Jerry Lawson: A video game pioneer

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Jerry Lawson was a largely self-taught electrical engineer and video game pioneer who was almost forgotten during his lifetime. His father was a longshoreman who loved to read about science; his mother was uncompromising in her insistence that her son get a good education.

Lawson moved from the east coast to what is now known as Silicon Valley in the late 1960s and took a job with Fairchild Semiconductor. While he was at Fairchild he oversaw the development of the Fairchild Channel F gaming console. This was the first console with it’s own microchip, the first console with enough processing power to allow the player to play against a programmed AI, and the first console that was able to play games stored on a removable cartridge. The Channel F was also the first gaming console that allowed players to pause the game and adjust game parameters with a button on the controller.

Lawson was a maverick who went his own way and in doing so, introduced features to console gaming that are still with us today. He was creative, talented, interesting and he had some great stories to tell.

I’ve written a profile of Jerry Lawson for Ars Technica. Check it out if you’d like to learn more about a guy that should have been recognized and honored more widely than he was.

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Baseball: Engaging the audience – Part 2

yoenis cespedes

For the past 13 years Major League Baseball (MLB) has seen record growth, reaching revenues in the neighborhood of $9.5 billion in 2015. Nevertheless, every year “Take me out to the ballgame” is sung with an accompaniment of hand wringing over baseball’s perceived failure to attract a younger audience.

People have seriously proposed that shaving 10 minutes off the average game will pull in younger viewers. I argued that speeding up the game is not the answer in a previous article. While time and effort is given to correcting inconsequential weaknesses like speed of play, one of the core strengths that makes baseball so attractive is ignored. You want to attract people to baseball? Play to your strengths.

baseball brainBaseball is often called the thinking person’s game because it combines infinitely nuanced game play with enough time for the knowledgeable fan to engage with the strategies and tactics that are being played out on the field. The key word here is “knowledgeable”. The audience has to understand what’s happening on the field if they are going to engage with the game at a level that turns casual viewers into passionate fans. You want to attract fans? Help them engage with the game.

In Part 1 of this series I offered suggestions about how to engage the audience by bringing them information that enriches their understanding of the game. Having the information you need is only part of the story. The other part is being able to do something enjoyable and entertaining with that information. How can you do that?

Give the audience baseball cards.

Wait! Come back!

I’m not talking about your grandfather’s bubble gum and cardboard cards. It’s the 21st century – I’m talking about digital baseball cards. I’m also not talking about the digital cards currently being produced by card companies that are appealing to nostalgia for the old cardboard cards. I’m talking about a card that would be produced by MLB and designed to be used in ways that will increase the audience’s engagement with the game.

Designing digital baseball cards

Like the old-school cardboard cards, digital baseball cards have the player’s picture on the front and his stats on the back. The difference between digital cards and their forebears lies in what you can do with both the picture and the stats.

harper 4harper 1Let’s start with how to engage fans with the picture. Card sets can be designed with a default picture (or gif) of each player and one or two alternates. When people order a set they can choose which picture they want. They get the default picture if they don’t make a choice for a particular player.

Another option might be to offer two or three pictures of each player before the season starts. Everyone who preorders a card set can vote for the picture they prefer. The picture with the most votes is the one that will appear on the card when the set is ready for download.

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Throughout the season MLB chooses a player of the week in both the National and American Leagues. Each week a new picture of the chosen player could be made available. Card holders could then choose whether they wanted the original or the new picture to appear on their copy of the player’s card. The same thing could be done with the players of the month, the players who make the All-Star Team, or the rosters of the teams that make the playoffs. A new picture for each player could be added when a team advances to the next round in the postseason. Which player will end the season with the most pictures in their card set?

The picture on the card is eye candy; the stats on the back are the meat. Baseball statistics have undergone a revolution with the widespread use of advanced analytics. The stats on the back of the card could be offered in two packages, a set of traditional stats or a set of sabermetric stats. Better yet, offer a full menu of both traditional and advanced stats and let the card owner choose which individual stats she wants on her cards.

glossary-of-baseball-statistics-01

Like the picture on the front, the stats on the back can be changed throughout the season. Every major league park is equipped with PITCHf/x and Statcast that gather data and make it available in real time. If it’s possible to do it, the stats on the cards could be updated in real time using the Pitchf/x and Statcast data. Failing that, stats could be updated once a day after all of the day’s games have been played. As we will see, this is the feature that makes digital cards a key that unlocks fan engagement.

What might these cards cost? I have no doubt MLB can think of many ways to monetize digital cards. However, if they focus on the cards as a way to foster engagement with baseball, MLB might want to consider giving the cards away for free. The gain in revenue from increased fan interest and TV viewership may well offset the cost of producing the cards, maintaining the update system, and whatever MLB may have gained from sales.

Cards with pictures and stats that can be changed throughout the season are cool, but if all you are going to do is look at the cards they aren’t going to do much to create engagement with the game. You want to use the cards as well as look at them. This is where the fun really begins, and this is why keeping the stats on the cards updated is important.

Using digital baseball cards

There are many ways digital cards can be used to enhance people’s engagement with the game. Here are several suggestions.

Fantasy baseball

UNCLESAMProvide a set of cards that is designed for fantasy baseball leagues. At the beginning of the season the league commissioner gets one full set of cards and the fantasy league players download an app that lets them share cards with the commissioner. Trades between players go through the commissioner. MLB provides the commissioner with new cards as needed throughout the season when a player who was not in the set at the beginning of the season is brought up from the minors. The stats on the cards update daily.

Player vs player baseball matches

MLB designs (or licenses) a social video game that allows two players to control MLB teams and compete against each other using consoles, PCs, or mobile platforms. The MLB players on each team are represented with digital cards that update every day. Many game variants are possible.

  • Pitcher vs batter – The defensive player chooses pitch type and location; the offensive player chooses pitch type, location, and whether or not to swing. The outcome of each pitch is determined by the players choices and the batter and pitcher’s current stats for pitch type and location. An easier version that only asks players to call type of pitch could be used to introduce people to the game. An advanced version could constrain pitchers to throw types of pitches to specific locations in roughly the same proportion they do in real life. For example, a pitcher that throws 65% fastballs must throw 65% +/- 5% fastballs during the game. Special card decks are provided that have the stats used in the game on the back and the stats are updated every day.
  • ned yostManager vs manager – Players make managerial decisions while the pitcher vs batter confrontation is handled by the computer. On offense managers can make the usual calls (e.g., bunt, steal, hit and run, etc.) and can also call for changes in the batter’s approach depending on the count and the game situation. For example, the manager can call for a power hitter to change to a more conservative collins harveyput-the-ball-in-play approach when there’s a runner in scoring position and the batter is behind in the count. On defense managers can position players for typical situations (e.g., 3rd baseman guards the line, 1st baseman holds the runner, the infield is brought in, etc.), can employ a variety of defensive shifts, and can call for changes in pitching strategy depending on pitch count and game situation. The card decks for manager vs manager games come with an additional manager card that gives the relevant team stats for all of the calls the manager can make. MLB player and manager stats are updated daily.
  • Skill matches – Players compete against each other using the same team. Players can decide starting lineups and substitutions throughout the game with the outcome depending mainly on player skill. Matches can be played in either pitcher vs batter or manager vs manager mode. An interesting variant requires each team to use the same pitcher and the same lineup.
  • people-spend-3-hours-playing-gamesGame day matches – Two players watch a live game and play the pitcher vs batter game in real time. Offense calls pitch type, location and whether or not to swing; defense calls pitch type and location. Points are awarded based on whether the game player’s choices match what happens in the game. For example, both players get points if they call fastball and the pitcher throws a fastball. If the pitcher’s player calls for a fastball in on the hands, the batter’s player calls for a fastball on the lower outside corner, and the real pitcher throws in on the hands, the pitcher’s player gets additional points and the batter’s player does not. On offense, players get maximum points if they correctly call pitch type and location, and the real batter gets a hit or a walk. On defense, players get maximum points if they correctly call pitch type and location, and the real batter swings and misses or gets a called strike. Players must make their calls in real time. If you think baseball is too slow, try playing a game-day match and realize you are considering only a small proportion of what the real pitchers and batters have to deal with between pitches.
  • baseball-cards1Historical card sets – Card sets can be made up of great players, great years, or great teams from the past. Stats for great player sets are the player’s career stats; great year stats are for particularly great seasons by individual players; great team sets have each player’s stats for a particular year. The historical sets can be used in any of the game variants. The great player set could include an average player card for every position so fans could pit teams against each other that aren’t composed entirely of superstars. Individual historical cards can be inserted into the lineups of modern teams. Do the Pirates beat the Cubs in last year’s one-game divisional playoff if they can pitch Sandy Koufax against Jake Arrieta? Play it out and see what happens.

MLB could produce different card sets for each of these game variants and – with the exception of the historical sets – the sets could be locked so that cards from one game can’t be used in another. However, a single process should be able to update the stats for the players in all of the card sets.  Once the difficult job of designing and building enjoyable games is finished, keeping the games going with daily stats updates should be relatively easy.

If you build it, they will come

Digital baseball cards are only one way to facilitate audience engagement with the game. The solution to attracting a wider audience to baseball doesn’t lie in finding the right app, it lies in identifying the game’s strengths and coming up with creative ways to focus audience engagement on those strengths. Baseball is a deep game that features a pace of play that allows the audience to engage with its tactical and strategic complexity. Bring the knowledge to the audience that allows them to understand the game, and then give them enjoyable ways to use that knowledge to engage with the game.

If you build it, they will come.

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Twenty-six years of hip-hop in a brilliant infographic

 

Rap infographic 2

If all you saw was the image above along with the title – Billboard’s “Hot Rap Songs” Chart (1989-2015) – you’d have no idea what’s waiting at the other end of the link. Hit it and you’ll find that Matthew Daniels at Polygraph has created what may be the best infographic about music ever.

Even if you don’t like hip-hop, you should check this out. It’s that good.

The heart of the infographic is a side scrolling chart that automatically rolls from 1989 to 2015. The chart logs songs that peaked in the top 5 each week and follows their positions in the top 10 as long as they stayed on Billboard’s chart.

As the chart scrolls through each week you listen to a sample from the song that was #1 for the week. The longer the song stayed at #1, the more of it you hear. The end result is a mix of of #1 hip-hop hits covering 26 years. The only break in the music (and the only weakness of the infographic) is that there’s no sound for some songs.

A slider on the bottom of the chart lets you start the roll anywhere you like. Mouseing over the little artist circles that are moving up and down as the artist’s hits move up and down the chart brings up the artist’s entry on last.fm to the left of the chart.  Click on the artist circle and you can listen to the song instead of the constantly changing mix of #1 songs.

If you know this music, the chart’s a trip down memory lane that could easily eat up the rest of your day. If you aren’t familiar with hip-hop, it’s hard to imagine a better introduction. And if your ears are so closed that you won’t even listen to hip-hop, don’t despair. Daniels says he’s working on doing the same thing for other musical genres.

Why are you still reading this? Click the link.

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The toughest bass player on the planet

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On February 4th, 1945 Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin sat down together for the first day of the Yalta Conference where they divided up Germany and reconfigured Eastern Europe at the end of World War 2. The whole world was watching.

On that same day, Jane Little made her debut playing bass with the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra (ASO). She had turned 16 two days before. Far fewer people were watching.

She did a good job and the ASO asked her back the next year – and the year after that, and the year after that, and the year . . .

. . . 71 years later, on February 4th, 2016, Germany was reunited, FDR, Churchill and Stalin had been dead for 50 years or more, and the Soviet Union no longer existed. But Ms. Little was still in the bassist’s chair at the ASO setting the record for the longest tenure for a musician playing with a single orchestra.

Ms. Little is well named. She weighs 98 pounds and her bass is a foot taller than she is. Have you ever tried to play a concert bass? It is physically demanding. The steel strings are thick and heavy, and the space between notes is large. It takes great hand strength and endurance to play the instrument at all, let alone play with a symphony orchestra where the bass has to compete with 70 or more fellow musicians.

Ms. Little is not only little, she’s not well. She has cancer – multiple myeloma – and is undergoing chemotherapy. Have you ever undergone chemotherapy? It kicks your ass. She is also in daily pain from a cracked vertebra which she suffered in a fall last August. To manage the pain she takes steroid pills before she performs.

The bass is often called the foundation of a band. The ASO has been grounded on a rock for 71 years.

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Taking a closer look at the confidence eyewitnesses have in the accuracy of their memory

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The release last week of the Netflix documentary Making of a Murderer has generated renewed interest in the issue of rape convictions that are overturned on the basis of subsequent DNA analysis. In most of these cases, the prosecution’s case rested heavily on the victim’s mistaken identification of the defendant as the man who raped her.

Identifications of the defendant as the rapist are almost always made with high confidence during a trial. The fact that false convictions for rape are usually accompanied by these mistaken but confidently expressed IDs has contributed to the perception that eyewitness memory is unreliable.

Eyewitnesses usually pick a suspect out of a lineup long before they ID that suspect during a trial. How confident was the eyewitness that their memory was accurate when they first identified the suspect? Quite often an eyewitness’s initial level of confidence is not nearly as high as the confidence they express during the trial. Juries aren’t usually told about this initial level of confidence.

A team of scientific investigators has recently published a review of recent research that shows that an eyewitness’s initial level of confidence in the accuracy of their memory is a good indicator of the actual guilt of the suspect. Eyewitnesses that are very confident when they first pick a suspect out of a lineup are much more likely to have identified the guilty person than eyewitnesses who are less confident.

I’ve written a feature article for Ars Technica titled ” “I think this is the guy” – The complicated confidence of eyewitness memory” that takes a look at the relationship between eyewitness confidence and eyewitness accuracy. The article examines research which shows that initial levels of confidence are diagnostic of guilt. It also describes some of the ways a low level of confidence expressed during a lineup can turn into a high level of confidence expressed during a trial. Finally, it presents some suggestions about how this research can be used to make it less likely that innocent people will be convicted of crimes they did not commit.

Please check out the article if this topic interests you.

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The Sound of Silence

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The Sound of Silence by Disturbed

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This post is for the neon god, Donald Trump.

Thanks to Marc Fishman for bringing it to my attention.

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Microsoft takes customer support to another level

 

Friendly support with computer mesage

Long wait times. Terrible music and constant reminders about how important your call is while you sit on hold. Listening to people who are hard to understand read from a script. Explaining your problem again and again after being put on hold and getting disconnected. Welcome to the world of customer support. We’ve all been there and done that.

And then this happens.

I pulled the trigger and bought an Xbox One – Rise of the Tomb Raider bundle from the Microsoft online store shortly after midnight on Thanksgiving. I paid about $10 extra for 2-3 day shipping. The package shipped by UPS and tracking said it was on time to be delivered on the third day, Tuesday. Around 10:00 am Tuesday morning UPS tracking said delivery was on time. An hour or so later tracking said the package was in the delivery facility but they hadn’t put it on the truck so it would be delivered later – probably Wednesday. I called MSoft and requested a refund of the additional shipping cost because the package wasn’t delivered in 2-3 business days.

Microsoft Media LogoAt first the MSoft customer support rep, who gave his name as Shawn, told me Wednesday was the third day because UPS was closed on the Friday after Thanksgiving so it didn’t count as a business day. That argument failed when it was noted that UPS had logged the package into their system on Friday when they were supposedly closed. Shawn then agreed that a refund was due but said I would have to get it from UPS because the failure was theirs, not MSoft’s. He offered to connect me to UPS customer support which I asked him to do.

ups logoI went through the explanation of what had happened with the UPS customer support rep, read them the tracking number about 5 times before they managed to enter it into their system correctly, countered all of their arguments about why it wasn’t their fault, and was finally told that, yes, they owed me a refund and would I please wait on hold while they set the refund up.

I was put on hold.

And disconnected.

A few seconds later a different customer rep came on the line and read me the same “hello” script I had heard before. I went through the same explanation of what had happened once again. First he told me the package wasn’t really late and the problem was that I didn’t understand  the tracking information UPS provided on their website. I told him I’ve been in the shipping business for well over a decade and have shipped thousands if not tens of thousands of packages. I know how to read tracking info. He then told me that yes, the package is late, but I have to get a refund from MSoft. He said UPS can’t give me a refund because they don’t have a shipping agreement with me, their contract is with MSoft.

call importantSo far it’s just what you expect from customer support when you request a refund, right? MSoft points the finger at UPS, UPS points the finger at MSoft, nobody takes responsibility, and the customer gets screwed. I say to the rep, “So MSoft tells me I have to get a refund from you, and you tell me I have to get a refund from MSoft.” He says, “Yes, you have to go to MSoft.”

And then the script went out the window when a voice came on the line and said, “You don’t have to go to Microsoft because Microsoft is here.”

After he connected me to UPS customer support, Shawn had quietly remained on the line and listened to the entire exchange. He was not happy.

msoft ad

This is an ad. MSoft didn’t pay for this ad. MSoft walked the talk so they get the ad for free.

Shawn lit into the UPS rep and it was game on. Customer reps from two mega companies, each a titan in their respective business spheres, going head to head over a $10 customer refund.

It was no contest. Like the avenging angel of customer support, Shawn blasted every objection offered by the UPS rep with ease and authority, schooled him on the idea that customer support is supposed to actually provide support, and hammered home the point again and again that MSoft would not stand for having its customers treated the way UPS was treating me. He told the rep that although UPS was at fault, MSoft would cover the refund; they didn’t care about the $10, they cared about the way UPS was treating one of their customers. Shawn finished with a thinly veiled threat that if UPS couldn’t live up to the contract they had signed, Msoft would take its business elsewhere, and advised the UPS rep to cover his ass by escalating this interchange up the chain of command because he could rest assured that UPS would be hearing about it at levels way above his pay grade from an unhappy MSoft .

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It was a total beatdown and the UPS rep was thoroughly cowed by the time the call ended. Ever seen an alpha dog dominate and discipline  a weaker member of the pack? On his back, paws in the air, tail tucked between his legs, throat exposed? It was like that.

Anyone who has read “What does Xbox One sales have “more than tripled” mean?” that was published on the Info Monkey a year ago knows that I am neither a fanboy nor an apologist for Microsoft. But when a company has your back the way Microsoft had mine, props ought to be given.

It’s easy to be cynical about this. Do I really think MSoft is going to sever its business relationship with UPS because one package or one thousand packages were not delivered on time? Of course not. MSoft is going to ship with whichever carrier gives them the best deal. But when was the last time you had a customer support experience like this? As I listened to the extraordinary confrontation between the two company reps, it felt like that moment when everything appears lost and the cavalry comes sweeping to the rescue. Only this time the cavalry had Microsoft logos on their uniforms. It was awesome.

 

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General Mills thinks you’re a dumb ass, or why paying attention to nutrition labels is a good idea

 

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from Mother Nature Network

General Mills is making cereal for all those people who sat in math class and said “Why do we have to learn this stuff? I’ll never use any of it.”

And they’re getting sued for it by the people who paid attention to arithmetic in grade school.

two boxesCheerios Protein is marketed as a more healthy variant of regular Cheerios because it is loaded with protein and protein is good for you. Of course, you have to pay a bit more for the “healthy” version. When this article was written Target offered 14 oz. boxes of regular Cheerios for $3.07, and 14.1 oz. boxes of Cheerios Protein for $3.72. You pay 65 cents (about 21%) more for Cheerios Protein but you’re getting so much more of that good protein!

Right?

Wrong.

Here are the first sections of the nutrition labels for Cheerios (on the left) and Cheerios Protein (on the right).

Cheerios nutrition label

Cheerios

Cheerios protein nutrition label

Cheerios Protein

Look at the bottom line: 3 grams of protein in a serving of regular Cheerios and 7 grams of protein in Cheerios Protein.

It looks like you’re getting over twice as much protein in Cheerios Protein.

You’re not. Why not?

Look at how much you have to eat to get your protein. The serving size for Cheerios Protein is 55 grams. Check out the serving size for regular Cheerios. 28 grams.

(Hold on a second. 28 grams. Where have I heard that before? Ah, nevermind, that’s another thing.) (Back to the cereal.)

An alarm bell should have just gone off. You get a little more than twice as much protein from Cheerios Protein than you get from regular Cheerios but you have to eat a little less than twice as much of the stuff to get it.

What happens if you have equal-size servings of Cheerios and Cheerios Protein?

2000px-Arithmetic_symbols.svgDo the math.

Regular Cheerios has 3 grams of protein for every 28 grams of cereal which is a bit more than .107 grams of protein per gram of cereal. Cheerios Protein has 7 grams of protein for every 55 grams of cereal which is a bit more than .127 grams of protein per gram of cereal. Cheerios Protein has about .02 more grams of protein per gram of cereal than regular Cheerios. That’s not very much.

Cheerios Protein’s serving size is 55 grams which gives you 7 grams of protein. Eating the same amount of regular Cheerios gives you 5.885 grams of protein, a small difference of 1.115 grams of protein per serving. If you go with regular Cheerios’ serving size of 28 grams, you get 3 grams of protein from regular Cheerios and 3.556 grams from Cheerios Protein. Again, a small difference of 0.556 grams per serving. Looked at another way, regular Cheerios has almost 85% as much protein as Cheerios Protein.

These tiny differences in the amount of protein contained in the two versions of Cheerios prompted the Center for Science in the Public Interest to file a class action lawsuit against General Mills for false advertising.

You’re not getting much more protein with Cheerios Protein but you are getting a lot more of something else.  What might that be?

sugarTake another look at the nutrition labels. A serving of Cheerios Protein has 16 grams of sugar; a serving of regular Cheerios has 1 gram of sugar. Do the math. When you adjust for serving size, a 28 gram serving of Cheerios Protein has 8.12 grams of sugar compared to regular Cheerios’ 1 gram.

Put another way, eating a bowl of Cheerios Protein involves an 18.2 per cent increase in protein and an 812 per cent increase in sugar compared to eating a bowl of regular Cheerios. When you have Cheerios Protein for breakfast you’re getting a little more protein, a lot more sugar, and a heaping helping of bullshit right there in your bowl, all courtesy of General Mills.

pt barnum

P.T. Barnum

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this is that all the information needed for you to see that General Mills is pulling a scam is right there on the nutrition labels.  All you have to do is read the labels and apply some grade-school level arithmetic. They didn’t try to hide it, they figured you were too dumb to notice.

P.T. Barnum, one of the most famous con men of all time, is credited with saying, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” General Mills thinks he was talking about you.

 

Posted in Numbers Game, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Baseball, wheelhouses, and the effects of technological change on language

 

A railroad wheelhouse. From YouTube.

If you watch baseball on TV, you’ve almost certainly heard an announcer describe a pitch as being in the batter’s wheelhouse when the pitch is in the area of the strike zone where the batter has the most success putting the ball in play. Baseball is where the wheelhouse metaphor first appeared in print, but if you don’t watch baseball, you’ve probably heard “wheelhouse” used as a metaphor for something that is in a person’s comfort zone or area of expertise.

While almost everybody knows what the wheelhouse metaphor means, many do not know where the metaphor came from or what a wheelhouse is. What is a wheelhouse and why did the connection between wheelhouses and baseball get lost?

I’ve published an article on Priceonomics titled “Wheelhouse: How technology changes the meaning of words” that ties together baseball, the nation’s transportation infrastructure, and a technological revolution to show how language can be affected by technological change. If you’re interested in any of these things- or just interested in a good story – please take the time to check it out.

Following the link to the article will also be doing me a great favor. Because pieces with sports content do not usually do well on Priceonomics, the piece was bought at a reduced rate with a substantial bonus attached if it reaches 10K views in 30 days. The people at Priceonomics warned me that they think it has about a 10 percent chance to meet that goal. It would be a boon to me if we can harness the power of social media to prove them wrong. If you would, please view the article and, if you find it interesting, ask your friends and social media friends to view it and pass it to their friends as well. Thanks.

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How virtual reality affects balance

VR and older gamer

In an earlier article we wondered whether Daredevil has a harder time keeping his balance because he’s blind. Blindness raises questions about balance because human balance rests on the complex interaction of visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive systems. Any problems Daredevil may have with balance stem from the fact that his balance system has no visual input.

What happens when visual input is present but is inconsistent with the information coming from proprioception and the vestibular sense? This is the problem faced by users of the new virtual reality (VR) systems that are forthcoming from Facebook (Oculus Rift), Sony (Playstation VR) and Valve/HTC (Vive). These VR systems replace visual input from the real world with a 360-degree view of a virtual world. When it works as intended, the results can be thrilling. When the visual input from the virtual world clashes with the information you’re getting from your vestibular and proprioceptive systems about where your body is and how it’s moving, the results can range from nausea to loss of balance.

I’ve written a feature article for Ars Technica about how VR affects balance. The article pays special attention to how VR may affect balance for older users whose balance system may already be compromised but the challenges posed to balance by VR affect users of all ages. If you are interested in VR in general or in how the technology may affect users, please take a look at “Will the new VR gear trip up older gamers?” on the Ars Technica website. And if you enjoy the Info Monkey and are unfamiliar with Ars Technica, check it out. They present a wealth of tech, science and gaming information that is in-depth and interesting without any of the shallow, mindless, click-bait blather you can find elsewhere.

***

A reader has added a long and detailed comment about how he manipulated visual information to improve his balance in training for rock climbing. It speaks directly to paragraph in the Ars Technica article that points out that experience with VR is likely to mitigate balance problems because it is well known that balance in a balance demanding task improves with practice. The comment is well worth reading.

Posted in Gaming, Science, Technology | Tagged , , | 1 Comment