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Mixed reality research takes a first hesitant step

Nilay Patel

Considering how much impact our gadgets already have on our day-to-day lives, we not sure we don't already live in a mixed reality environment, but researchers at the University of Illinois have created what they say is the first true mixed reality system based on a pendulum and its virtual counterpart. Both the real pendulum and the simulation mimic each others' movements exactly -- adjusting the motor affects the simulation and adjusting the parameters of the simulation affects the motor -- blurring the line between the real and the virtual. That sounds simple, sure, but it's the first successful system of its kind -- as researcher Alfred Hubler put it, "[The pendulums] suddenly noticed each other, synchronized their motions, and danced together indefinitely." Seeing as simply creating a mixed-reality pendulum took super-fast processors, we doubt we're any closer to the Matrix -- unless it's a Matrix inside another Matrix. We need to go lie down.

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