Sunday, March 29, 2009

Project description

Name of my project - decode the experiences
key word - experience
description - My experiment look at how human in second life can decode and understand the story and meaning behind objects through smell.

My individual project is looking at the evolved sensors, focusing on smell.

our five senses allow us to understand and stay connect with the things around us. Of all our senses, smell is our most primal. Living organisms, our nature and environment, the things and objects around us, they all have stories behind them. However in physical world, we don’t have the ability to decode everyting that we come across. We smell the smells, we know what type of smell it is, like or dislike, familiar or not so familiar, but we can never have the ability to fully understand the information encoded in the smell, or what the smells is really suggesting, the story and meaning behind it. 2nd life has provide us a world with the ability to decode, digest and understand every single information encoded in the smell which is sturcture by binary codes, letting us to know the true meaning of it.

Therefore, what second life has contribute to us is the improvement in our smell sensory, enhance us with a more advance understanding of our nature and environment.

decode the experiences - storyboard

Film a banana from day one, when it is fresh and green, to black and dried out.

Then, film a man blowing different color’s chalk out from his nose, and reverse the film for the effect suggesting a man sniffing in particles.

The idea is that throught the different color and flow/movement of the chalk it portrays the emotions of the banana that is embedded in its smells at that particular stage of time.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

technology and environment-expert questions

some questions for the experts in the field on technology and environment that i’ve come up with:

1) What do you think is the biggest concern now for the environment that may led to population depletion or even human extinction if the condition continue to get worsen.

2) Can you foresee the connection between human and technologies in 80 years from now?

3) Do you think 80 years in the future, with all the technologies advancement that have either improved or degraded our living conditions, human will be perceiving things differently from current?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

individual research - how brain perceive smell?

How do we perceive tastes and smells? How are tastes and smells connected to communication?

Tastes and Smells

“When you put food in your mouth, odor molecules from that food travel through the passage between your nose and mouth to olfactory receptor cells at the top of your nasal cavity, just beneath the brain and behind the bridge of the nose. If mucus in your nasal passages becomes too thick, air and odor molecules can’t reach your olfactory receptor cells. Thus, your brain receives no signal identifying the odor, and everything you eat tastes much the same. You can feel the texture and temperature of the food, but no messengers can tell your brain, “This cool, milky substance is chocolate ice cream.” The odor molecules remain trapped in your mouth. The pathway has been blocked off to those powerful perceivers of smell–the olfactory bulbs.

Of all our senses, smell is our most primal. Animals need the sense of smell to survive. Although a blind rat might survive, a rat without its sense of smell can’t mate or find food. For humans, the sense of smell communicates many of the pleasures in life–the aroma of a pot roast in the oven, fresh-cut hay, a rose garden. Smells can also signal danger, fear, or dread.

Although our sense of smell is our most primal, it is also very complex. To identify the smell of a rose, the brain analyzes over 300 odor molecules. The average person can discriminate between 4,000 to 10,000 different odor molecules. Much is unknown about exactly how we detect and discriminate between various odors. But researchers have discovered that an odor can only be detected in liquid form. We breathe in airborne molecules that travel to and combine with receptors in nasal cells.”

read more

Our Chemical Senses: Olfaction

“Humans can detect on the order of 10,000 “odorants,” or substances that stimulate the sense of smell, and can detect some of these at concentrations as low as a few parts per trillion.”

Odors map onto specific brain areas

“Because sight, sound, and touch sensations map in a spatial way onto brain areas, researchers wondered if this happens with odors. They have found that in the olfactory bulb, neurons, their cytoplasmic processes, and support cells are not evenly distributed but form clumps called glomeruli. Certain odorants activate only one or a small number of glomeruli, producing a kind of mapping, although it is not a spatial map of the location of odors in relation to the body, but a functional map of odor types. Whether this mapping is continued at higher brain levels is uncertain. A type of spatial mapping also exists in the olfactory epithelium, in the nasal passages. Here, scientists have shown that certain volatile chemicals attach to receptor cells in defined patches of epithelium and not to others.”

Genes determine the kinds of odor receptors that we have, and experiences shape our perceptions

“Olfactory abilities vary widely among individuals — we all know someone who is able to smell things when no one else can, or someone who doesn’t seem to mind an unpleasant odor when most people do. Studies have shown that people who are unable to smell one or one class of odors frequently have small genetic differences from the general population. The inability to smell is called “anosmia,” and it may be general, or specific for one odor. Temporary general anosmia or “hyposmia” (lessened sense of smell) can result from a cold or certain medicines. “Hyperosmia,” a heightened sense of smell, can be a genetic trait.

Previous experiences and our physiological states also affect our reactions to odors and our perceptions. The odor of frying trout or hot cocoa may smell wonderful to a hungry camper, but terrible to someone with the stomach flu. A child who remembers her mother sprinkling cinnamon on her little brother’s vomit before cleaning it up may never want cinnamon cookies again, even as an adult.

Our expectations and beliefs can even affect measurements such as olfactory fatigue times. Studies have shown that the time for adapting to an odor is significantly different when people believe they are being exposed to a harmless aroma, compared to when they think they are smelling a hazardous substance, even when the odor is exactly the same.”

read more

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

individual research - second life

My part of the research is on the stimulation of the 5 senses in 2nd life. The five senses allow us to have sensory feelings, which leave us with the memories of our experiences. Without sensory feelings, virtual world will merely be a world with no emotions. Because everything in the virtual world is so different from the physical world, senses becomes the key linking between the physical and the virtual.

Everything in the virtual world is structured by binary code, if we have the ability to control and develop these binary codes to our liking, we will have the ability to make things that are impossible to do in the physical world happens in the virtual world.

An apple will taste like an apple in the physical world, but smell and taste in the virtual world are structured by binary codes. These means in the virtual world, an apple can have the taste of an orange, or any taste that we want the apple to be. Therefore, experiences in the virtual world will be unique and personal for each individual.

Experiment - Food in Virtual World

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Second Life - research area

I’m interested in exploring the stimulation of senses in virtual world. I believe emotion is one important factor in linking the physical and the virtual world, and sensory contact is the key to generate emotions. With emotions enable, living in virtual world can be just as convincing as real life.

recently, the idea of a virtual reality headset that can stimulates all 5 senses has been proposed by British scientists.

“Users of the new virtual reality headset will be able to hear roaring lions while on a virtual safari, smell the flowers of an Alpine meadow or feel the heat of the Caribbean sun on their face - all from the comfort of their chair. ”

World’s First Virtual Reality Headset Stimulates All 5 Senses

Revealed: The headset that will mimic all five senses and make the virtual world as convincing as real life

virtue and virtuality

Monday, March 16, 2009


The UNTLD workbook looked at the idea of an artificial second skin covering the human body which provide us with haptic feedback of our surroundings. Building on this idea, I’m interested in the exploration of embedding senses into virtual world because I believe that senses is the key element to generate emotions.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Just another idea for second life

I think that the idea of first life moving into second life doesn’t necessary means that human have to completely migrate into the virtual world. It can be that some sort of digital technology is being integrates into our body to change us from completely human form to some sort of like “humanic-robotic” form, and we can call this the second life of human being.

After World War 3, earth is almost being destroyed and the environmental condition is not anymore suitable for human habitation. However those who survived have to find a way to adapt themselves to the current condition. This is when the second life started. History proved that living things will evolve themselves to adapt the environment to become better in surviving and reproducing, but it takes decades for evolution to occurs. In order to increase the speed of evolution, scientists will invent a technology that can be used to integrates into human being to enable modification of our genetic code to evolve into a form that are able to adapt to the current environmental condition in a short period of time, or even instant adaptation. With this technology, human can survive in almost any condition (under water, up the mountain, extreme hot or cold condition etc).

Research on evolution:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

UNTLD workbook review

In the workbook UNTLD, it has suggested that we can trained our brains to have the ability to connect to the virtual world with the blink of an eye. So, for an individual to experience the full potential of the virtual world they need to fall asleep. And at the beginning of the workbook, it has mentioned about the idea of “having one’s mind downloaded into an IPod, or, achieve immortality in The Matrix or in a Sims Game.” If the technology in the future have the ability to download our mind into digital forms, when the earth has become a place not suitable for human habitation, this technology can help us to “stay alive” in a different way. Instead of having to fall asleep each time when we want to enter the virtual world, we can just transfer and download our mind and thinking into computers. Such a way, our physical body is no longer necessary and hence we will not be affected by the condition of the physical environment. By completely transfer ourselves to live in a virtual world may enable us to have unlimited experiences and unlimited life span. However, despite all these, it has taken away our sensory feelings.

The workbook also looked at the idea of using nanotechnology to create an artificial second skin covering the human body that can provide us with haptic feedback of our surroundings. Building on top of this idea, I’m interested in going into the research of embeding our senses in virtual world. ”Communication between people in the physical world happens on a much higher level.” This is because we have sensory feelings in physical world. If we can be able to communicate the same way in virtual world, which means we can feel, touch and smell, human living in a virtual world will have emotions as in the physical world.