Closing the loop in virtual technology
i can't afford 'airtime' in an aircraft simulator, but maybe, just maybe, i could build my own..
As i understand it, augmented reality is VR/data inserted into our field of view so we can better deal with reality. A fictional example would be Arnold as Terminator scanning a truck interior and his 'data retrieval system' highlighting the functioning parts essentially educating him how to run the vehicle. A non-fictional example can be seen clearly on the video 10 images down on the page above: the Pachube demo.
Noah has developed a glove, i believe, without accelerometers (essentially, precise motion sensors) which are the 'pricier end' of motion detection technology. i'm attempting to contact him directly to confirm this point. i've introduced my idea of enhancing Noah's/other glove to an engineer friend of mine but he's not expressed any interest.. So i will describe it here in case any readers with engineering aptitude might like to work with me on the project..
The expensive version follows.. We put accelerometers on each fingernail and one at the base of the palm - so six in total for each hand. A good video about this part of the existing design is here. The purpose of these motion detectors is to establish the precise location of your hands and individual fingers. Next part of the loop is a decent pair of virtual goggles with wide field-of-view and decent resolution. Noah's version would have a camera on them so he could map or layer VR/data with reality. My version, for purpose mentioned above, would simply be a pair of decent virtual goggles.
Completing the sensory loop in the scenario above is performed by pressure simulators on the palm-side of the gloves. Initially, there could be five mini-transducers on each finger/thumb-pad area. Later, more could be introduced in other areas if desired. Low frequency sounds can be used to simulate pressure-sensation so these signals can be used to simulate the feeling of pressure on those 10 finger/thumb-pad areas. Research would have to be performed to determine what frequency-amplitude selection produced the desired effects, but i'm confident this approach is doable .. In my application, the more you'd squeeze on a virtual yoke in your virtual cockpit, the more pressure you'd feel on your finger/thumb-pads.
The reason we need to complete the sensory loop in VR applications is this: we need some way to 'feel' the virtual objects in our virtual environment. When i flick a virtual switch in my virtual cockpit, i need to feel it on my fingers to verify i've done it. i also need to feel the yoke in my hands with 'reverse pressure' to know i'm holding it. Otherwise, how do i know? i don't. It's an essential part of the sensory loop in VR.
Once we close the sensory loop in VR, all kinds of applications open up:
education - physics and chemistry labs performed in VR, safely and without leaving your home
games - all kinds of games could be enhanced to be more realistic, like tennis in VR
relationships - the technology could be adapted for couples wishing more intimacy but unable
to physically consumate their desire, due to distance
This last example is comically illustrated in the film Thomas in Love.
Personally, i'm not especially interested in adapting the technology described above for distance / virtual sex. But it could be done and there'd be a huge market for it..
^^ Anyways, if any readers with engineering background are interested in working on the project with me, please contact me directly at micheals(at)msu.edu