A virtual reality tour around San Diego!

Visitors to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park prepare to enjoy a short virtual reality tour around San Diego.
Visitors to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park prepare to enjoy a short virtual reality tour around San Diego.

During my random walk through Balboa Park today, I stumbled upon something that is unique and really fun! I wandered into the San Diego History Center and was immediately drawn to a sign at the entrance to one gallery that read: Experience San Diego, The Virtual Reality Adventure.

I wasn’t looking to blog anything after my walk today, but this short VR tour around San Diego is so cool, I definitely want to share it!

After having my VR headset strapped on, I suddenly found myself transported to a wide variety of places and events around San Diego. I was standing atop the California Tower in Balboa Park, turning my head to gaze in every direction . . .

Then suddenly I was floating over Oceanside in a hot air balloon . . . standing among hockey players during a San Diego Gulls game . . . riding a helicopter along our beautiful coast . . . right up close among the dolphins at SeaWorld . . . riding the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster at Belmont Park in Mission Beach . . . flying above the desert in Anza Borrego State Park . . . floating on a boat among sea lions on San Diego Bay . . . and much more–all in virtual reality!

The whole experience is made possible by 4DSCI. A ticket costs just five dollars and the virtual reality tour lasts for perhaps ten minutes. If you want to experience San Diego in a whole new way, head down to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park and check it out!

Experience San Diego, The Virtual Reality Adventure. You will see many cool sights as if you were there in person!
Experience San Diego, The Virtual Reality Adventure. You will see many cool sights as if you were there in person!
Around the corner is the VR Theater...
Around the corner is the VR Theater…
The fun kid-friendly room where the experience is enjoyed. Chairs swivel so visitors can experience the virtual reality in every direction.
The fun, kid-friendly room where the experience is enjoyed. Chairs swivel so visitors can easily turn and experience the virtual reality in every direction.
Cabrillo National Monument is one of the places that will surround you--as if you are there!
Cabrillo National Monument is one of the beautiful places that will surround you–as if you are there!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Future technology showcased at 2018 Comic-Con!

Visitors to the Future Tech Live! exhibition at 2018 San Diego Comic-Con have fun making a cool 3-D video courtesy of the Overwatch Payload Tour.
Visitors to the Future Tech Live! exhibition at 2018 San Diego Comic-Con have fun making a dynamic 3-D video courtesy of the Overwatch Payload Tour.

Anyone attending 2018 San Diego Comic-Con who loves gaming, augmented and virtual reality, and the very latest in cool technology should definitely head over to the Omni Hotel to check out Future Tech Live!

You’ll discover a wide variety of exhibitors demonstrating all sorts of innovations. There are augmented and virtual reality products, and visitors can experience the latest in eye-popping video game play. There are innovative robots, some amazing art, and several opportunities to learn about cryptocurrency and using the blockchain to buy and sell video games and make in-game purchases. There’s even a Bitcoin ATM!

You’ll also find a couple of friendly scientists who are ready to answer any sort of scientific question, plus some fascinating exhibits by UC San Diego. And if you work up an appetite, grab some free treats, courtesy of 7-Eleven!

These photos provide a sample of what you’ll find!

(Unlike last year, when the exhibition was called the Futurism & Tech Pavilion, in 2018 you’ll need a Comic-Con badge to gain entry.)

Future Tech Live! can be found in the Omni Hotel, across from the San Diego Convention Center during 2018 Comic-Con.
Future Tech Live! can be found in the Omni Hotel, across from the San Diego Convention Center during 2018 Comic-Con.
Multiple players enjoy a team gaming experience inside a Hologate virtual reality system.
Multiple players enjoy a team gaming experience inside an incredible Hologate virtual reality system.
Ozobot showcases Evo, a robot that is controlled with magic markers or stickers!
Ozobot showcases Evo, a robot that is controlled with magic markers or stickers!
Evo follows drawn lines and turns depending upon color sequences that it detects.
Evo follows drawn lines and turns depending upon color sequences that it detects. It’s a fun and visually creative way to teach coding concepts to kids.
Eric Ninaltowski shows some of the super cool pop culture art that he has created.
Eric Ninaltowski is showing some of the super cool pop culture art that he has created.
Someone engages in an augmented reality lightsaber battle courtesy of Star Wars Jedi Challenges by Lenovo.
A visitor to Future Tech Live! engages in an augmented reality lightsaber battle courtesy of Star Wars Jedi Challenges by Lenovo.
A friendly guy representing Stimuli VR demonstrates glasses that convert almost any smart phone into a virtual reality device!
A friendly guy representing Stimuli VR demonstrates amazing glasses that convert almost any smart phone into a virtual reality device!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do smartphones make people more shallow?

I probably shouldn’t post this blog. I share some of the guilt. After all, I’m a producer of internet content.

During my walk through Balboa Park today, I felt creeping despair.

Balboa Park is an amazing, wonderful, special place. Lifted eyes see a world that is infinitely interesting and beautiful.

About one third of the people I observed had their eyes absolutely fixed to the tiny screens of their smartphones. They were too obsessed to notice the vast world around them. Nor other people around them.

Of these, many were grown adults searching for a virtual Pokemon, a game fit for the simple mind of a child. At least these people looked up from time to time.

Yes, I know some people were busy communicating with friends, or perhaps looking up information, or a map of the park.

I also know that our lives are complex and so is human psychology. Everyone is different. I, too, have my silly, simple pleasures. It’s hard to draw firm conclusions. Technology changes. The culture changes. People change. Fads come and go.

But it does appear that humans are powerfully drawn to stimuli on isolated screens.

And, of course, the wonderful thing about smartphones is they can make life so much easier. Eye-to-eye politeness is no longer required. The potential for vulnerability in spontaneously spoken words is thankfully avoided. Problem solving is automatic. Critical thinking is less and less necessary. Simple and self-comforting ideas flood social media. Self absorption is made as easy as pie. Narcissism is rewarded.

I often wonder, as virtual reality becomes increasingly prevalent, whether people will permanently insert their entire selves into shallow, shrinking virtual worlds. The Matrix, of our own choosing.

If it feels good, why fight it?

A look inside the Futurism and Tech Pavilion at Comic-Con.

The Futurism and Tech Pavilion at 2017 San Diego Comic-Con occupies a large area of one floor inside the Omni Hotel.
The Futurism and Tech Pavilion at 2017 San Diego Comic-Con occupies a large area of one floor inside the Omni Hotel.

There’s a super cool, free attraction during 2017 Comic-Con that relatively few people seem to know about. It’s the Futurism and Tech Pavilion, located up that long glass-enclosed escalator in the Omni Hotel.

You’ll discover the very latest entertainment technology (some of which will blow your mind) and no badge is required! If you are interested in virtual reality, this place is absolutely a must see.

Check out my photos and read the captions to get an idea of what you will find…

This cool, free Comic-Con venue allows organizations and businesses to showcase their latest efforts in technology, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
This cool, free Comic-Con venue allows organizations and businesses to showcase their latest efforts in technology, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
The AI Innovation Fair includes artificial intelligence, robotics and other related technology.
The AI Innovation Fair area includes artificial intelligence, robotics and other related technology.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and RE'FLEKT demonstrated a futuristic transportation concept with virtual reality.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and RE’FLEKT demonstrate a futuristic transportation concept with virtual reality.
This guy representing Brain2Bot demonstrated simple AI in a robot that mimics a dog. Eating magnetic pellets makes it happy!
This guy representing Brain2Bot demonstrated simple AI in a robot that mimics a dog. Eating magnetic pellets that it gathers with a tongue makes it happy!
These interactive Professor Einstein robots challenge people with brain games.
These interactive Professor Einstein robots challenge people with brain games.
Inside a second room, many entertainment companies demonstrated their latest technology, including VR, holograms, video controllers, and more.
Inside a second room, many entertainment companies demonstrated their latest technology, including VR, holograms, video game controllers, and more.
The Sonic the Hedgehog booth had people jump for a ring in front of a green screen for prizes. They could see themselves in a video game.
The Sonic the Hedgehog booth had people jump for a ring in front of a green screen for prizes. They could see themselves in a video game.
Project Cars 2 had these super cool driving simulators.
Project Cars 2 had these super cool driving simulators.
Artist Rob Prior had a booth with some of his cool pop art. I learned he includes a chicken head hidden in every piece.
Artist Rob Prior had a booth with some of his cool pop art. I learned he includes a chicken head hidden in every piece.
Bruce Lee and Joker.
Bruce Lee and Joker.
Kirk and Spock.
Kirk and Spock.
The Mira Prism uses your iPhone to produce holograms in your field of view!
The Mira Prism uses your iPhone to produce holograms in your field of view!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!