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Category Archives: Research & Academia


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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Found this on TechCrunch:

TechCrunch Image

 

Soon you, too, will be able to talk to the hand. A new interface created jointly by Microsoft and the Carnegie Mellon Human Computer Interaction Institute allows for interfaces to be displayed on any surface, including notebooks, body parts, and tables. The UI is completely multitouch and the “shoulder-worn” system will locate the surface you’re working on in 3D space, ensuring the UI is always accessible. It uses a picoprojector and a 3D scanner similar to the Kinect.

Click here for more of the story!

Kajimoto Laboratory

As one of our most under appreciated yet useful senses, touch has been a tricky experience to simulate realistically in immersive environments and VR simulations.  Most attempts to increase tactile presence (how real a situation feels to you) in simulations involve general vibrations across our skin such as the commercial N64’s Rumble Pak, force-feedback haptic devices like SensAble’s PHANTOM Omni or Novint’s Falcon, and shear forces (the sensation on your skin as an object’s surface runs along it) like some of the research conducted in the Kajimoto Laboratory.

Kaji-Lab has done extensive research in haptic and multimodal interfaces since 2006.  What I find most intriguing about this lab is their drive to study and virtually replicate a variety of interactions, including the sensations of tele-present kissing…

and simulated “bassari” (feeling of being cut by a sword)…

I haven’t heard any other news about the kissing machine, but the bassari research seems to have undergone a newer iteration as demonstrated in this article.

While some may be skeptical about these particular ideas, it is this kind of work that paves the way for improving our immersive technologies and experiences.  For more information about the Kajimoto Laboratory and their work, please check out their website here:

http://kaji-lab.jp/en/index.php?FrontPage

A virtual Reality and converging technologies conference located in France (March 28 – April 1 2012).  If you’re interested in VR or related fields, this is definitely the event to attend to get a feel for what’s cutting edge in industry and research.

As for logistics, The conference begins March 28th for professionals and opens up to the general public on March 31st and April 1st.  Major VR R&D companies like Mechdyne Corporation, Disney Research, and NVIDIA will be attending this year.  More information can be found at laval-virtual.org, but be warned that the site is predominately in French with limited English translations scattered about!