As computers grow in ability to access and process ever-larger blocks of data within real-time responses, their ability to generate virtual reality responses has multiplied exponentially. Simultaneously, computer capabilities of using huge data files to control manufacturing processes, create rapid prototypes, augment human senses, and control vehicles and machines have given them the ability to control and even create physical reality. But computers now have the ability to blur the lines between virtual and physical realities in areas which include video manipulation, virtual reality with tactile feedback, and physical training devices such as flight training simulators.
This paper investigates types of computer-generated virtual/physical realities and their uses and implications for industry and consumers alike. Examples of research by the authors in video manipulation and training, solid modeling, animated simulation, manufacturing, rapid prototyping, and reverse engineering will be presented, along with data base corruption, and data manipulation methods and problems. Finally, applications and future implications of this technology will be presented.