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Will Chickens Be Really Happy After Being Given Virtual Free Range?

Will Chickens Be Really Happy After Being Given Virtual Free Range?

Austin Stewart is an assistant professor at Iowa State University and a virtual reality enthusiast. He recently delivered a presentation on an extremely silly idea that manages nonetheless to propose some real questions that are worth answering. He outlined his fictional business Second Livestock (a play on the name of the virtual reality sim game Second Life) as a provider of Oculus Rift-like headsets for farm animals such as chickens so that they can enjoy virtual free range, which allows them to get the sense of movement and interaction in virtual reality even when they’re confined in small spaces. He goes into great detail on the “official” Second Livestock website, which outlines the process and the potential impact it can have on farm animals and the world at large. It’s really fascinating stuff, and a ton of work to put into something that most likely isn’t actually going to be implemented in the real world. Check out the full PDF of the presentation notes.

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virtual reality

    By using a headset, a wall TV display and a yoga ball trackpad, Stewart demonstrated to people in Iowa and Ohio (including a number of farmers) how virtual free range would work for the farm animals. The chickens would be able to enjoy the sense of motion, waving grass, a free trees and even some virtual reality chickens to pal around with in the digital realm. Participants had the opportunity to try out the chicken simulation themselves and were very impressed by it if still confused about its true implications. One of participants asked how the chickens would feel about having no real, tangible interactions. That brought up what’s basically the whole point of the Second Livestock fictional company: to think about how virtual free range would affect simple farm animals and how that would relate to the experiences humans will have as they become more and more entrenched in a virtual reality world.

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    trying it on

      Like the chickens Stewart spoke about and demonstrated in his presentation, we are also trapped in fairly tiny spaces (small apartments, cubicles, etc.) and try to get the feeling that we have more freedom than our boxed-in worlds lead us to believe most of the time. With that in mind, is virtual free range the next technological step forward for our species, or does it have the potential for harmful or even disastrous implications? Even though the idea of supplying thousands of chickens with virtual reality headsets is silly, that’s what Austin Stewart wanted to play a part in figuring out the ultimate answer to that question. Nothing has screamed that virtual free range is a danger yet, but it’s still very early on.

      enclosed

        No chicken has actually worn an Oculus Rift headset (to the best of my knowledge, at least) but Stewart said he’d consider taking his fictional business a step further by using some as real live test subjects. Again, the point wouldn’t be to actually make a company out of improving the well-being of farm animals (though that wouldn’t be a bad thing) but to further study how virtual free range works on a lower species in order to find out its possibilities and risks for people like us. We’re probably a long way off from answering questions like those with any real certainty. After all, most of us have never even worn a headset in which we can enjoy virtual free range. But the time when most of the world will have tried on an Oculus Rift headset is fast approaching, and the more research that can be done to figure out virtual reality’s effects outside of on science fiction shows will only give us a better understanding of our future.

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        More by this author

        Matt OKeefe

        Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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        Last Updated on July 10, 2019

        11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

        11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

        Whether at work or at school, people these days are under tremendous pressure to perform, perform and perform! Stress and pressure can have adverse affects on the well-being of a person, and need to be controlled.

        Now, this doesn’t mean you make a dash to your nearest therapist. There are a number of wonderful and smart apps that you can use on your phone. These brain training apps have been scientifically designed to target specific areas of the human mind and control harmful emotions such as anxiety, as well as to improve memory and sharpness of the brain.

        Here are 11 iPhone apps that you will not only enjoy but also find useful in keeping your mental health balanced at all times.

        1. Lumosity

        This app consists of games that focus on improving the user’s memory, problem-solving capability, attention span, and thinking. There are three games in each session, and they challenge the brain by changing every time. The user has to complete the games while playing against a clock.

        Free of trial. $15 per month for the full version.

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        Luminosity Mind training apps-Lifehack

          2. Fit Brains Trainer

          This brain training app has 10 sets of games that work on different areas of the brain and improve memory as well as concentration. A user is required to finish a particular task from each category on a daily basis and the app tracks the progress by a color coded graph.

          Free.

          Fit Brains Trainer Mind training apps-Lifehack

            3. CogniFit Brain Fitness

            Developed with the help of neuroscientists, this fun app improves a person’s cognitive abilities, which includes memory and concentration. The progress made by the user over a period of time can be tracked. Users can also play challenge rounds with their friends. The app also modifies the difficulty level to suit the profile of the user and provide recommendations based on the results. Spending 20–30 minutes a few times every week can give measurable improvement in the performance of a user.

            First four games free, then $13 a month.

            cognifit-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

              4. Brain Fitness Pro

              The makers of this app claim that it can improve the IQ of a user, and improve intelligence and memory. The app is fun and is user friendly, and 30 minutes a day can fetch you results in less than three weeks.

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              Buy for $3.99.

              5. Happify

              If nothing else makes you happy in life, this app will. Well, this is what the developers claim at least. This app comes loaded with lots of quizzes, polls and gratitude journals, which work on the fundamentals of positive psychology. The app also helps to control stress and emotions to make you feel better.

              Free to use.

              Happify-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                6. Clockwork Brain

                You will like the little gold robot that comes in every time to explain the next game you are going to play. While the games are not much different to those offered in apps such as Luminosity, the look and feel reminds me of a workshop from old times.

                Free.

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                Clockwork Trsin-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                  7. ReliefLink

                  Initially created as an app for suicide prevention, it has found its use as a great app for tracking the mood of the user by taking measure of all things relevant to the user’s mental health. In case the user experiences high emotional stress, the app has a coping mechanism that includes voice-recorded mindfulness, exercises and music for relaxation. There is also a map that informs the user of the nearest therapist and medical facilities for mental health treatment.

                  Relief Link - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                    8. Eidetic

                    Eidetic is a memory enhancement app and uses a ‘spaced repetition’ technique to help users memorize information such as important phone numbers, words, credit card details or passwords. It also notifies you when it’s time to take a test to see what you remember, so that you retain information in your long-term memory.

                    Eidetic - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                      9. Braingle

                      Braingle helps to maintain the sharpness of the brain and improve the reasoning ability of a person through riddles and optical illusions. It is different from other brain training apps that employ memory and reaction based tests. You can also compete with your friends and family members in figuring out the fun riddles.

                      Free.

                      Briangle- Mind Training Apps-LIfehack

                        10. Not The Hole Story

                        If you have a penchant for solving hard riddles, then this app is a must-have for you. Filled with exclusive riddles along with a simple-to-use interface, the app gives you riddles that you have to solve through a book. You will be given hints along the way, and when you give up, the answers will be revealed. This app will encourage you to broaden your thinking and put your mind to a challenging test.

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                        Free.

                        Not the hole story - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                          11. Personal Zen

                          This fun brain training app follows the journey of two animated characters who travel through a field of grass. Personal Zen is a nice app meant for reducing anxiety and trains the brain to focus on the positive aspects. The developer’s advice is to use the app for 10 minutes a day to see the best results.

                          Free.

                          personal zen- mind training apps - lifehack

                            Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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