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 | Source: EurekAlert!
Further information: www.epsrc.ac.uk
Further Reports about: cocoon > computing capabilities > environmental protection > EPSRC > five senses > Mixed Reality Lab > Physical Sciences > real estate > Real Virtuality > Towards Real Virtuality > Virtual Cocoon > virtual environments > Virtual Reality > Virtuality
More articles from Innovative Products:
Robotic insects make first controlled flight
03.05.2013 | Harvard University
Infrared digital holography allows firefighters to see through flames, image moving people
27.02.2013 | The Optical Society
... two engines aircraft project “Elektro E6”.
The countdown has been started for opening the gates again for the worldwide leading aviation and space event in Le Bourget, Paris from June 17th - 23rd, 2013.
EADCO & PC-Aero will present at the Paris Air Show in Hall H4 booth F-7 their new future aircraft and innovative project: ...
Siemens scientists have developed new kinds of ceramics in which they can embed transformers.
The new development allows power supply transformers to be reduced to one fifth of their current size so that the normally separate switched-mode power supply units of light-emitting diodes can be integrated into the module's heat sink.
The new technology was developed in cooperation with industrial and research partners who ...
Cheaper clean-energy technologies could be made possible thanks to a new discovery.
Led by Raymond Schaak, a professor of chemistry at Penn State University, research team members have found that an important chemical reaction that generates hydrogen from water is effectively triggered -- or catalyzed -- by a nanoparticle composed of nickel and phosphorus, two inexpensive elements that are abundant on Earth. ...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT generated a lot of interest at the LASER World of Photonics 2013 trade fair with its numerous industrial laser technology innovations.
Its highlights included beam sources and manufacturing processes for ultrashort laser pulses as well as ways to systematically optimize machining processes using computer simulations. There was even a specialist booth at the fair dedicated to the revolutionary technological potential of digital photonic production.
Now in its fortieth year, LASER World ...
It's not reruns of "The Jetsons", but researchers working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a new microscopy technique that uses a process similar to how an old tube television produces a picture—cathodoluminescence—to image nanoscale features.
Combining the best features of optical and scanning electron microscopy, the fast, versatile, and high-resolution technique allows scientists to view surface and subsurface features potentially as small as 10 nanometers in size.
The new microscopy technique, described in the journal AIP Advances,* uses a beam of electrons to excite a specially ...
18.06.2013 | Materials Sciences
18.06.2013 | Health and Medicine
18.06.2013 | Life Sciences
14.06.2013 | Event News
13.06.2013 | Event News
10.06.2013 | Event News