Researchers at the University of Michigan have been tinkering with virtual reality for years, but the makeshift holodeck just got a major upgrade.
The university has hosted a 10-foot-by-10-foot virtual reality testing environment covered with projection walls since 1997. Now they’ve reprogrammed the system to be run by the powerful Unreal Engine videogame software, which can be used to create extremely detailed and ambitious environments.
Dubbed MIDEN (Michigan Immersive Digital Experience Nexus), the virtual-reality system uses stereoscopic glasses and a gaming controller for motion and perspective. By using the controller, users can manipulate objects in the environment, and potentially move through a virtual world of limitless size. The Unreal Engine allows for the creation of realistic water, foliage or glass, and effects like fire and transitions in the time of day — which go a long way in building the illusion.
Here’s how the university described the project in a statement:
“Incorporating the Unreal Engine into a space like the MIDEN allows visitors to experience an intense level of realism never before achieved in this sort of environment, opening new doors not just for gamers, but for those seeking high quality visualizations for research and exploration. Unreal Engine brings a wide range of materials and visual effects to any scene.”
Check out a video of the MIDEN in action below and let us know what you think:
(Via Popular Science)