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180 Degrees of Immersive War

posted Jan 30, 2013, 10:01 PM by Ellen Pearlman

180 Degrees of Immersive War

This is not the war, but it is Southeast Asia standing in front of San Francisco

 I recently listed to a live stream of the NY Tech Meetup. Danfung Dennis whose footage in PBS Frontline Obama’s War was nominated for a 2010 Emmy Award, and whose documentary, Hell and Back Again is nominated for the 2012 Academy Award. Danfung, working with engineers and technologists has created a more in-depth viewing experience for both iPads and surround globe viewers called Condition One. It is a 180 dome that is embedded in a flat surface like the iPad or iPhone, allowing the viewer to move around an image as it unfolds as if they were at the scene. It can also be used just as a standalone device in a immersive viewer.

A view of immersive war - you can pan live time 180 degrees

Though it is being hailed as a “virtual reality” experience, I think that is a bit of a misnomer, its more an “augment reality” experience.True virtual reality is “computer- simulated environments that can simulate physical presence in places in the real world, as well as in imaginary worlds.” When viewing Danfungs app, you can look away from it at any point, as it is only the size of either a tablet or an iPhone. VR has to be 3D, and Condition One is not 3D. VR lists “simulation, interaction, artificiality, immersion, telepresence, full-body immersion, and network communication” as defining what it really is. Augmented Reality on the other hand is “live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data… The technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one.”

Dennis says the idea is to “license its propitiatory software technology to led media companies into the tablet space.” You can, however, with just a finger swipe, move around inside the footage. This is because the gyroscopes and accelerometers of those devices are transfixed to the content to provide the immersive viewing window. He has said it is “almost like gaming.” Well, maybe, but being a war correspondent and having someone blown to bits in front of you in Afghanistan is quite a ways different, even for the most ardent voyeur.

Soon it will allow live stream video, which means sports events, wars, wedding, protests or even x-rated fare.