Video: Immersive Flight Simulation Dome Offers Seamless, Super-Real 360-Degree Views

Barco, a maker of large-format projector technologies, has just unveiled what it is calling a breakthrough in flight simulator technology, and for all the hardware involved we’re inclined to agree that his must be something big. The new flight simulator dome–it’s really more like a sphere–offers state of the art high-res visuals and full 360-degree views, allowing fighter pilot trainees to spot other aircraft from 12 miles away.

That’s something of a step up from that flight simulator you used to play on your mom’s PC. The dome is bathed in light from 13 or 14 10-megapixel projectors, which are calibrated by laser to ensure complete crispness in picture. The projectors can also display imagery in infrared so pilots can train for night flights–wearing night vision, pilots actually see the blooming and halo effects caused by night vision technology.

That kind of realism is critical to ensuring pilots are prepared for real-world scenarios, the company says, and should help launch a new generation of similar simulators designed around a completely immersive experience in which several pilots can actually work together to carry out a mission rather than just run through a set of programmed scenarios.

The setups are configurable and customizable so you’ll have to call up Barco if you want a price quote. The video below is mostly an extended commercial for the product, but it does provide some nice views from inside the cockpit.