Get ready to lose yourself in videogames—literally. In May, the Excalibur Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas installed the first public Virtusphere, a human-sized hamster ball that lets you move through virtual worlds by walking, running, or crawling inside it. Until now, the sphere has been used primarily for military and police training.
Now, wearing a virtual-reality visor, anyone inside can play a first-person-shooter game or tour historic Russian architecture.
The 10-foot sphere is made of the same plastic as Legos, and its curvature helps to cushion players if they fall. The ball spins on a platform fitted with 45 caster-mounted wheels. Beneath, an optical sensor tracks motion the same way a computer mouse does, watching for relative movement across x and y axes. To make the experience truly immersive, the player is fitted with a head-mounted display with two internal LCD screens. A laptop wirelessly collects the data from the sensor and the gyroscopes, magnetometers and accelerometers on the headset to create the image the player sees.
As new spheres pop up in malls and arcades, users will be able to jump into movie trailers or globe-trot using Google Earth.
Does the sphere move on the rollers from user-generated force? I wonder when this product was first released because I had an idea like this a few years ago. Complete with sensors that automatically track which direction you are moving and use tiny motors on the rollers to move the sphere in the exact same direction/speed as your foot is moving to give you a realistic feeling of movement while keeping you in place. Granted you would have to stay on your feet, unless it could switch in between computer-movement control for walking and a user-movement control that would be more realistic for scrawling. And if you could somehow make the sphere out of a material that could flatten at the bottom, possibly sliding against a flat surface located beneath user while remaining rigid enough to provide adequate force against your feet without ripping, while regaining it’s curve once it looses contact with the subsurface. Rollers wouldn’t really work but something could be figured out (grabby-velcro-covered rollers?). Maybe instead of surrounding the user the sphere could extend below the unit with the excess being ‘stored’ temporarily between each footfall. Now I’m thinking of single-level, unidirectional escalators… lol.
Just watch. In another 5 years a product just like the one I just thought of will become commercially available. Why do I fear success? Haha
I hope they don't put a limiter on the accelerometers for game play speed. It will be nice to actually play a game where just being a fat A55 little kid isn't all it takes to win. How fast you can run would be how fast the player could. No limits :)
They finally found funding! yay!!! The makers of this sphere were once on the Popular Science TV series and then later on the popular american inventor tv series trying to gain funding. I am glad that this casino is helping them.
Yeow, might have to throw some $$$ at the casino and shoot some bad guys...
Left4Dead with full blown running from zombies anyone?
Even though this sphere is construction from light-weight material, I think it would slow a player's ability to accelerate due to having to overcome the inertia of the sphere in addition to the body's own inertia. Polymath87's ideas of adding motion sensors and motors would reduce that, but you might as well get rid of the sphere at that point and just have a bed of sensor-based motorized rollers.
I think it's getting to the point where people should go do stuff instead of pretending to do stuff.
You know what I want to do after a hard day at work? Sit down and relax with a bit of video games.
You know what I dont want to do? Run 50 miles just to play a game.
There is a reason it stayed in the police and military's hands so long, and there is a reason why it didnt get funding.
meanwhile with the us government...
Would be neat to tie this into Planetside. I don't think consoles are nearly flexible enough. Yeah for PC games again. I am sure it is to expensive for the average player it will only be found in lazer tag type places... which begs the question why not just make a lazer tag place it is cheaper and the weight of the metal cage wont burn your gas too fast.
They just need to make virtual reality a big ass solid white stadium with a headset. let people go crazy.
Old idea - makes great sense. I agree with the person who mentioned running 50 miles though. Suddenly gamers would be in better shape then professional athletes.
I hopped in this thing at Google I/O this year. It was not all that awesome...
I just went 'outside'. The resolution is amazing.
Freaking awesome---where can i get one.. but with-out the glasses..i want the ball wrapped in monitors..
I was thinking along the same lines but what if we could make the ball out of lightweight plastic (vented of course) that would work as a rear projected screen. 5-6 HD projectors should illuminate the ball quite nicely.
I came up with this years ago!!! I just thought it was too impractical!