The rapidly increasing demands of today’s car buyers have placed a heavy burden on car manufacturers to constantly innovate. Building prototypes to test innovative car designs is a lengthy, not to mention expensive, process and one that companies keen to retain their competitive edge can ill afford. With contemporary simulation systems often falling short of R&D expectations, the eight-company-strong team of EUREKA project E! 1924 CARDS (Comprehensive Automobile Research and Development Simulator) sought to design a superior driving simulation system.
“The simulator allows manufacturers to perform virtual prototyping of their R&D innovations and test people’s perceptions of the new design,” explains Dr. Andras Kemeny, Manager of project leader Renault’s Technical Centre for Simulation.
Through a head-mounted display unit (HMD) that uses software originally developed for flight simulation, the user test drives the car ‘virtually’. “Using the head-mounted display, the virtual dashboard can be changed or modified very easily, almost in real time,” Kemeny explains. With the display system there is a sensor that monitors the position and rotations of the user’s head, so that the image inside the unit changes with the car’s simulated movement.
Nicola Vatthauer | alfa
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The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.
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