The New Rotating Hamsterball VR-Motion Simulator Can Help Military Train Pilots
A startup company from New Zealand called Eight360 created a VR motion simulator that can turn in any direction for 180 degrees in just a single second. The VR rig Nova has many exciting potential applications from racing simulators that are responsive to the relative twists and turns of the car to flight simulators that accurately spin the pilot around in real-time.
No one likes throwing-up, right? The company also says that motion-sickness won't be a problem as what's seen from the headset is matched with what's "felt".
Well, it seems like what might be a problem is the pricing for now. The company offers Nova at $150,000 for a leasing agreement of one year, oof, we won't be having dogfighting parties at home just yet. Though this burden might still be negatable for esports cafes. Though we should also note that Eight360 also markets it as an off-the-track training tool for racecar drivers and a flight-training simulator for military settings among its obvious gaming uses.
How it all began
The story actually began as a "weekend hobby beer project" Miller, the founder told New Atlas, and admitted that inclusion of VR was merely an excuse to buy the headset. He explains the first prototype was pitch black inside and was powered through a car battery. Miller says "It actually worked surprisingly well," and adds that after a while "...some metal shavings got in the computer and blew it up, while someone was inside it. It's OK, it was one of us. A founder, that's fine. But it was actually really cool, and we thought we could make this better." An explosive beginning we might say but it didn't keep them from continuing their work.
The ball is highly customizable, it has a built-in powerful computer, a battery storage rig, a chair, and, of course, a harness to keep you from tumbling inside and getting blunt trauma concussions. The controls and even the seat can be changed completely to fit the needs of the user.
While Miller sees himself as no programmer he was the one who wrote the code (in Python) for motion cancellation for what's happening inside the platform. The platform rotates on three omni-wheels, one for each plane of motion: yaw, roll, and pitch.
Another interesting thing to note is the over-qualification of the motors driving the omni-wheels. the motors can rotate 180 degrees in a second but actually, that's faster than what's necessary. Miller says, "...That's faster than a phantom jet fighter. It's lots. The motors are overkill, we're turning them down."