Saturday, April 15th, 2017
Irem Gokce Yildirim, a masters student at MSU in my course on media and information policy, interviewed Richard Stallman after his Quello Lecture at MSU. It was her first interview, and she did a great job, with support from her husband, Ustun. Both are from Turkey and both are associated with the Free Software Foundation, for which Richard is the President and Founder.
The back story on how this happened is interesting to me. Ustun, pictured getting an autograph from Stallman, alerted Irem to an early visit by Richard to Michigan. Irem alerted me in class and suggested we invite Richard. This kicked off communications to get Richard Stallman to MSU for a Quello Lecture, and to asking Irem to play an important role in conducting the interview.
Her interview and Richard Stallman’s lecture will be posted on the Quello site in due course, but this is how it all happened. Thanks to Irem and Ustun for enhancing the academic climate at the Quello Center and MSU’s College of Communication Arts & Sciences.
Post Script: Ustun won the GNU in the auction, and the photo is showing Ustun getting rms’s signature on the GNU. First auction at any Quello event, I believe.
Saturday, December 17th, 2016
Aleks Yankelevich and Mitch Shapiro toast (with new Quello mugs!) the completion of their two reports, both of which were central to a major Quello Center project on Wireless Innovation in Last Mile Access (WILMA). Aleks led the report on regulatory issues surrounding key spectrum of value to wireless, and Mitch led the report on business strategy case studies of wireless initiatives. Both reports will be released in the coming months when reviews are completed.
Monday, September 26th, 2016
A Challenge to Virtual Reality
A. Michael Noll
September 26, 2016
© 2016 AMN
Is today’s virtual reality little more than real fantasy?
Back in the 1960s, Maurice Constant of the National Film board of Canada visited Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey. I was in the audience listening to him challenge us to make a system that would allow a designer to actually mold with their hands a virtual clay that existed only in the computer – seeing and feeling simultaneously in 3D. I was challenged by this vision, and subsequently designed and built an interactive 3D stereoscopic system that offered tactile feeling through force feedback, along with a stereoscopic display. This project started in the late 1960s and was the subject of my doctoral dissertation. I now challenge today’s haptic and virtual reality communities to create the technology to implement Maurice’s vision.
My research was completed in 1971 and resulted in a US patent and also a published paper. The system I invented had 3D force feedback, in which virtual objects had actual weight, in addition to feel. There also was simultaneous stereoscopic real-time display. The next step in my research would have been a 3D head-mounted display to superimpose the computer-generated 3D imagery on reality with half-silvered mirrors, and some sort of finger feel. However, my career changed direction, as I accepted an assignment on the staff of the President’s Science Advisor, and I did not continue this research.
One application for my 3D “feelie” that I proposed was to facilitate tactile telecommunication. I suggested that a person could feel cloth, or other objects, over distances – in effect, a “touch” telephone.
It is perplexing that with the advances in technology that have occurred since the early 1970s that what is today called “virtual reality” and “haptic” seem behind our vision back then. I therefore issue my challenge to today’s community to create what was envisioned decades ago. Otherwise, much of today’s virtual reality indeed is little more than real fantasy.
 Noll, A. Michael, “Tactile man-machine communication system,” US Patent 3,919,691, filed May 26, 1971. http://www.google.com/patents/US3919691
 Noll, A. Michael, “Man-Machine Tactile Communication,” SID Journal (The Official Journal of the Society for Information Display), Vol. 1, No. 2, (July/August 1972), pp. 5-11.
Monday, July 25th, 2016
The Quello Center has launched a promising project with the Quilt, a network of those providing Internet links to research and educational institutions, called RENs (Research and Educational Networks). We are helping them look at the policy issues such as in spectrum use, and business models, through a set of case studies, that might help them leap across the last mile of access to deep rural areas but also distressed areas of metropolitan regions. Wireless is the most obvious solution to this last mile, but understanding the changing technical, regulatory, industry, and financial constraints and opportunities will be challenging. The project title is Wireless Innovation for Last Mile Access (WILMA). More information is on our research site at: http://quello.msu.edu/research/wireless-innovation-for-last-mile-access/