Have you ever wanted to play the video game Portal in real life? Well now you can...sort of.
Developed for her thesis, Jayne Vidheecharoen's "Portals to a virtual/real parallel world" will allow anyone anywhere on the face of the planet to interact with anyone else anywhere on the planet. All you need is a pair of these portal boxes and an internet connection.
The portals consist of two boxes with a screen on the front and a "gateway" or a hole on the side of the box for you to stick your hand through. When you stick your hand through it instantly appears on the screen--in the virtual world. You can also put real physical objects like toy soldiers through the gateway where it will appear in the virtual world.
The virtual world allows two individuals from anywhere on the planet to interact in this virtual world. Additionally, Vidheecharoen says that since objects from the real world are now in this parallel world, real-world rules can be broken. For example, a solid object could be animated in this real-virtual hybrid.
Currently, thanks to green screens, the interactive parallel universe takes place in Google Streetview. As can be seen in the video below, it appears that the toy people are actually standing on the road.
While you obviously can't physically touch the other persons hands or objects in the portal, Vidheecharoen says that there are a ton of potential uses for this product, like puppet shows or building entire parallel worlds.
This is not meant to be a commercial product, but it is an experimental design project to explore these virtual experiences. However, funding from Kickstarter will go towards building a pair of portals so that Vidheecharoen can continue her research. To learn more about these portals and to see all the gritty details checkout Vidheecharoen's campaign on Kickstarter and her thesis blog.
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