Concept harness (via Digi)
For most of us, virtual reality consists of traveling the globe from our homes using software such as Google Street View. For others, such as Professor Yasushi Ikei, Aki Tsukioka and Takuya Nakajima from the Ikei Laboratory of Tokyo Metropolitan University Graduate School of System Design, virtual reality consists of a full-body experience that takes advantage of all 5 (touch, sight, smell, taste and hearing) senses. The research team unveiled their creation, known as ‘Virtual Body Technology’, last October (2012) at the Digital Contents Expo held in Tokyo and, according to Professor Yasushi, provides an experience that the user has ‘assumed a different person’s body’. Their VBT system is comprised of a large 3D monitor for viewing your surroundings, headphones for immersive sound, a vibrating haptic feed-back recliner for interaction simulation, fans that simulate wind and provide various odors based on location and foot pedals, which give the users the sensation of walking/running (currently there’s no mention of how taste factors in their system. Perhaps it lets you eat a Hot Pocket while strolling through the Vatican?). While for most of us, the Virtual Body Technology may seem like a sit-in driving/flying video game the team states that their system is intended for senior citizens (perhaps the disabled as well?) who have trouble traveling but would like to visit interesting sites and locations around the world.