The Virtual Panopticon

Impact of New Media Technologies, Fall 1996

Viewing the Panopticon

The panopticon is constructed using VRML 2.0. For this reason, you will need a VRML 2.0 compatible browser to view it. This will NOT work under any VRML 1.0 browser, which includes most of the browsers out there in the world.

For Windows users, the easiest way to view this is to download CosmoPlayer from SGI and install this as the VRML plug-in for your browser. Cosmo looks good and gives you a nice, full-browser view of the world without too much hassle installing and configuring. Once you have installed CosmoPlayer, you can click HERE to enter the panopticon.

Unix people (and also Windows users) can use Liquid Reality to view the world. If you have installed Liquid Reality, you can bring up a Java applet to display the panopticon by clicking HERE.

Macintosh users are, as usual, out in the cold since there are no VRML 2.0 browsers on the Mac yet. I think that Dimension X is working on a port of Liquid Reality, but Mac Java support is so bad that this is a Herculean task.

About the Panopticon

In case you wandered onto this page from somehwere random on the web, the virtual panopticon is project for a class on the impact of new information and media technologies on society. You can read about the panopticon here.

Creating Panopticons (Panopticii?)

Since no home is complete without its own personalized oppressive information space, we are providing you with a small Java program to generate vanity panopticons at no additional cost to you.

The program is made up of the Java program, which must be compiled and run under some Java Virtual Machine such as Sun's JDK, and a text header file that gets prepended into your VRML output. This Java program will not run as an Applet, since it couldn't access files that way, so you need to run it from some sort of command-line. On my system (Linux), I do something like this:

And it outputs the appropriate VRML file.
David Engberg
Last modified: Wed Nov 27 11:19:56 PST