Virtual Reality – Real Pain

The Redmond based Company VirtuSphere developed a unique Virtual Reality (VR) sphere which allows a person to walk, jump and even run while wearing a special wireless VR glasses. This 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.

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 – one can move in any direction, walk, jump, roll, crawl, run over virtually unlimited distances without encountering 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 an advanced tool for professionals such as architects, real estate agents and others who can use virtual walkthroughs in a 3D environment.  

The current VirtuSphere weights a total of between 440-485 pounds / 200-220kg (the sphere itself is about 285 pounds / 120kg) and when it is assembled it has a height of 8.5-10 feet / 2.6-3 meters and a space of about 100 sq. feet (33 sq. meters). The VirtuSphere is made out of 32 hexagon and rounded pentagon shaped parts which are made of ABS plastic and Polycarbonate. 

Apparently you can fall inside the virtual environment just like you would in the real world. However, unlike other events talking place in the virtual world (shooting enemies in Half-Life or terrorists in some army sim) here you 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 as the person falls – taking away some of the negative energy of impact.  

The main issue holding up mass adoption of this immersive VR technology is price – currently anywere between $50-100k. As with all new technologies as time goes by prices will drop and the technology will become more wide spread. 

More images as well as videos from the VirtuSphere website.

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