What was it really like to live in Ancient Egypt? What did the streets there actually look, sound and smell like? For decades, Virtual Reality has held out the hope that, one day, we might be able visit all kinds of places and periods as 'virtual' tourists.
To date, though, Virtual Reality devices have not been able to stimulate simultaneously all five senses with a high degree of realism.
But with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), scientists from the Universities of York and Warwick believe they have been able to pinpoint the necessary expertise to make this possible, in a project called 'Towards Real Virtuality'.
'Real Virtuality' is a term coined by the project team to highlight their aim of providing a 'real' experience in which all senses are stimulated in such a way that the user has a fully immersive perceptual experience, during which s/he cannot tell whether or not it is real.
Teams at York and Warwick now aim to link up with experts at the Universities of Bangor, Bradford and Brighton to develop the 'Virtual Cocoon' – a new Real Virtuality device that can stimulate all five senses much more realistically than any other current or prospective device.
For the user the 'Virtual Cocoon' will consist of a headset incorporating specially developed electronics and computing capabilities. It could help unlock the full potential benefits of Real Virtuality in fields such as education, business and environmental protection.
A mock-up of the Virtual Cocoon will be on display at 'Pioneers 09', an EPSRC showcase event to be held at London's Olympia Conference Centre on Wednesday 4th March.
Professor David Howard of the University of York, lead scientist on the initiative, says: "Virtual Reality projects have typically only focused on one or two of the five senses – usually sight and hearing. We're not aware of any other research group anywhere else in the world doing what we plan to do.
"Smell will be generated electronically via a new technique being pioneered by Alan Chalmers and his team at Warwick which will deliver a pre-determined smell recipe on-demand. Taste and smell are closely linked but we intend to provide a texture sensation relating to something being in the mouth. Tactile devices will provide touch."
A key objective will be to optimise the way all five senses interact, as in real life. The team also aim to make the Virtual Cocoon much lighter, more comfortable and less expensive than existing devices, as a result of the improved computing and electronics they develop.
There has been considerable public debate on health & safety as well as on ethical issues surrounding Real Virtuality, since this kind of technology fundamentally involves immersing users in virtual environments that separate them from the real world.
Professor David Howard says: "In addition to the technical development of the Virtual Cocoon, we aim to closely evaluate the full, far-reaching economic and other implications of more widespread application of Real Virtuality technologies for society as a whole."
Dan Stern | EurekAlert!
Healthy Hiking in Smart Socks
22.02.2017 | Technische Universität Chemnitz
A shampoo bottle that empties completely -- every last drop
27.06.2016 | Ohio State University
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.
On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
01.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
01.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
01.03.2017 | Life Sciences