Monday, December 3, 2007

Virtual reality inside a ball


Imagine you're running through Central Park, the birds are singing, the sun is out and you're having a wonderful time. Or you could be on the battlefield fighting a war. And you don't even have to leave your house to experience all that!
If Alexey Palladin wants to see into the future, all he has to do is go to his garage. He doesn't have a crystal ball, but rather a giant, plastic one.
"This is the VirtuSphere - a device that will allow people to walk effortlessly in virtual reality," he said.
It may look like a human hamster wheel, but Alexey and his company, VirtuSphere Inc., believe this device will add a whole new spin on virtual reality.
"You can walk, you can run, you can crawl, you can jump, you can roll, you can do all kinds of things," Alexey said.
How it works is relatively simple.


"The VirtuSphere acts like a giant track ball. As it rolls, the coordinates are sent to the PC and as you walk the PC knows that and relays the information back to you showing you a different position," he explained.
So who's using this invention?
"We just got an order from the Office of Naval Research. The U.S. Marines want to test the VirtuSphere for their virtual environments. They want to train soldiers in a very safe way allowing them to be immersed into virtual battle, but at the same time be safe," Alexey said.
The VirtuSphere can also let people walk through buildings that haven't even been built.
"The Moscow Olympic Committee who are bidding on the 2012 Games asked us to create a virtual reality model of the future buildings that they would build," he continued. "While other potential Olympic cities just showed snapshots, members of the International Olympic Committee actually got inside the sphere and they walked around. They could see, they could touch, they could feel, they could see just what will be created seven years in the future."
So from battles, to buildings, Alexey believes the uses of the VirtuSphere are virtually limitless.
Whether it makes it into your garage though is a reality only he can see for now.
Alexey is currently looking for space in Sammamish where they can produce the VirtuSphere full-time."The VirtuSphere acts like a giant track ball. As it rolls, the coordinates are sent to the PC and as you walk the PC knows that and relays the information back to you showing you a different position," he explained.
So who's using this invention?
"We just got an order from the Office of Naval Research. The U.S. Marines want to test the VirtuSphere for their virtual environments. They want to train soldiers in a very safe way allowing them to be immersed into virtual battle, but at the same time be safe," Alexey said.
The VirtuSphere can also let people walk through buildings that haven't even been built.
"The Moscow Olympic Committee who are bidding on the 2012 Games asked us to create a virtual reality model of the future buildings that they would build," he continued. "While other potential Olympic cities just showed snapshots, members of the International Olympic Committee actually got inside the sphere and they walked around. They could see, they could touch, they could feel, they could see just what will be created seven years in the future."
So from battles, to buildings, Alexey believes the uses of the VirtuSphere are virtually limitless.
Whether it makes it into your garage though is a reality only he can see for now.
Alexey is currently looking for space in Sammamish where they can produce the VirtuSphere full-time.