DigitalTrends has made a nice visit to Ford’s VR facilities (which I already talked about here), notably the Programmable Vehicle Model (PVM) and the Digital Preassembly Lab, but also the VIRTTEX driving simulator :
There are two things I particularly like about the PVM and the digital assembly :
– Passive haptics: having real objects match virtual objects and obstacles. This improves immersion greatly, and is much easier to setup than real haptics.
– Empathy testing: testing the vehicle with your actual body, then test it with the body of a shorter man, or a taller woman. Feel what it’s like to be in a body different than yours ! Mel Slater is also investigating this issue.
With all that I’m confident we can say that VR has reached the Slope of Enlightenment (even if Gartner is not yet aware of it).