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Deakin’s Universal Motion Simulator (UMS) enables users to engage in a natural flight experience. Here, users feel g-forces as they soar through virtual and real space. The idea of immersive flight simulations is nothing new, but the advances in technology that provide a stronger feeling of presence cannot be overlooked.


Image copyright F-SIM Space Shuttle.

Admittedly, when I first saw this three things went through my mind. The first was a simulation I participated in as a child – I think it was in a NASA-affiliated museum of some sorts. In this simulator, I had to land a space rocket on the virtual runway. I never forget that experience because I managed to successfully land the space craft, but I didn’t know you had to press the “release parachute” button to slow down. So, my shuttle eventually ran into the grass at the end of the runway. Whoops.


The second thing that came to my mind was a game series on the PS2 called Zone of Enders. With the way the UMS moved about, I thought of how the Jehuty in ZOE moves about on the screen. Sure, I could have thought about other robot games like Armored Core or Gundam, but from my experiences these series always felt a bit slow and clunky compared to ZOE, which is saying something because AC’s battles can be quite fast at times.

And finally, the third thought I had pertains to combining ZOE-like combat with the immersion afforded by the UMS. Creating entertainment applications such as immersive gaming simulators is something I aspire to do one day. While UMS already supports the real-world flight simulation, I think the bigger market will be in the mass consumer sector once the technology becomes more affordable for the general public.

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