On the Internet, a cyberspace is created where people communicate together, usually by using textual messages. Therefore, they cannot see each other in cyberspace. Whenever they communicate, it is desirable for them to see each other as if they were gathered at the same place. To achieve this, various kinds of concepts have been proposed, such as a collaborative environment, Tele-Immersion, and tele-presence (Sherman & Craig, 2003). In this article, HyperReality (HR) is introduced. HR is a communication paradigm between the real and the virtual (Terashima, 1995, 2002; Terashima & Tiffin, 2002; Terashima, Tiffin, & Ashworth, in press). The real means a real inhabitant, such as a real human or a real animal. The virtual means a virtual inhabitant, a virtual human, or a virtual animal. HR provides a communication environment where inhabitants, real or virtual, that are at different locations, meet and do cooperative work together as if they were gathered at the same place. HR can be developed based on virtual reality (VR) and telecommunications technologies.
VR is a medium composed of in teractive computer simulations that sense the viewer’s position and actions, and replace or augment the feedback to one or more senses such as seeing, hearing, and/or touch, giving the feeling of being mentally-immersed or present in the virtual space (Sherman & Craig, 2003). They can have a stereoscopic view of the object and its front view or side view, according to their perspectives. They can touch and/or handle the virtual object by hand gesture (Burdea, 2003; Kelso, Lance, Steven, & Kriz, 2002; Stuart, 2001).
Initially, computer-generated virtual realities were experienced by individuals at single sites. Then sites were linked together so that several people could interact in the same virtual reality. The development of the Internet and broadband communications now allows people in different locations to come together in a computer-generated virtual space and to interact to carry out cooperative work. This is the collaborative virtual environment. As one of these collaborative environments, the NICE project has been proposed and developed. In this system, children use avatars to collaborate in the NICE VR application, despite the fact that they are geographically at different locations and using different styles of VR systems (Johnson, Roussos, Leigh, Vasilakis, Marnes, & Moher, 1998). A combat simulation and VR game are applications of the collaborative environment.
Tele-Immersion (National Tele-Immersion Initiative-NTII) will enable users at geographically-distributed locations to collaborate in real-time in a shared, simulated environment as if they were in the same physical room (Lanier, 1998).
HR provides a communication means between real inhabitants and virtual inhabitants, and between human intelligence and artificial intelligence. In HR, a communication paradigm for the real and the virtual is defined clearly. Namely, in HR, a HyperWorld (HW) and coaction fields (CFs) are introduced.
Augmented reality (AR) is fundamentally about augmenting human perception by making it possible to sense information not normally detected by the human sensory system (Barfield & Caudell, 2001). A 3D virtual reality derived from cameras reading infrared or ultrasound images would be AR. A 3D image of a real person based on conventional camera imaging that also shows images of their liver or kidneys derived from an ultrasound scan is also a form of AR. HR can be seen as including AR in the sense that it can show the real world in ways that humans do not normally see it. In addition to this, HR provides a communication environment between the real and the virtual.