Virtual reality was all the rage two decades ago, then fell off the radar screen. However, VR is making a bit of a comeback these days. The success of the Nintendo Wii has trigged renewed interest in VR systems for gaming. And companies are sprouting up that are working on VR projects in a number of other areas.
This 3D, motion-sensing, head-mounted display is targeted at video games. Oculus LLC raised $2.4 million through the Kickstarter crowd-funding site and expects to have a product available late this year or early next year.
VirtuSphere is a 10-foot hollow sphere placed on a special platform that allows it to rotate freely in any direction according to the user's steps. Wearing a wireless, head-mounted display, the user can walk and run inside the virtual environment.
Innovega's iOptik system consists of advanced contact lenses that deliver an immersive display into the wearer's line of sight. The hands-free system could be used on the battlefield, for example, to receive live feeds of information. The company hopes to receive FDA approval for its product this year.
Barco sells 3D simulators for flight training, driving, air traffic control and other applications. The company says that 30% of the world's military pilots have used the system.
Mechdyne's Cave is a room-size virtual reality system that allows multiple people to experience the same VR world at the same time. Cave combines high-resolution projection and 3D computer graphics to create the VR experience.
Intelligent Decisions recently released the Dismounted Soldier Training System to 28 US Army installations worldwide. The virtual reality system is designed to simulate battlefield conditions.
Digital ArtForms develops VR environments for design, medicine and military applications.
The Razer Hydra (previously Sixense TrueMotion) is a motion detection video game controller developed by Sixense Entertainment. It uses a weak magnetic field to detect the position and orientation of the controllers. The current release is wired, but a wireless version is in development.
Leap is developing a $70 motion-sensing alternative to the mouse. The Leap is an iPod-size USB peripheral that creates a 3D interactive space of 8 cubic feet which interacts with and controls software on a Mac or PC. It is slated to be available in February 2013.
Kinect for Windows
Microsoft's Kinect for the Xbox uses infrared cameras to capture movement and gestures, but Microsoft is taking Kinect technology to a new level with Kinect for Windows, which would enable PC users to use gestures instead of a mouse.
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