Inertial Motion-Tracking Technology for Virtual 3-D.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
- In the 1990s, NASA pioneered virtual reality research. The concept was present long before, but, prior to this, the technology did not exist to make a viable virtual reality system. Scientists had theories and ideas they knew that the concept had potential, but the computers of the 1970s and 1980s were not fast enough, sensors were heavy and cumbersome, and people had difficulty blending fluidly with the machines. Scientists at Ames Research Center built upon the research of previous decades and put the necessary technology behind them, making the theories of virtual reality a reality. Virtual reality systems depend on complex motion-tracking sensors to convey information between the user and the computer to give the user the feeling that he is operating in the real world. These motion-tracking sensors measure and report an object s position and orientation as it changes. A simple example of motion tracking would be the cursor on a computer screen moving in correspondence to the shifting of the mouse. Tracking in 3-D, necessary to create virtual reality, however, is much more complex. To be successful, the perspective of the virtual image seen on the computer must be an accurate representation of what is seen in the real world. As the user s head or camera moves, turns, or tilts, the computer-generated environment must change accordingly with no noticeable lag, jitter, or distortion. Historically, the lack of smooth and rapid tracking of the user s motion has thwarted the widespread use of immersive 3-D computer graphics. NASA uses virtual reality technology for a variety of purposes, mostly training of astronauts. The actual missions are costly and dangerous, so any opportunity the crews have to practice their maneuvering in accurate situations before the mission is valuable and instructive. For that purpose, NASA has funded a great deal of virtual reality research, and benefited from the results.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20060022018.
Spinoff 2005; 59-61; NASA/NP-2005-12-419-HQ.
- No Copyright.
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