Universities have been taking on researching into virtual reality (VR) more rapidly, and the University of Birmingham’s Human Interface Technology (HIT) team seems to be keeping up the momentum with its latest venture into not only creating a VR simulation, but trying to create a tool that can benefit the outside world.
This VR experience is of a Chinook helicopter, and has been designed as a high-tech solution to help medics in the Armed Forces to train for battlefield casualties that require emergency medicine, and this is often done in the back of a helicopter – hence the setting.
The training experience incorporates a human body – not real – and an inflatable Chinook interior, all together with what the university says to be both VR and AR technology – but it isn’t clear what type of head-mounted display (HMD) it is using.
“Using an Augmented Reality head-mounted display, trainees are able to experience interacting with a body that has both visual and haptic elements. The position of head mounted display is tracked in real time, and in six degrees of freedom, using an OptiTrack V120 optical/infrared motion capture system. This same system is used to track the end user’s hands, using small infrared markers mounted on lightweight gloves.”
Professor Bob Stone, the team Director from the University of Birmingham, explained in a press release: “As we were watching the trainee medics loading, unloading and interacting with simulated bodies, all within a mock-up of a Chinook cabin, it became very clear that this was no ordinary Virtual or Augmented Reality project for us.
“The way the teams communicated under conditions of stress and background noise, the cramped nature of the cabin, the range of medical equipment, the types of injuries experienced; all of these drove our decision to consider developing a very new Mixed Reality solution, blending the best of the virtual with actual physical elements representing the real.”
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