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USC Immersive Media Lab

The Immersive Media Lab

The objective of this lab is to carry out research in the area of immersive media, a new and emerging field of studies that considers the profound effects of the expansion and intensification of media formats and presentation. By increasing the scale, resolution and dimensionality of image and sound, a threshold can be reached that radically changes our relationship to media, which is then no longer a separate object to be experienced from a distance; rather it becomes an experiential environment that surrounds and engulfs us. Immersive media can facilitate new kinds of cinema, in which narrative can be experienced from the inside; new forms of games, in which interaction is through direct manipulation of media objects (rather than through keyboard and mouse); and new forms of experience, where our perceptual apparatus can be directly engaged and challenged. In all cases, immersive media holds the promise of creating large-scale social experiences that are ideal for multiple users, facilitating direct communication and dialogue. While the techniques for conceptual immersion are in many cases well understood (although by no means exhausted), the technologies of physical immersion are still being developed, and the techniques to exploit them are relatively new or nascent.

The Immersive Media Lab is a testbed in which to conduct research into new forms of media. By exploring, extending, combining and experimenting with various immersive and interactive technologies, we hope to gain insight into where these technologies might be headed. While there has been research into certain aspects of immersive technologies—most prominently in the field of virtual reality—we focus our efforts on three specific areas:

Immersive cinema (narrative)
Immersive games (interactivity)
Immersive environments (experience and perception)

Each of these areas is critical in the development of new forms of media; together they hold the potential to develop media that extend cinema and television in ways we can only imagine at present.

Be sure to check out the USC Immersive Research Weblog

I guess these guys didn't get the memo that the future has been cancelled...