Eight360 – Virtual Reality Just Became More Real
If you’ve ever strapped on an Oculus Rift or similar hardware, then you know virtual reality tech is simultaneously exciting and disappointing. Looking around in a virtual world is fun, but a simple mask and hand controls can’t simulate motion, turbulence, or inversions.
The NOVA, Eight360’s flagship virtual reality simulator, can do all three, and more.
The Future Is Here
Imagine a free-floating glass sphere sitting inside a space-age sheet-metal cradle. Now drop in a VR mask-wearing human being, and you’ve got the basic idea of the NOVA. The sphere can rotate any direction and can do a complete 180 in about a second. Because users are experiencing motion in both the real and virtual world, the classic motion sickness symptoms of virtual reality are nearly non-existent. Custom motion profiles round out the software package — the NOVA can accurately simulate race tracks, off-road conditions, jet fighters, spaceships, submarines, and more.
The physical controls inside the NOVA are easy to switch out and customize, so the utility for entertainment and training is virtually limitless.
Engineered for Convenience
The NOVA’s design keeps it as portable and maneuverable as possible. It weighs about 1,000 pounds so that you can move it around with equipment like a standard pallet jack. It doesn’t take up much floor space — only about seven by seven feet. Eight360 wanted the NOVA to use off-the-shelf parts whenever possible. This modularity allows for efficient and quick servicing of the machines (it speeds up the manufacturing process as well).
Designed for Everybody
Eight360 founder Terry Miller originally conceived of the NOVA as a helicopter simulator for pilot training. After two years of development, he had a machine that could do that so much more. The project won Terry New Zealand’s Young Engineer of the Year award in 2019. After two-and-a-half years of not being paid (Terry and his wife moved in with Terry’s parents while he got the project off the ground), Terry and Eight360 landed their first contract – a deal with the New Zealand Defence Force.
But the NOVA is about so much more than just aviation training. Companies can use it to teach truckers to drive in challenging conditions, or construction workers can use it to train on complicated heavy machinery.
Don’t forget the entertainment applications. The NOVA already interfaces with several PC games, and we have to assume more are on the way. Best of all, the NOVA supports networking, so users in separate machines can inhabit the same virtual world.
Care for a race, anyone?