximum Impact

Future Pavilion Visions



3D Interfaces

Computing Fabrics & 3D





Future Pavilion Visions
None of these Pavilions were built but the designs and storylines are still well worth checking out.

Windows into New Worlds:

- 3D Pavilion Design Concept For COMDEX

Visualize the most eye-grabbing booth design on the show floor - a huge cylinder, a sphere, and a cube, arranged so as to define a plaza. In the plaza are smaller 3D objects housing interactive displays. Each 3D primitive is finished to resemble a different stage of rendering, from a wire-frame look to a fully texture-mapped solid. The Windows into New Worlds pavilion will be executed by the fabricators who won Best of Show at SIGGRAPH '94.

Hands-on interactive exhibits take show-goers into the third dimension of personal computing and make sense of it. Try-it-yourself areas let you experience and compare 3D input and navigational devices, 3D displays, Stereoscopic glasses, and Head Mounts.

Inside the cube is a PC-based, Windows NT driven fully immersive stereoscopic C.A.V.E. (remember those long lines at SIGGRAPH '94) - the C.A.V.E. is the closest you can get to the Holodeck.

A 20 foot Virtual Reality Dome fills the sphere, running under NT and capable of holding 50 people at a time, like a mini OMNIMAX theater, but able to project interactive 3D graphics, not just film.

And inside the cylinder is a Virtual Reality Theater-in-the-Round, presenting paradigm breaking, real-time 3D, multimedia applications running in Windows, both on and off the Internet.

There's a common thread to the diverse applications and technologies to be shown in the pavilion and Windows is it. Windows stands as the vehicle through which the mainstream will escape the bounds of 2D computing and enter the realm of 3D replete with multimedia, integrated applications, and a robust connection with the on-line world.

In many respects the Windows into New Worlds pavilion is the counterpart to the MAXIMUM IMPACT show but designed for much greater exposure. The next dimension of personal computing for thousands to see, hear, and touch.

SOFTBANK COMDEX has raised "the possibility" of contributing floor space for the pavilion. To bring this vision of the pavilion to life will require development, construction, transportation, assembly/breakdown, and staffing. The need for major sponsorship becomes clear. We will also need secondary sponsors - basically the same roles as for the show but broader, as the pavilion covers somewhat greater territory.

As you will see below, the promotional life of the pavilion and it's target market is far greater than a single COMDEX. It thus becomes an exceptionally attractive promotional opportunity.

Put it all together and you have THE EXPERIENCE of COMDEX, a memory that will live on long after COMDEX is over. Windows into New Worlds can certainly return to COMDEX in the future as it will remain highly relevant for years to come and updates can be easily made. But COMDEX is not the end of the pavilion - it's just the beginning.


Windows into New Worlds:

A Traveling Museum Pavilion Design Concept for a Science Museum Exhibit Road Show

Following it's premiere at COMDEX, the Windows into New Worlds pavilion hits the road, traveling around the US to stop at hands-on science museums, providing education to local businesses and the home market while providing it's sponsors incredible exposure.

This traffic is not to be underestimated. The Dallas Museum of Science and Technology draws more people each year than the SuperDome, and it's not even one of the top science museums in the country.

The demographics of visitors to these museums really stand out: primarily upper middle income families that invest in computers, software, educational and learning materials, travel, and entertainment.

The hottest exhibits, Dinosaurs and Federation Science (based on Star Trek), draw crowds of between 300,000 and 450,000 over a 3 month stay. Even low budget multimedia fairs, held at these museums over a weekend, attract 20,000 attendees from both home users and local businesses.

Surveys show that people trust these museums to provide accurate and useful information and they spend their money at the museums to get it.

Information isn't the only thing they buy. It's not unusual for the gift shop at a museum hosting Federation Science to sell $10,000 of merchandise a day. This just hints at the merchandising opportunities associated with the traveling pavilion. New products now coming down the pike, such as Microsoft's 3D Movie Maker, are an absolute natural for on-site sales.

With proper design up front the Windows into New Worlds pavilion will need absolutely no modifications whatsoever to be ready for the museums - only simple software swapouts at most.

It is also possible to anticipate future updates and prepare for them at design time. Such future updates may include fitting motion platforms and directly interconnecting the sphere, cube, and cylinder to form a multi-room domain which can be dynamically re-purposed. The exhibit will have a long lifetime indeed.

The Windows into New Worlds exhibit, with it's VR DOME, CAVE, VR Theater, and Head Mounted Displays, will generate Brontosaurus-sized crowds everywhere it appears.

I want to see all of our sponsors of the COMDEX pavilion continue with support for the road show. Beyond these, I would like to pickup a small number of additional sponsors specifically focused on the home market - an affiliation with home-oriented and consumer-oriented computer periodicals would be ideal.

The promotional opportunity for sponsors and the good will to be generated are unmatched.

- A show with Meaning, Purpose, and Educational Content

...(yes, excitement and promotion too!)

This is the show series we've been developing content for since the mid-eighties, that has evolved from our earlier performance works Into the Mind of the Scientist and Lost in VR, and that we've been planning since early '94.

Powerdigms, short for Powerful Paradigms, takes the audience on wild, interactive rides into the realm of models, perspectives, theories, and points of view.

The first mission: Powerdigms of the Multimedium.

An A-life creature named Aleph is found consuming cycles from the CyberSpaceShip's central computer following a tumultuous ride into an uncharted region of Cyberspace, known only by legend as the Multimedium.

Aleph offers navigational assistance. In exchange, he asks the crew (read audience) to help him locate his creator, a renaissance woman in search of absolute truth.

As Aleph and crew explore the Multimedium, questions arise concerning Aleph's creator: What does it really mean to be a scientist? To be an artist? What does being human mean?

The quest for answers leads the crew to the discovery and experience of their first Powerdigm: science and art are flip sides of the same coin - both rely on mental models to span the chasm between abstract ideas and concrete experiences - science primarily moves one way across this chasm and art the other - and to be human is to move freely in both directions.

The crew becomes empowered - each member directly experiences their own mind performing as a scientist and as an artist. They can understand. They can create. They have the wherewithal to venture forth with Aleph into still deeper questions of reality, meaning, and truth - in search of new Powerdigms.

Though the waters are deep, the crew never bores or feels out of their depth, a consequence of original pedagogy, clever metaphors, outrageous visuals, sound, theatrics, and special effects, and a format of interactivity that supports collaboration (not just majority-rules voting).

An engineering systems display in the CyberSpaceShip continually alerts the crew to the products, vendors, and technologies in use - without breaking the dramatic context. This supports both the promotional needs of the sponsors and the informational needs of the audience.

Powerdigms truly operates on multiple levels. It promotes. It entertains. It informs and educates. It provides more than content - it dares to enter the realm of the meaningful.

And most importantly, it empowers, giving each participant the direct experience that there is more to the world and to themselves than they could see from their previous perspective.

That's the bottom line - removing the limitations that we live under when we view the world and ourselves from a single point of view. That's the reason for the "s" in Powerdigms, to escape the straight jacket of a single model, theory, or perspective, no matter how powerful. To encourage and enable multiplicity.

Powerdigms is flexible. It can travel to both art and science museums. At industry trade shows it can become the core, the main menu so to speak, of a larger event, surrounded by breakout sessions that explore in greater detail the products and vendors featured.

And Powerdigms can be instantiated as a live show, traveling or stationary, it can be an exhibit, a CD-ROM, a TV show, and books of all types, from comics to coffee table.

The story I've outlined is just the first in a series.

There is seemingly no end to the multiplicity of Powerdigms.


By Linda Von Schweber
& Erick Von Schweber

Copyright 1996-2004 by Infomaniacs. All Rights Reserved.
Updated January 25, 2002