Supplementary Reading Practice for IT
Predicting, Skimming and Scanning
What is virtual reality?
What is virtual reality used for?
Read this paragraph to find the answers:
Virtual reality is the creation of a world on a computer. The
simplest form of
virtual reality is a 3D image. More complicated forms of virtual reality involve
around display screens, wearable computers, and devices that let you feel
the display images.
Virtual reality can be used to create:
3D images of rea
l worlds such as the interior of a building or a
spaceship, often for training or education,
imaginary worlds, typically for a game or educational adventure.
The text you are going to read is about an experiment. This is what one of
the scientists involv
ed in the experiment says:
What do you think the experiment is going to be about?
We’re interested in making the interactions between people in
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Read this article and answer the questions which follow each paragraph:
On 29 October 2002, a scientist from Britain
and another from the United
hands. It’s not unusual for people to shake
hands, but these scientists were on opposite
sides of the Atlantic Ocean, connected only
by the Internet.
1. What did the scientists do?
2. Why was it unusual?
Using a HAPTIC interface which simu
the sense of touch and relays it over
network paths of extremely long distances,
researchers at University College London
(UCL) shook hands with teammates in the
Touch Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT) in Boston.
3. What does a
HAPTIC interface do?
4. Where is MIT?
The feeling of touch came through a device called a PHANToM, which is a
device that looks rather like a pen. You can slide it across a surface in a VR
world and feel its texture and density, whether an object is soft
or hard, wood
5. What does VR mean?
6. What can you feel when you slide a PHANToM across a surface in a
Professor Slater, one of the leaders of the research effort said, “…we developed
the idea of seeing if two PHANToM
s connected over the Internet could create the
effect of two fingers touching”. The experiment went very well and a second
experiment was carried out the following day across an even greater distance
from London to California.
7. Why did the scientists d
ecide to connect two PHANToMs over the
8. Which is closer to London: Boston or California?
The secret behind the technology is speed. If we look at a series of still pictures
very quickly, it can look as if they are moving. This is how
films work. In a
similar way, the rapid impulses received by the PHANToM produce the sense of
9. How do films work?
10. What does rapid mean: fast or slow?
ow does the PHANToM work in a similar way to film?
The experiment, described as
the world’s first transatlantic handshake over the
Internet, could be very important. For example, tasks needing manual dexterity
could be rehearsed in advance of performing them. Surgeons could practise
carrying out operations over the Internet.
at do you think
13. Use a dictionary to find out what
is. You may have
to look up each word separately.
14. Where do surgeons work?