Week 9: Augmented & Virtual Realities

Have you seen this ad on the TV recently? The ad promotes Samsung’s latest release of their Virtual Reality (VR) headset and it comes with the tagline “DoWhatYouCant”.

That is exactly how VR appeals to the public, it allows people to do what they can’t do.

Virtual reality (VR) is an artificial, computer-generated simulation or recreation of a real life environment or situation. It immerses the user by making them feel like they are experiencing the simulated reality firsthand, primarily by stimulating their vision and hearing. This means that users can be put into any virtual situations they want, be it a horror movie, a cooking show or one where they’ll be flying a fighter jet in the sky.

Other than using VR as a form of entertainment, it can also be used for health care purposes! For instance, VR is able to provide exposure therapy for patients with anxiety disorders such as phobias or traumas.

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Bravemind is one such VR application that treats post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military soldiers. By fighting wars in other countries, the soldiers risk/develop PTSD after returning home due to the stressful conditions they have been placed in. Bravemind gradually puts the soldiers in the same environment, allowing them to be desensitized to the situation. It also allows the clinicians to document the reactions of the soldiers to better assess their medical condition.

VR is often confused with Augmented Reality (AR), although they may seem the same, they are actually different.

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that layers computer-generated enhancements atop an existing reality in order to make it more meaningful through the ability to interact with it. AR is developed into apps and used on mobile devices to blend digital components into the real world in such a way that they enhance one another, but can also be told apart easily.

This means that AR applications combine the real world with virtual elements, unlike VR where the created world is purely virtual. AR applications include popular apps such as Snapchat and PokemonGO.

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Despite their differences, VR and AR do have their similarities. For instance, AR is also used in the medical field, such as providing remote surgery. The video below shows Proximie, an interactive augmented reality platform which enables surgical support to be seamlessly provided from anywhere in the world.

AR and VR can also be seen working together. For example, we can have the user immersed in a VR world while receiving haptic feedback which is considered part of the AR. Seeing how VR/AR products and applications are increasingly coming into use, I am sure there lies a bright future for this two realities.

 

 

 

Week 8: Hello Handsome ;-)

Remember seeing this billboard before? Well, I’ve seen it almost everywhere and anywhere. This Wechat Sex Scam is one of the more well-known cyber crime that was committed in Singapore. So what is this scam all about?

Basically, scammers who claim to be pretty, young girls will go onto Wechat to hunt down gullible male victims who are seeking for sex. These so-called “pretty girls” advertise their services on Wechat for a cheap price, enticing men to engage them. They even send provocative photos to further lure these men into their trap. And when the day comes for the man to meet the pretty girl, he will be asked to pay first through online credits. These credits often come in the form of Alipay Purchase Cards, or in some cases, iTunes cards. After paying, you will think that they will be able to meet the girl to receive her service, but NO, *poof* she disappears on Wechat (by blocking the victim) and the victim would have just lost their money without even meeting the girl. Many men have paid a few hundred dollars to buy these cards, and in one case, a victim lost $35,000.

You might think, “Wah, why these people so stupid?” But do you know, maybe it’s because online scammers are getting more smart and utilizing better techniques to trick people into believing them. In fact, online scams are becoming so widespread that the Singapore Police Force (SPF) have reported a 46.5% surge in online crimes. Posters (as seen below) have also been created to curb this problem.

In an increasingly Internet-dependent world, it is no wonder cyber crime is on the rise. We have to take more precautions when surfing the Net to prevent ourselves from falling prey to these vices. Even changes were made to the existing Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act (CMCA) so as to reinforce our security against cyber crimes.

The amendments to the CMCA help strengthen our response to cybercrime. The threats have so far been under control, but they lurk in many dark corners of cyberspace. We therefore need to put in place a robust legislative framework, with safeguards, but also with the necessary enforcement levers as part of a comprehensive cybercrime and cybersecurity strategy to ensure that our computers, systems and data are better protected.

– Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee

With that, I end this post and stay safe on the Internet guys.

Week 6/7: Video Editing

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^ Me when we were given to freedom to write about anything this week, as long as a video is included. And did somebody said video ??? DOUBLE YES! Talking about videos is something right up my alley.

Things that provided me with an creative outlet have always sparked my interest. Creating videos is one of them. To fuel my interest in video creation, I bought myself a compact camera late last year. Compact cameras, although not the best in the market, provides adequate functions to film vlogs – which was exactly what I was going for. So here’s what I bought!

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The Sony DSC-WX500. I feel that this camera is value for money plus it fits my skill level (meaning I’m not handling a DSLR when I do not have the skills to do so). With this new toy of mine, I brought it when I went overseas/visit places of interest in Singapore.

It went along with me to trips to Japan, Batam as well as Sentosa and caught a whole lot of footage. As said before, I was interested in producing content. Therefore, I wanted to compile my footages into a single video. In doing so, I choose to use Sony Vegas Pro 13 to edit my videos.

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This is an example of how the software looks.

Complicated? That’s what I thought so when I first used it. But in time I became familiar with how the software works and discovered nifty shortcuts – and this was all due to the help of the YouTuber JustAlexHalford. Remember last week when I thought about e-Learning and YouTube? Well, if you are unsure of how to use softwares like Sony Vegas Pro, you can search the “How-to” videos on YouTube, and in no time, you will be an expert in using these softwares.

Some other video editing softwares that are popular include Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. However, all these softwares require users to purchase it. Still, they also offer trials so you can get a taste of using the software without having to spend money.

After all my rambles, I finally get to the part where I can show you my video.

Here’s a video I did for my trip to Batam. And if you’d like, you can check out a video I did when I went for Sentosa for a day trip.

I’m in the learning process of creating videos, and there’s many videos out there that inspire me to up my video editing game. This is one of them. My fellow classmate, Asyraf, also does amazing videos.

One day, I aspire to create beautiful and interesting content for others to see! But I prolly have to get my school work done to squeeze out time to complete videos and to hone my skills. It may be tiring to do up even one video sometimes. Gotta stay committed!

With that I conclude this post.

See ya on the next post friends! (:

 

Week 5: Learning through YouTube

I recall my younger days when my mom would send me to the nearby Community Center (CC) to pick up new skills. From sushi making to oil painting, the CC had a large variety of classes for people to attend and learn things. But in recent times, lesser people are going to the CC to learn new things.

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Other than seeing older people attending dance lessons over the weekends, gone are the days where we relied on CC classes to discover new skills.

Why is that so then?

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You’ve guessed it! The vast information available for one on the Internet allows people to take their learning online. Social media sites facilitate sharing of ideas and skills, therefore, people could go onto these sites to learn new things from other people online.

In fact, I often go onto YouTube to learn new skills. On YouTube, there is a vast number of tutorial videos. The genre of these tutorial videos can range from makeup to music, to art and even to cooking.

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One of my favorite YouTuber is Jenn Im (@clothesencounters on YouTube). Her videos focuses on beauty and fashion. Just by watching her videos, I have picked up several tips and tricks to dress well and how to do my own makeup. For her latest Valentine’s Day makeup look: Click Here

Other than beauty and fashion, I like water coloring as well. I have never attended a water coloring class and only learnt it while watching YouTube videos. This is one video I’ve watched to pick up basic water coloring skills: Click Here

And the results of learning through YouTube is this!

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Not bad right! (Hahaha I’m totally not praising myself.)

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I also learned new recipes on YouTube through channels such as SORTEDFood or from Gordon Ramsay’s videos. (Learn how to cook Sausage Spaghetti Carbonara here!)

YouTube is a really good place to learn new things or refine one’s skills. But there is a limit to the extent of learning from YouTube. First of all, it doesn’t have the human interaction as we would if learning from someone else real life. Also, you cannot get immediate feedback from the user if you had any questions. (On YouTube if you had a question, you left a comment but the user may only reply days later.) Therefore, people still believe in traditional learning as it is more efficient.

Nevertheless, it is a faster and  more convenient way of learning. A painting tutorial video usually lasts 10 minutes or at most 15 minutes, and this is short compared to a 1-hour painting class. This appeals to people who are busy with their own commitments (eg. work, family, friends) and do not have much time to spare. With YouTube, they can learn new skills faster than if they had attended classes.

I like learning from YouTube and will continue so! Although the videos online may not be as thorough as compared to attending actual lessons, one big plus factor of YouTube for me is that it is FREE. You get to learn for free! I believe that is a big playing factor that encourages people to turn to e-Learning.

Have you ever experienced e-Learning before? Leave a comment below telling me what you liked about it or what you disliked!

Till then, see y’all on next week’s post! (: