Considering that the average person can pull out a device smaller than their hand and access the collective general knowledge of the world, and that a group of above average people managed to shoot a remotely operated vehicle on a planet hundreds of millions of miles away, it takes a lot for a new technological idea to make you take notice.
But that is the case with Ikei Laboratory’s Virtual Body Technology, as it explores that age old fascinating concept of virtual reality in an exciting and new way, where the user is allowed to see, hear, smell, and feel what another person would be seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling in a completely different part of the world.
It’s not quite stepping into someone else’s shoes, especially as the avatar isn’t real and the experience is predetermined, but what’s impressive is the sheer set up of the device, which revolves around a motion capable chair facing a 3D monitor, surrounded by fans that simulate smells and sensations (like the wind), while the user wears a pair of high quality headphones and fits themselves into a foot rig that’s motion and vibration can simulate walking and running. It’s extremely comprehensive in recreating genuine physical experiences.
Honestly, this kind of thing has been around for a while, and is even used in high-tech movie theaters and theme parks as an attraction. This design is slightly different though in how many sensations and experiences it can recreate and, more importantly, how accurately it can recreate them. Even with all of our technological advancements, virtual reality is still an idea that eludes us in the classic sense of the term, but this device is a practical step forward in closing in on the idea.
Right now the main motivation behind the device is to allow elderly people who may be unable to do so traditionally the chance to explore new places in the most complete way possible. However, it is also capable of scenarios like recreating the sensation of running like world champion Usain Bolt. In other words, it has the potential to provide a uniquely entertaining experience for anyone who straps themselves in.
Well, unless they choose the Jay Cutler simulator.
Either sci-fi film directors in the past were strangely prophetic, or the entire field of science is really just made up of geeks trying to recreate “Star Trek,” but for some reason there is quite a selection of gadgets available ripped straight from science fiction. From smartphones, to bluetooth headsets, to good old fashioned space ships, the amount of technology available that was once reserved for fictional far off worlds is quite impressive.
Yet for all of the progress made in the field of science fiction to science fact, there are a few notable items that are still not quite widely available as of yet. Tired of waiting (I blame this insta-result technology fueled world we live in) I’ve decided to check back in with some of the greatest sci-fi inventions of all time, and see where real life is in producing their equivalent.
Virtual Chess Board
In The Movies – The virtual chess board has made appearances here and there, but its spotlight moment has to be in “Star Wars” when R2-D2 played Chewbacca in a game. The game may not have exactly been chess, but it did show us two things. That chess would be much cooler if the pieces were homicidal holograms, and that you always let the wookie win.
In Real Life – While video games have been giving us virtual chess matches for years, we’re surprisingly behind as a society on recreating the physical experience. In fact, I had a tough time finding anything that comes close to the “Star Wars version” we are all familiar with, as that picture up there is just an LED set of chess pieces designed to give off the illusion (fooled ya). While several companies are investigating the potential for hologram technology (not to mention that Tupac thing), this is one seemingly simple (in comparison to some of the other items on this list) sci-fi invention that is lagging behind.
In The Movies – There are too many incidents of laser guns in the movies to keep up with. From “Star Trek” to “Star Wars,” almost every science fiction work that feature shoot outs features lasers. Why? Well not only are they flashy, cool, and look better for the camera, but they’re really flashy, pretty damn cool, and look great on the camera.
In Real Life – Not surprisingly, while we are lagging on the recreation of a holographic chess board experience, we’re well ahead of schedule on deadly laser projectiles. The army has several deadly prototypes available, but I’m more impressed by what’s being done on the civilian level. Particularly by the team down at laser-gadgets.com.
And to think respected scientists have been wasting their laser research time on medicine.