The last time I got in a canoe I promptly ran it into a rock, capsized and drank what felt like half of a not especially clean river. True story. Something tells me that no matter how real this simulator, I’m not going to be spitting grit and small fish out for a few days after using it; that, to me, is a pro rather than a con.
The Technology Institute of Tokyo have developed this simulation to give a highly realistic experience of canoing; the paddles are wired up with sensors to make interaction with the projected display as natural as possible, and haptic feedback means you really do feel like you’re paddling through water. A database of real-world accurate figures of water resistance against different surfaces (e.g. paddle edge, canoe front, canoe keel) interacts with a wave-function simulator – this isn’t just an virtual reality game, it’s a brand new model of real-time fluid dynamics.
Currently on show at the Wired NEXTFest, there are also videos of the Virtual Canoe in action at the project website for those unable to attend. And who knows, perhaps this heralds the VR game of The Littlest Mermaid we’ve all been waiting for.