Intel, Sense 8 demonstrate virtual reality


ANNAPOLIS -- "It's sort of like the old Viewmaster, only more sophisticated," said Kevin Teixeira, a spokesman for Intel Corp., co-developer of the computer program he was about to demonstrate.

But comparing Mr. Teixeira's computer program to a Viewmaster is like comparing a Model-T to a Lamborghini: Each has a steering wheel and four tires, but it's hard to see many similarities after that.

Don a special helmet and, with a turn of your head, you can fly along with multicolored fish in the direction of a floating swimming pool. Hit the joystick in the right place and it fires like a speargun. Hit a fish and it sprouts wings and flies into the abyss.

The "world" Mr. Teixeira was visiting was that of virtual reality, or "VR," a computer technology that is so cutting-edge that many people outside the industry have never heard of it. VR systems use computers to create artificial, three-dimensional worlds in which people can act.

Mr. Teixeira has teamed with Ken Pimentel, a Sense 8 product manager, to write a book on virtual reality. It is scheduled to be published this fall.

Mr. Teixeira brought his flying-fish demonstration to Annapolis last week as part of a book tour.

Intel has teamed with Sense 8, a California business that specializes in VR software, and other companies that specialize in VR to explore its commercial possibilities.

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