Space Colony Island-4: Explore an 8 Kilometre-by-32 Kilometre O’Neill Cylinder in VRChat, with Curve Gravity!

The O’Neill cylinder (also called an O’Neill colony) is a space settlement concept proposed by American physicist Gerard K. O’Neill in his 1976 book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space… An O’Neill cylinder would consist of two counter-rotating cylinders. The cylinders would rotate in opposite directions in order to cancel out any gyroscopic effects that would otherwise make it difficult to keep them aimed toward the Sun. Each would be 5 miles (8.0 km) in diameter and 20 miles (32 km) long, connected at each end by a rod via a bearing system. Their rotation would provide artificial gravity.

“O’Neill cylinder”, Wikipedia article

There’s a new world in VRChat which is attracting a lot of attention! It’s straight out of a science fiction novel: an O’Neill cylinder that is 8 kilometres in diameter and 32 kilometres long, and it features curve gravity, where you can actually run around in a full circle to land up where you started!

(VRChat is not the first social VR platform to feature such a build; I have visited an similar O’Neill cylinder with curve gravity in NeosVR, writing about it here.)

Here’s the original announcement by its creator on Twitter, with the English translation below it, courtesy of the DeepL translator:

The world “Space Colony “Island-4” has been released! It is an enclosed space colony with a diameter of 8km x length of 32km. Please enjoy the huge scale of this cylindrical world!

Space Colony Island-4 is currently one of the most popular worlds in VRChat, so it’s on the VRChat home screen. Here’s a link to the webpage for the world (this page requires a VRChat account to sign in).

By the way, did you know that VRChat has just updated its Quick Menu user interface? Here’s a two-minute video with the highlights of the new design:

Thank you to Rainwolf for the heads-up!

ScienceVR: A Brief Introduction

ScienceVR is a Palo Alto, California-based startup which describes itself as follows:

ScienceVR is an indie VR studio in its early days. We are passionate about visualizing human knowledge and abstract ideas by turning them into immersive and delightful experiences. We are a team of XR prototypers, educators, and storytellers working on a metaverse build on top of distributing human knowledge.

ScienceVR offers two different products: a series of web-based social VR events, and a line of virtual reality apps for various VR headsets including the Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive. Here’s a quick promo video, with ScienceVR founder and CEO Jackie Lee:

You can see the line-up of science and literature related events here (you can only register for the first three so far, and they are all free to attend).

The immersive lesson apps include (all descriptions were taken verbatim from the website):

Ada’s Engines: With Ada’s Engines, travel back in time to Charles Babbage’s salon to witness the Difference Engines in action. Then, find yourself transported to an Industrial Age workshop. Compile and execute a piece of music on a programmable Analytic Engine, as envisioned by Ada Lovelace. In Lovelace’s Notes, she wrote, “the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent.” (for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive)

Carroll’s Riddles: Carroll’s Riddles: The Game of Logic is a fantastical and puzzling world based on the works of British logician and writer Lewis Carroll (1832-1898). You are invited on a journey to become immersed in the idiosyncrasies of Carroll’s mental landscape. Upon entering the virtual world, you meet with Alice and a talking rabbit. Aided with an interactive Carroll Diagram, you make your way out of the tree hole by tackling logic riddles. This immersive journey is unlike any other, pushing the limits of your imagination and challenging you to find logic in a nonsensical world. (for Oculus Quest)

Curie’s Radiance: Curie’s stories and scientific discoveries. This is an interactive adventure through the discovery of radioactive elements – Radium and Polonium, inviting users to engage with science in unexpected and memorable ways. (for Oculus Quest, and there’s even a version for the Magic Leap One!)

Faraday’s Magnets: What if we can visualize invisible forces around magnets? Step into a virtual and interactive laboratory built based on historical materials related to Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell. This experience enables your learners to see the “invisible forces” around magnets. (for Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest)

Shelley’s Creation: Shelley’s Creation (work-in-progress) is a special sci-fi VR experience built based on biology, history, and sci-fi stories around Mary Shelley’s book – Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. We start by re-creating the scene from 1816 so that our users can answer Mary Shelley’s question:

“Would life be given? Perhaps a corpse would be re-animated; Galvanism had given token of such things: perhaps the component parts of a creature might be manufactured, brought together, and endued with vital warmth.”

Our users will follow these thinkers’ inspirations including traveling to John Milton’s Paradise Lost, meeting Lucia and Luigi Galvani when they discover Galvanism, competing in Lord Byron’s ghost story contest, and solving the mystery of electricity and biology. (for Oculus Quest)

If you are interested in ScienceVR, visit their website or follow them on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. While the apps appear to be single-user VR, the line-up of events is social VR, so I am adding ScienceVR to my comprehensive list of social VR and virtual worlds.