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Simulator

Aside from state-of-the-art graphics, the Unreal Engine 3 already has a plethora of progra...

Video game developer, Epic Games, is known for giving players realistic experiences thanks to its popular Unreal Engine platform. But while games like Batman: Arkham City and Gears of War are certainly entertaining, virtually beating up thugs and fighting subterranean creatures doesn't exactly translate into real world skills. However a new agreement with teaching software developer, Virtual Heroes, could see Epic's platform used to create more practical experiences and train medical staff and law enforcement officers to handle high-stress situations. By using Epic's Unreal Engine 3, some United States government agencies like the FBI and US Army are hoping to give their employees tools for virtually practicing their skills in a more realistic environment and better prepare them to save lives.  Read More

Skiing comes to Beverly Hills

Typically when we think of indoor skiing, it's in the form of massive, resource-intensive indoor ski resorts like the Skipark 360 being built in Sweden. German company SkyTec Interactive offers a more streamlined type of indoor skiing: simulated ski training on ski-based exercise equipment with virtual slopes. SkyTec debuted its first public facility in the United States this month.  Read More

Astronauts training aboard the KC-135 aircraft, which inspired the proposed Zero Gravity R...

It appears that BRC Imagination Arts, a Southern California design firm, have a zero gravity roller coaster proposal that’s waiting for a US$50 million investment. BRC’s proposed theme-park ride is inspired by NASA’s astronaut training aircraft the KC-135 (aka “Vomit Comet”) and would give riders the sensation of floating within a stable chamber.  Read More

The Kemper Profiling Amp

Since the late 90s, the holy grail of music technology companies like Line 6 and others has been to digitally re-create guitar amplifiers so that hundreds of iconic tones could be stored in one box and used in the studio or live. Unfortunately, the dynamic behavior and feel of a tube amp is an extremely complex system to understand and while many thousands of guitar amp modellers have been sold due to the sheer convenience, they could not be said to be entirely convincing. In September, a new product called the Kemper Profiling Amp will hit the streets that aims to do away with that complexity and within 30 seconds perfectly re-create any guitar amplifier.  Read More

Engineers at the Ford Motor Company use their Visual Performance Evaluation Lab to determi...

When designing a vehicle’s interior, it’s essential to know what different colors, instrument layouts and lighting options will look like at different times of day. Certain shades of black, for instance, can look almost gray in bright sunlight, while instruments that are clearly visible at night may be subject to glare during the day. Since 2006, engineers at the Ford Motor Company have been using something called the Visual Performance Evaluation Lab (VPEL) to determine what the insides of their vehicles will look like at any time of day, under varying amounts of cloud cover.  Read More

Mommy Tummy is a pregnancy simulation suit, on display at Tokyo Make Meeting

One of the more popular exhibits at Tokyo Make Meeting this past weekend was Mommy Tummy, a pregnancy experience simulation system developed by Kosaka Laboratory of Kanazawa Technical College. It allows men (and others who have never carried a child) to not just feel what it's like to be pregnant, but to also gradually experience the changes. The Mommy Tummy suit is pumped full of water, and the onscreen display updates you as to how far along your pregnancy has progressed. The man's breasts will get bigger as well – did I just write that? – via a pair of inflatable balloons on the front.  Read More

A virtual Buick on a virtual recreation of a real road

It’s not unusual for automotive designers to test virtual models of cars on virtual models of bumpy roads. The model of the car, of course, represents an actual proposed vehicle. As for the road, however... where does that model come from? In the case of new technology used by Buick, it’s a millimeter-precise recreation of an existing, physical road.  Read More

NPL's three-dimensional model ear

When devices such as telephone handsets, headsets, headphones, hearing aids and hearing protectors are electro-acoustically tested, mannequins known as Head and Torso Simulators (HATS) are used to replicate the upper part of the human body. They allow researchers to simulate Head Related Transfer Function, which is the process by which sounds are changed by the time they reach the human eardrum. The mannequins' calibrated pinna (outer ear) simulators have traditionally been represented through a series of two-dimensional cross-sectional profiles – this is the industry standard for pinnas on HATS. Now, as part of a revision of that standard, the Acoustics Team from the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have created a three-dimensional pinna that overcomes the limitations of the 2D variety.  Read More

The Lexus driving simulator

At the Lexus research campus in Higashifuji, Japan, the automotive company has created what it claims is the most advanced driving simulator ever built. It consists of a 15 feet high by 20 feet wide domed pod which moves on a series of interlocking motion tracks within a hangar the size of a football stadium. Inside the pod, a full-size Lexus car is mounted on a turntable, and surrounded by an interactive 360-degree high-definition audio-visual simulation of real world driving environments. By allowing test drivers to safely experience various sketchy driving scenarios, the company hopes to learn more about driver behaviors and reaction times before accidents, then incorporate those findings into new active safety features in their cars.  Read More

The Galvanic vestibular stimulation system

There are airplanes and swimming pools that give prospective astronauts a taste of what a zero-gravity environment will feel like, but the sensations that they will feel upon returning from such an environment are also important to simulate. Astronauts coming back to Earth’s gravity often experience disturbances in their vision and neurological function, to the point that they can have trouble walking, keeping their balance, or even safely landing their spacecraft. By utilizing a Galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) system, however, scientists can give them a sneak peek of what to expect, so they can better compensate for it when it happens in the field.  Read More

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