Who says science isn’t fun. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Germany are studying how humans experience the sensation of motion. Using a giant robot arm hooked up to a racing game they did just that.
Robuffo Giordano and his team chose a Formula 1 simulator game where players will sit in a cabin which is 2 metres off the ground and drive a virtual Ferrari F2007 car around a track with force-feedback steering wheel and pedals. The robot arm used is similiar to the ones usually found in amusement parks as part of the rides.
Compared to standard simulators, the Cybermotion simulator uses a full range of motions and can also turn players upside down. They have even documented the race simulation process in video form, as a test subject hurtles his car round the Monza track. Feedback between the game and mechanical arm was so good that it only had a delay of 40 miliseconds.
Applications for this technology is countless, as it could be applied to other types of simulators such as planes, helicopters, ships, or even in Formula 1 itself. For now the team are working on expanding its range of motion even further.