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CGSD demonstrates virtual reality driving simulator

CGSD unveiled its DS-100 Virtual Reality Driving Simulator for the first time at this year's SIGGRAPH. Those visiting the CGSD booth often saw a person staring at a black screen while driving. That is because the DS-100 is a virtual reality driving simulator, in which the computer generated scenery appears on a head mounted display as a bright image against the black background. In fact, most of the interior of the car, including the instrument panel, the rear view mirror, and a front seat passenger all appear in the display. The real steering wheel, turn signal lever, and driver's hands, however, are viewed looking through the see-through headset. The tasteful yellow striping on the steering wheel helps it show up through the headset.

CGSD's DS-100 simulator incorporates a number of innovative features aimed at driving down the cost of driving simulators while maintaining high fidelity. The head mounted display requires only a single channel of computer graphics to support a total field of view of more than 180 degrees as the driver moves his head from right to left. Conventional driving simulators using projection displays typically require three graphics channels for the scenery, another channel for the rear view mirror, and a detailed mockup of the car interior.

A special steering wheel control mechanism that can be unlocked for game applications. When unlocked, pulling back on the steering wheel causes the simulator to climb into the air and push forward causes the simulator to descend. Besides being an ideal feature for commuting and for games, it also provides an easy-to-use interface for applications such as urban visualization.

The DS-100 is currently offered as a platform for driving research, entertainment applications, and special visualization applications. The company intends to eventually prepare software so the system can be used for primary driver education.

For more information contact Computer Graphics Systems Development Corporation (CGSD) via phone at 650-903-4920 or at their website at www.cgsd.com.

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