EXERCISE 20.4 [extra - not in book]
(Cross-refer to Chapter 2) Flight simulators and driving simulators are common in games consoles and amusement arcades.
(i) Home video games typically only have a joystick, mouse or keyboard for input and a normal screen for output. Describe techniques that are used to achieve a sense of immersion in flight and driving simulation programs.
(ii) Compare this with the hardware/software available in arcade simulators.
(iii) If a VR headset were available, what additional cues would be available to enhance the sense of reality.
(iv) There are 'serious' applications of similar VR techniques such as commercial flight simulators or the simulation of the bridge of a large ship using back-projected video. How does this differ from the above?
(v) Describe other serious applications of VR that utilise techniques or equipment beyond those mentioned here.
answer available for tutors only
(i) 3D effects: shadows, occlusion, perspective, etc. Some users will have lifelike driving wheels or joysticks, some with force feedback. The importance of interaction including virtual movement and control of objects.
(ii)The larger screen increases a user's field of view. There may be faster processing to improve interactive feedback. The biggest effect is from better input devices, especially moving motorcycle seats for 'whole body' tracking. Experienced users also note sound effects including under-seat 'woofers' as being of crucial importance.
(iii)Main effects: stereo vision to improve 3D effects. Detection of head movement to give views of different parts of the scene; in some systems, to determine the direction of movement. May also note the importance of fast enough feedback to avoid nausea.
(iv) User may be inside a real physical envirnoment with real controls (e.g. using hydraulic rams to move the cockpit), which make the simulated environment very like reality. Large scale command and control environments, such as the bridge of a ship or a nuclear control room, may include slower, but more complex, multi-user interaction.
(v) Examples include: a VR system at the molecular level, using a 3D input device, the dataglove, to explore complex proteins; virtual surgery, using a computer model of an actual patient, and force feedback, to allow perfection of surgical techniques.