The idea of the extended mind or extended cognition is not part of common parlance; however, many of us have espoused this idea naturally since our youth. It’s the concept that we use external, physical or digital, information to extend our knowledge and thinking processes.
Today’s “born-digital” kids––the first generation to grow up with the Internet, born 1990 and later––store their thoughts, education, and self-dialogue in external notes saved to the cloud. 
“… [Andy Clark describes us as] cyborgs, in the most natural way. Without the stimulus of the world, an infant could not learn to hear or see, and a brain develops and rewires itself in response to its environment throughout its life.”
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 McGonigal; “Reality is Broken” pg. 127
Shiva Rajaraman has a long record building amazing products across YouTube, Google and now Spotify and joined us at Mind the Product in London to share some of the lessons he’s learned along the way.
The ~ 25-minute talk can be found on the author’s website.
The above work comes from Thomas Bedenk, who I met at VRX London in 2016. See end his page for sources (link found at bottom).
This model provides a substrate, an interactive application namely a game and its production and consumption, and highlights the aspects regarding components Player, Game, and Designer into the full picture.
Read the full version from the author’s website.
This overview by Bruce and Mark, introduces AR and VR axioms and features long-standing research. Check out the whole slide deck by clicking here.
Beyond Reality (2027): The Future of Virtual and Augmented Reality
The University of South Australia
August 18th 2017
Most VR experiences so far have been games and 360-degree videos, but Google is exploring the idea that VR can be a way to learn real life skills. The skill it chose to use as a test of this hypothesis is making coffee. So of course, it created a coffee making simulator in VR.
As explained by author, Ryan Whitwam, this simulation proved more effective over the other group in the study that had just a video primer on the coffee-making technique herein.
Participants were allowed to watch the video or do the VR simulation as many times as they wanted, and then the test—they had to make real espresso. According to Google, the people who used the VR simulator learned faster and better, needing less time to get confident enough to do the real thing and making fewer mistakes when they did.
As you all know, I have the Future of Farming project going right now with Oculus Launch Pad. It is my ambition to impart some knowledge about farming/gardening to users of that experience. Therefore I found this article to be quite intriguing. How fast can we all learn to crop tend using novel equipment should we be primed first by an interactive experience/tutorial. This is what I’d name ‘environment transferable learning’ or ETL. The idea that in one environment you can learn core concepts or skills that transcend the tactical elements of the environment. For example, a skill learned in VR that translates into a real world environment, maybe “Environment Transferable Skills” or ETS.
A fantastic alternate example, also comes from Google, with Google Blocks. This application allows Oculus Rift or HTC Vive users to craft 3D models with controllers, and the tutorial walks users through how to use their virtual apparatuses. This example doesn’t use ETL, but we can learn from the design of the tutorial nonetheless for ETL applications. For instance, when Blocks teaches how to use the 3D shape tool it focuses on teaching the user by showing outlines of 3D models that it wants the user to place. The correct button is colored differently relative to other touch controller buttons. This signals a constraint to the user that this is the button to use. With sensors found in the Oculus Touch controllers, one could force the constraint of pointing with the index finger or grasping. In the example of farming, if there is a button interface in both the real and virtual world (the latter modeled closely to mimic the real world) I can then show a user how to push the correct buttons on the equipment to get started.
What I want to highlight is that it’s kind of a re-engineering of having someone walk you through your first time exercising a skill (i.e. espresso-making). It’s cool that the tutorial can animate a sign pointing your hands to the correct locations etc. Maybe not super useful for complicated tasks but to kind of instruct anything that requires basic motor skills VR ETL can be very interesting.
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