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Virtual Reality

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

The Microsoft patent application conceives of your whole living space being part of the vi...

Microsoft is beginning to emerge from what some have called "the missing decade" as a company eager to innovate and forge the future rather than be dragged along into it by its competitors. The Xbox brand is very much part of popular culture, and the Xbox 360 is expected to be superseded by a successor in 2013. But Microsoft is looking even further forward than that, with a recently revealed patent application suggesting the company wants to turn living rooms into something akin to the holodecks featured in Star Trek.  Read More

Disney's REVEL system applying virtual textures to  different areas of a teapot (Photo: Di...

Having long been successful with "talkies," Disney has developed technology that could allow the creation of "feelies." While designed more for touchscreens than the silver screen, the REVEL system developed at Disney Research uses reverse electrovibration to bring computerized control over the sense of touch, thereby allowing programmers to change the feel of real-world surfaces and objects without requiring users to wear special gloves or use force-feedback devices.  Read More

The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset that promises to bring VR gaming into the mod...

If you've ever been to a theme park or arcade that offered any virtual reality games, you probably noticed that they were mostly terrible. A lot of the VR headsets give the effect of having a small TV inches from your face along with glitchy, headache-inducing graphics that would have looked out of date a decade ago. A company called Oculus is hoping to change all that with the Rift, a virtual reality headset that promises to bring VR gaming into the modern age with a full stereoscopic 3D display, accurate head tracking, and the backing of several prominent game developers.  Read More

The 'intelligent' goggles use computer algorithms to help the partly-sighted navigate

Researchers at the Universidad Carlos III in Madrid (UC3M), Spain, have developed a pair of “intelligent” goggles that make getting around a bit easier for partly-sighted people, by providing them with Terminator-style vision. Using a pair of cameras mounted on a virtual reality headset connected to a tiny computer, the device scans the area ahead of the wearer and displays information about the scene as color-coded outlines that convey the distance and shapes of objects that are difficult to otherwise see or interpret.  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

Visitors to the Live Park 4D World Tour wear RFID wristbands that allow the displays to id...

New media entertainment company, d'strict, is pushing the concept of virtual reality to a new level with the "Live Park 4D World Tour," a new theme park that recently opened in South Korea. The park is comprised of 65 different attractions over a 10,000 sq. foot (929 sq m) space, which houses several large interactive displays as well as some installation art pieces. Visitors wear RFID wristbands that allow the displays to identify them, while Kinect sensors detect their movements, voices, and faces. Many of the attractions center around having users create an avatar of themselves that they can interact with and take on a virtual adventure, which is portrayed using 3D video, holograms, and augmented reality technology.  Read More

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