January 13, 2011

Virtual reality on display at science center

EA Sports/ESPN
Although Orlando Science Center has put on the Otronicon video game and simulation show for six years, this year is the first time the region’s largest video game producer, EA Sports, has joined the team as a sponsor. EA will give the first public demonstration of its Virtual Playbook software, which is used by ESPN sports analysts.

Otronicon’s EA Sports Arena will feature EA Sports video games. EA also contributed video game concept art for a gallery show titled “The Emotion of Sport.” Although this is the first time EA has participated as a sponsor, another local division of the company, EA Tiburon, contributed artwork to Otronicon in 2007.

What I'm most looking forward to is the Virtusphere, a 10-foot hollow sphere on a platform that allows it to rotate freely in any direction as the user moves. With wireless virtual reality goggles, the user can walk or run through a virtual environment.

Virtusphere Inc. developed this “locomotion simulation” for military and emergency responder training. But it obviously has gaming and fitness applications also.

It's a human-size hamster ball! How cool is that?

Guests at Otronicon can try out the Virtusphere this weekend, as it's one of the public exhibits during Otronicon, Jan. 14-17, at the Orlando Science Center.
 See the Virtusphere video on the Otronicon website. I'll be trying it out once my volunteer shift is over.

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