Bangor University computer scientists Nigel John and Jonathan Roberts are developing a "virtual cocoon" that will enable users to experience virtual sites using all of their senses. The scientists say their research could be the first step toward an immersive experience similar to Star Trek's holodeck. The virtual cocoon also could help the environment by reducing the need for travel through the expansion of virtual tourism. "This gives a valid alternative and you could see the site not only as it is today, but as it was when it was first built and smell the smells and hear the sounds associated with that place," John says.
The scientists are working on applications that recreate the physical feel of specific actions, such as using a joystick as though it were a syringe for medical training, creating the slight sensation of pushing through the skin when inserting the needle. Bangor vision scientist Simon Watt is working with John and Roberts to ensure that the system's display fits how the brain recreates the sense of three-dimensional objects. The project is part of a United Kingdom-wide real-virtuality network that involves scientists from all over the country in an effort to develop the technology.
From Western Mail (Wales)
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