PPG Simulator News - 3/25/11

Hang-Man Prototype Progress

Now that the first Hang-Man prototype H-frame is nearly completed (of course, we already have thoughts of an updated design in process) , we're moving on to build the Hang-Man prototype "back-bone". This is the structure which will support the H-frame and will allow the simulator to be a complete stand-alone unit.

For the H-frame , we used standard 1x2" carbon steel at 1/8" wall thickness, with a few 1/8" pieces for gussets. The back-bone will most likely be constructed out of 2x2" steel, with the option for it to attach to a set of "feet", or to be mounted to the back of a car or truck by attaching it to the receiver hitch.

Our desire for the back-bone, just like the H-frame, is to be strong, light, as small a footprint as possible while remaining stable, and above all, safe. Safety is the number one attribute to keep in mind when building anything that you a) hang from, and b) hangs over you. We plan on using the simulator at various events, where children are most invariably involved, and want to have 100% assurance that a mishap won't occur due to the design and construction of the simulator. Besides using appropriate material and design techniques, we'll use safety cabling, foam rubber on potential impact areas (such as on the h-frame where a person might unwittingly walk into it), and even have the kids wear helmets (and for a few adults that I can think of offhand ;)

Between work and flying, we'll continue our progress on the back-bone and may have the prototype done within the next month or so.

Enough of the hardware talk, now onto.....

Virtual Stuff

Now that the simulator framing hardware is coming together, I thought I'd talk a little bit about the virtual side of the sim.

As I've mentioned elsewhere on this site, my original intent was to use a set of VR glasses as the primary display device. What I soon found out is how straining the current crop of consumer VR glasses (under $1000) can be to the eyes. After 15 minutes, you have to take a break from using these, else if feels like your eyes are being pulled out of their sockets. Also, the field of view (FOV) of most of the consumer VR glasses are around 30 degrees, which isn't much different than staring at a 19" computer monitor from 2 feet away. Also, the resolution and brightness of the glasses are subpar (800x600 typical), and can be difficult to set-up.

Now, you can certainly purchase some very nice VR goggles that feature 60 degrees of vision and are high-def, but they're cost you well over $5000! What I'm waiting for are the new 180/360 degree "bubble helmets" that are planned to be released to the consumer market. Of course, I'll have to wait until the day when they're cheap enough to buy them at Walmart before I would get one.

So, moving away from the VR glasses, what I've found is that a computer monitor, TV, or projector actually works very well, and the bigger the better!



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