RMIT University has officially announced they have acquired a new 360 simulator, the first university in Victoria and just the second in Australia, following the University of Sydney in September 2023. It seems the sim has been a work in progress for a while, with it first spied 10 months ago [reddit].
The Eight360 NOVA Simulator is a sphere that is 2m wide, operated by a single person in a VR headset. Like many sims, it aims to trick the brain that you are in the environment in front of your eyes. The sim has a unique ability to quickly rotate in any direction (even completely upside down), which combines with the audio-visual experience of a VR headset.
The simulator will allow RMIT researchers to conduct more detailed scenario testing and investigation around pilot performance and open up a range of new possibilities for aviation research that drives innovation and improved safety and performance.
With its unique 360 motion replication capability, it goes a step beyond other simulators to provide a much closer simulation of ‘real life’. It also captures biometric data, such as eye-tracking that can be used in conjunction with flight data from RMIT’s physical fleet to conduct deeper research and analysis.
While aviation, aerospace and the ‘virtual vehicle’ are the obvious applications, the Director of the STEM Centre for Digital Innovation, Professor James Harland, says the RMIT team is looking forward to finding new and exciting ways of using the simulator.
The simulator can be tailored to different research and training applications created by staff and students.
Deputy Director of the STEM Centre for Digital Innovation, Professor Michelle Spencer, was one of the first to give the simulator a whirl. She explains that it will allow students to learn new technologies and think creatively.
Digital Solutions Architect, Dr Ian Peake, has been integral to setting up the Eight360 NOVA Simulator, which is housed in RMIT’s Virtual Experiences Lab.
Eight360 is a company out of Wellington, New Zealand. Here’s a quick video fo the Eight360 NOVA in action with the sim being used for sim racing.