Nearly half the soldiers returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan are diagnosed with some kind of psychological condition, like post-traumatic stress disorder, brought on by specific battlefield experiences or traumatic brain injuries sustained during combat. To treat these mental battle scars, the new National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) will introduce state-of-the-art virtual reality technology that will help gently reintroduce soldiers to their experiences.
Check out today's featured Invention Award winner, the KOR-fx, a device that makes you feel physically immersed in a videogame.
Shahriar S. Afshar has spent the past five years perfecting a device that pumps sound vibrations directly to your ribcage, intensifying videogame and movie experiences. But when we meet near his office, the 38-year-old first spends an hour talking physics. “The Higgs boson, the so-called God particle?” he says excitedly. “It does not exist!”
Mobile augmented-reality (AR) apps already enhance live video images on your phone to show you real-time info about what’s around you. Upcoming systems take it a step further by actually letting you interact—whether by touching or talking—with miniature virtual worlds.
Our collegiate scholars hold our future in their hands, so it’s always good to see them apply themselves to projects like WiDrive, a remote-controlled, camera-mounted car that can be driven in the first person using an iPhone and a pair of VR glasses.
Someone at Google apparently took pity on the poor users who can only explore Google Earth on their laptops. Jason Holt used his 20 percent project time to create a wraparound view of a modified Google Earth engine, and splashed it across 8 LCD screens in an immersive viewing booth. The result provides a view not unlike that from a starship's bridge, and allows users to seamlessly explore a virtual environment of the Earth, moon, and Mars -- an experience that Google has dubbed "Liquid Galaxy."
Wii wand not cutting it for you anymore? A group of game designers at the National University of Singapore have developed a next-gen immersive gaming system that blends virtual reality and augmented reality with the physical environment. Wearing head-mounted displays and using other peripherals, players use the open space around them to move, jump, crouch and aim within a game, collecting virtual objects and fighting opponents real and virtual along the way.
If the idea of turning consumers into true cyborgs sounds creepy, don't tell Intel researchers. Intel's Pittsburgh lab aims to develop brain implants that can control all sorts of gadgets directly via brain waves by 2020.
Looking to get away to Paris this winter, but concerned about the cost? Worry not; for the price of a pair of lab safety goggles, a cardboard box and an HTC Magic (even better if the HTC magic comes in a large cardboard box), this DIY augmented reality headset can transport you anywhere in the world, just as long as the Google Street View team has been there first.
In this video, a mouse runs through a virtual maze derived from a Quake 2 level, by steering a trackball suspended on a jet of air. Obviously the Princeton scientists did this because it's awesome, but the ostensible reason is because it gives them unprecedented access to study the neurological activity of the rodent while it moves around.
First-person-shooter video games have nothing on a new combat simulator by defense giant Raytheon. Fully rigged warfighters can roam freely in the real world and engage unseen virtual enemies through their VR goggles, tossing real flash-bang grenades and even shaking off the muscle-numbing effects of getting shot.