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2007/94/2 Virtual Reality game console 1000CS, with computer removed, consisting of game station, Commodore 3000 computer, head mounted display (HMD), joystick and steps, metal / plastic / electrical and electronic components, designed and made by W Industries Ltd, Leicester, Leicestershire, England. Click to enlarge.

Virtual Reality game station

Made
While virtual reality (VR) is a technology that can be understood as having a long history, electronically perhaps based in flight simulation, it became the subject of intense public interest in around 1990, peaking in the next two to three years. Media generated hyperbole fuelled the idea that AR was electronic LSD and virtual sex, indistinguishable from the real thing, and access to the technology was just around the corner.

During this period there was actually a lot of serious research …

Summary

Object No.

2007/94/2

Object Statement

Virtual Reality game console 1000CS, with computer removed, consisting of game station, Commodore 3000 computer, head mounted display (HMD), joystick and steps, metal / plastic / electrical and electronic components, designed and made by W Industries Ltd, Leicester, Leicestershire, England, 1992-1994

Physical Description

Virtual Reality game console 1000CS, with computer removed, consisting of game station, Commodore 3000 computer, head mounted display (HMD), joystick and steps, metal / plastic / electrical and electronic components, designed and made by W Industries Ltd, Leicester, Leicestershire, England, 1992-1994

The system consists of two circular platforms 500mm from the floor with a safety barrier supported by three legs or posts. The safety barrier also houses a transmitting loop which creates a magnetic field which is part of the system for tracking movement. The safety ring is hinged so that it lifts to let the user onto to he platform and lowers again when they are about to use the machine. The platform including the post and safety ring are made of thick moulded blue plastic.

Under the platform is the housing for the computer. The computer is separated from this game station as it was used for parts to keep the computer in another game station operating. The computer has a cream coloured hard plastic exterior with a floppy disk-drive slot at the front of the unit, and inputs and outputs for linking to peripherals at the rear.

The unit has a head mounted display (HMD) and a Joystick/gun hand interface which are attached by cables to the platform. Each joystick and HMD has a polhemus 3d space tracking sensor mounted on it.

The HMD is made of tough, moulded dark grey plastic. Along the front of the HMD is a strip of thick yellow Styrofoam with the word Virtuality moulded into it. The HMD is adjusted via a knob in the top of the band that sits over the top of the head - the inside of the HMD has thick blue Styrofoam cushioning that is loosened or tightened via the knob; the cushioning sits over the top of the head and around the back of the head. There is a stereoscopic display screen that sits directly in front of the eyes. The user views the game's action through these. At the rear of the HMDs there are two inputs for the cables that link the HMDs to the computer.

The joystick, or controller, has a hand grip which the user holds in a similar way one would hold a pistol. There is a control button on the top of the unit, activated by the user's thumb, and a trigger, activated by the user's index finger. A cable comes out of the bottom of the unit and is coiled to allow extension and retraction. The cable connects to the game station that the user stands in while playing.

Metal set of steps.

Marks

Cyber 1000CS. W Industries.

Production

Notes

Designed and made by W Industries of Leicester UK. People included Chris Yewdall, Terry Rowley and Dr Jonathon Waldern who was the owner and chief scientist at the company. They designed and created the computing system with the assistance of a Rolls Royce engineer who designed the platforms so that they could withstand the rigors of constant public use. The units were produced at the W Industries laboratory in Leicester.

http://www.hitl.washington.edu/scivw/scivw-ftp/commercial/WIndustries/W.descrip

The Commodore Amiga 3000 was designed and manufactured by Commodore International, USA, in April 1990. At the time it was a high-end graphics workstation.

How it works:
Two players each take their position on the platform where they put on a HMD and take the joystick in their preferred hand. When the game is started the user sees a stereoscopic 3D image of the world in which they enter. They will also see the other player- their opponent - somewhere in the world. The joystick acts as a gun and allows them to shoot projectiles at the opponent.

There is a button on the joystick that allows the player to move forward in the direct they are facing and another to fire the gun. As the player turns around the image of the world changes as he or she moves her arm an image of the image moves in from of them. There can be interactive elements within the game environment with which the user must contend.

The world appears in 3d relief by virtual of a number of phenomena -
stereopsis - slightly different images being presented to each eye such that the brain is "tricked" into composing the images as a single 3D space; movement parallax - as users move around the environment objects appear closer to the user and move further than those behind; perspective -just as we would see in any representation of space but often enhanced by use of the checker board patterns on the floor of the space.

In this case the most successful game was Dactyl nightmare.

History

Notes

These particular units were sold in 1993 to Nth Ryde RSL club who were shown the machines when they first arrived in the country. (They would cost in the vicinity of $160K each). They were purchased and installed in order to attract more customers to the new modernised RSL club. It is unknown how popular they were but they have been very well used. They were no longer operable and it is assumed that they could not be maintained by the time they were donated to the Museum in 1998.

These are the same systems (possibly the same units) that were used at the Museum in 1992 when they first arrived in Australia

Source

Credit Line

Gift of North Ryde RSL, 2007

Acquisition Date

25 July 2007

Cite this Object

Harvard

Virtual Reality game station 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 26 October 2021, <https://ma.as/364730>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/364730 |title=Virtual Reality game station |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=26 October 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}