Grandma & Grandpa's Farm

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hamster Ball to the Recue! - Virtusphere

Something New For Virtual Reality -- A People Ball!

Actually it looks pretty cool -- I mean I haven't seen it in person and haven't really even seen a video of it in action but the concept and stills I see give me a good idea of what it is about.

The user appears to be in a large sphere -- large enough that his shoulders or chest appear to be at the centre of the sphere as he stands in the middle. There are two versions on VIRTUSPHERE's web page, one sphere looks like it is made of a combination of slightly domed transparent plastic pentagons and hexagons, (image to right -- image from virtusphere) the other sphere appears to be made of a perforated metal mesh.(image to left -- image from virtusphere)

I might think the metal mesh one is intended for the military clients they are seeking -- that is backed by the filename, "VS_mil11-218x264.jpg". Actually it makes me think of my friends who play "Halo" -- not that they dress that way, just that I think that the pictures of the characters I think look a bit like that.

Watching the video of the Virtusphere in operation they look like they take a few moments to get used to. I remember trying to walk in that rotating cylinder in the "Funhouse" at the Calgary Stampede Fairground Midway and working to keep my footing and at that young age failing -- but it looks like it doesn't take very long at all. I only see one or two stumbles in the very beginning. Looking at the page with the videos and photos with the captions I take it that the transparent plastic sphere really is just for "show" and the metal sphere is the actual working model.

On their FAQ page I note in answer to the question -- "Q: Have you sold any?":

A: VirtuSphere has sold products and services to the Office of Naval Research, Intel Corporation, Moscow City Government’s Tourism Office, TatNeft Oil, Moscow 2012 Olympic Bid Committee and a number of other fine customers. VirtuSphere systems have been delivered to the Naval Research Lab/U.S. Marine Corp's VIRTE program, the Museum of Communications and University of Telecommunications, and the University of Washington, among others. 18 VirtuSphere systems have been built. We have received numerous RFPs and are working with interested parties in different parts of Europe, Asia, America, and the Middle East.

Now I don't see that too many gamers are going to jump and buy them for their game centres at home. Even if they had the room for an 8.5 - 10 foot sphere in their living room -- I think it is a bit bigger than the average pool table. (joking). I think it would be fun... they say they are the first step towards a "Star Trek Holodeck"... though I still remember my experiences with the Fun house tunnel...

~ Darrell


DailyStrength - Free Online Support Groups

No comments: