Virtuality

Dactyl Nightmare

Virtuality is a line of virtual reality gaming machines produced by Virtuality Group, and found in video arcades in the early 1990s. The company was founded by Jonathan D Waldern, a VR researcher supported by IBM Research Labs in Hursley, UK. Virtuality Group began life in 1985 as a garage startup called W Industries. Waldern’s company developed many of the principal components including VR headsets, graphics subsystems, 3D trackers, exoskeleton data gloves and other enclosure designs.

There are two types of units (referred to by the company as ‘pods’): stand up (SU) and sit down (SD). Both unit types utilize head-mounted displays (the ‘Visette’) containing two LCD screens at resolutions of 276 x 372 each, four speakers, and a microphone. The SU units achieve motion tracking via a magnet built into the waist high ring with a receiver in a free-moving joystick (the ‘Space Joystick’). The stereoscopic display was able to react to head movements based on what the player would be ‘looking at’ within the gaming environment. The position of the joystick (also magnetically tracked) controlled movement of the player’s ‘virtual hand,’ and a button on the joystick moves the player forwards in the game arena.

 

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