Photokina 2014 highlights

Virtual Reality

The Omni is an omnidirectional treadmill designed to provide a more immersive gaming exper...

When we first checked in on the Omni, an omnidirectional treadmill from Virtuix designed to translate the user's physical movements into a virtual world, the company was hoping to launch a Kickstarter campaign in May. It missed that target, but only just, with a launch on June 4. The campaign target has already been exceeded many times over, meaning backers could be getting physical within virtual worlds by January 2014.  Read More

Inition's vertigo simulator is impressively overwhelming (Photo: Gizmag)

The ledge I'm standing on has a strange existential duality. In the physical realm, it's a thin strip of red, millimeters above the floor of a pristine white booth in a basement in Shoreditch, London where the 3D tinkerers and technologists (of everything from 3D film to 3D printing) at Inition keep their toys. In the digital realm, which, thanks to the Oculus Rift wrapped around my head, my senses have decided is the more real, the ledge is the only thing between me and a 300-foot plunge ...  Read More

The Omni is an omni-directional treadmill that can be used together with a VR headset, suc...

Omni-directional treadmills promise to take things a stationary step further than current motion controllers, such as the Wii-mote, PlayStation Move and Microsoft Kinect, by translating movements to an onscreen avatar as users walk and run on the spot. The Omni from Virtuix is one such treadmill aimed at home users and its creators recently demonstrated its use with the Oculus Rift, providing a tantalizing glimpse of its potential to provide an immersive virtual reality (VR) experience and really get gamers moving.  Read More

The 3D Forklift Trainer

Workplace safety is a major concern, but training to avoid accidents often involves little more than reading manuals and watching videos before getting behind the controls of a potentially dangerous machine. University of Buffalo spinoff Tactus Technologies’ 3D Forklift Trainer uses gaming technology and software to produce a virtual environment, where beginner forklift drivers can practice without racing about a warehouse in a very heavy vehicle with prongs on it.  Read More

With the lightweight components, wearing the Oculus VR headset is no less cumbersome than ...

The Oculus Rift VR system has been steadily gaining more attention in the past several months, thanks to glowing endorsements from some major figures in the the video game industry and a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign that brought in almost US$2.5 million. We've been following the development of the Oculus Rift for some time now, so finding out the company had its virtual reality goggles available to try on at CES was an especially pleasant surprise. Naturally, we simply couldn't resist giving the Rift a test drive to see if it lived up to all the hype.  Read More

The 'virtual humanoid' prototype will allow you to physically interact with a computer-gen...

Different Dimension Inc., a Japanese start-up company, will begin marketing an Augmented Reality robot doll that can take on the appearance of any virtual character. Essentially, a computer-generated image is projected in real-time onto a robot (covered in green screen material) that is viewable through a head-mounted display (HMD). It's a spin-off of a bizarre research project led by Michihiko Shoji at the Yokohama National University and the Japan Science and Technology Agency, originally developed in 2006.  Read More

The DLR Robotic Motion Simulator accurately recreates the sensation of swerving on the roa...

Computer simulations designed to teach people how to operate a vehicle can reproduce a reasonable facsimile of real-world conditions, but they lack one key ingredient: a realisic sense of motion. That's why companies like Toyota has spent millions developing motion simulators that typically move on six hydraulic arms to recreate the sensation of actual driving. Now, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has built a cost-effective motion simulator powered by a single industrial robot arm that can handle extreme scenarios, such as spin maneuvers and even flight take-off and landing.  Read More

The zSpace 3-D display implements motion parallax by tracking the user's head movements to...

A new interactive 3-D display developed by Californian startup Infinite Z can track hand and eye movements in real time to let users manipulate virtual objects in three dimensions in a highly intuitive way. The zSpace display could bring a new level of realism to computer-aided design, virtual reality simulations, and even gaming.  Read More

A rat interacts with a small robot, which represents a remotely-located human

Earlier this week, we reported on the “beaming” telepresence system being developed by the EU Commission’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS). Once developed, the system should allow users to virtually experience being in a remote location by seeing, hearing and even feeling that location through the sensory inputs of a robot located there. That robot, in turn, would relay the user’s speech and movements to the people at that location. Now, two of the CORDIS partners have put an interesting slant on the technology – they’ve used it to let people interact with rats.  Read More

WizDish in action: in front of a television set accommodating a gamer wearing a VR headset

Virtual reality has always felt like it's on the cusp of becoming huge, but it has never quite managed to gain the momentum needed to put it in the hands of the mainstream. But with the original Wii showing the way, and both PlayStation Move and Xbox Kinect following in its footsteps, the signs are that we're moving away from traditional gaming and towards a future dominated by alternative ways of interacting with virtual worlds. The final piece of the puzzle in bringing VR to the masses could be a simple and affordable method for allowing gamers to move around safely while they have headsets strapped to their faces. The WizDish aims to be just such a device.  Read More

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