Step into the Virtusphere, where virtual reality meets real life. Safely traverse a real or imagined 3-D world in micro or macro. Walk through the human nervous system, a battleground, a crime scene, an alien planet, or even a data set. Virtusphere transcends the physical and financial limitations of time, space, and materials. Partner with Harrisburg University on a Virtusphere project, and open up new worlds in training, gaming, and learning.
What is it?
The Virtusphere is a versatile simulation platform comprising a 10-foot, hollow ball of ABS plastic, hardware that includes wireless head-mounted display goggles, and software. Since its commercialization in 2007, the Virtusphere has found uses in military and law enforcement training, gaming, education, and corporate training. In 3-D virtual reality, users safely explore hazardous or complex environments, or they become immersed in full-body gaming experiences. Harrisburg University has the only Virtusphere in the eastern United States.
How it works
The user steps into the Virtusphere – a safe and secure ball rolling on a base of casters – and dons a head-mounted display. Twin physical forces go to work, as the user walks in any direction and looks up, down, and around. Sensors monitor the speed and direction of the steps and the direction of the gaze, and the image seen on the head-mounted display goes wherever the user walks and looks. A light plastic gun can also be carried for sending signals and targeting. Other people can view the scene on monitors outside the Virtusphere, and the experience can be recorded for future use as a training and evaluation tool.
Uses and Applications
Harrisburg University partners with business, government, and nonprofits to bridge the divide between academia and real-world technological breakthroughs. For Virtusphere partners, HU offers software development expertise to create customized applications. As a bonus, STEM-focused graduate and undergraduate students contribute to projects, building experience in 3-D technologies that they can transport into the workforce. These capabilities elevate the Virtusphere from an intriguing gadget to a targeted, versatile, and cost-effective training tool for a range of industries and fields including, but not limited to, corporate training, education, history, emergency services, military, and gaming.