Blog by Nik Hunt, Corsham Institute’s Project Co-ordinator, following some experiences with the Ci team, of a number of current uses of virtual technology…

There are many interesting ways that visual augmentation technology is currently being used, mainly in the leisure and entertainment sectors.

In 5D cinema, 3D glasses are worn and you sit on mechanical chairs. As the film starts, the chairs move and things from the screen seem to come towards you, while at the same time water gets sprayed at you and the back of your legs are touched from beneath the chairs to synchronise with elements of the film. The films are short, and the technology is aging, but the effect of more than one sense being affected has exciting potential applications. In an educational setting, it could be used to experience what it is like to blast off in a space rocket, how it felt to be in a wartime bunker, or maybe as an inclusive way of showing how it feels to ride a horse.

Urban Golf is golf played in an augmented reality cave. The technology is simple, a projector projecting the image of the golf course and a ball with sensor stickers on it that can detect the acceleration and direction of the ball which is then added onto the play screen, so that it appears that the ball carries on into the screen. There is only one screen used, as three screens, (as we have in the Ci CaVE), require projectors in the middle of the ceiling that would provide a risk when swinging a golf club! The possible educational applications of this technology could be as a sports science aid – combined with a video, it could help students or athletes to evaluate and improve their techniques, not only in golf, but in many ball sports.

Virtual Reality Exhibitions are becoming more commonly used. They consist of a virtual reality headset, headphones and, if they are in a walk-around environment, a backpack that contains a processor and battery. This technology has many promising uses. As it is, it could be used for exhibitions around the world without the artefacts being moved. It could be used to explore any situation that is not easily accessible, you could, for instance, experience what it’s like to be in a submarine. What is most intriguing is the use of physical objects within the space that feel like the objects visible in the VR. It could have uses in education for sensory impairment or as a more interactive experience with different textures to touch, or even science experiments out of the lab.

We have the hardware at Ci for developers to work on and test software for these educational and research purposes. If you have any ideas, contact us at info@corshaminstitute.org or arrange to come and experience our CaVE!