The Redmond-based company VirtuSphere has developed a unique virtual reality sphere which allows a person to walk, jump and even run while wearing a special wireless VR glasses. This device which can only be described as ultra-immersive VR has already been tested by the U.S. Office of Naval Research and is currently on the market for whoever can afford the $50-100k price tag.
So, how does it work? The VirtuSphere consists of a large hollow sphere that sits on top of a base allowing the sphere to rotate 360 degrees. Wearing a wireless, head-mounted display, users can step inside the sphere to fully interact in immersive virtual environments. The VirtuSphere enables 6 degrees of freedom so one can move in any direction, walk, jump, roll, crawl, run over virtually unlimited distances without encountering any real-world physical obstacles.
The VirtuSphere was designed for multiple applications and possible consumers including a military simulator for training exercises, VR technology for the electronic gaming industry and also an advanced tool for professionals such as architects, real estate agents and all others who can use virtual walkthroughs in a 3D environment.
A great selling point of the device and also something I see as hugely revolutionary is that unlike other events taking place in the virtual world (such as say shooting enemies in Half-Life) here one will actually feel the pain of the fall! VirtuSphere claims that in 99% of the cases you should be able to get up by yourself and that falling in the VirtuSphere may be less traumatic, as by design the sphere rotates on the supporting platform and a lot of the fall impact is absorbed. Still not so sure I want to try that (isn't the sphere made of steel!?!) but the concept of this does nonetheless sound amazing!
Obviously, the main issue holding up mass adoption of this immersive VR technology is the price but as with all new technologies as time goes by prices will drop and the technology will become more wide spread. I for one am looking very forward to see this sphere involved in research projects as it looks like it could assist in exploring avenues that were virtually impossible to access before...