The VSimulators facility was officially opened at Bath University on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 by the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Andrew Wyllie CBE. VSimulators at the University of Bath took eighteen months of design from original idea to completed installation. This new generation simulator consists of an environmental chamber on a hydraulic based moving platform, that Antycip equipped with a virtual reality projection base solution. It is already being used to immerse people in a range of lifelike environments, in order to study their reactions to different structures, including swaying skyscrapers and bridges. The projected virtual reality on the walls of the 3 x 4 metre chamber is combined with motion-tracking glasses and programmed to adjust the visual and audio sensory output according to the time of day and building height. This will allow the space to be realistically configured as an office, apartment, hotel room or hospital ward, giving the researchers the ability to create convincing ‘mixed reality’ simulations. During the launch event, Andrew Wyllie said: “VSimulators will provide a catalyst for change within the built environment, with the potential to make a positive difference to millions of people’s daily lives." Research teams have already identified over 50 potential applications for the facility, including immersive VR game development, physical rehabilitation and driverless vehicle design, bringing together varied industry and academic sectors. Multi-discipline research are already being conducted, to investigate a range of topics, such as:
- Human factors, comfort & productivity - how people respond to their environment, how to create structures that are comfortable and fit for purpose, how to design buildings to boost the mood of their occupants.
- Built environment - how to transform construction processes by making design focused on the needs of people using a building.
- Transport - what is the human response to vibrations, acceleration, deceleration and balance, and what level of movement is acceptable in a footbridge or train carriage.
- Vibration engineering - researching vibration of structures, machinery and other engineered facilities, and developing design recommendations to ensure human comfort.
- Health & wellbeing - how do people move, how do they respond to their surroundings
- Immersive reality - How to create an immersive experience for one or more people using state-of-the-art virtual reality technology aligned to the motion platform and other controls.