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Virtual helmet takes wearer to outer space


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Virtual helmet takes wearer to outer space


TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- An experimental helmet from Toshiba Corp. gives its wearer the visual experience of being someplace else.


Inside the headgear from the Japanese electronics maker, a 40-centimeter (16-inch) screen can show a vista that is synched with the wearer's head movements, giving the illusion of actually being there.


The 3 kilogram (6 pound) helmet -- squared off in the back and rounded, bubble-like, in the front -- has infrared sensors at the top that detect which way the wearer's head is moving, said company spokeswoman Kaori Hiraki.


The projector in the back of the helmet shows images corresponding to the head movements on the screen inside the helmet, giving the wearer an illusion of immediacy and realness, according to Tokyo-based Toshiba.


If the night city landscape is being shown, and the person turns to the left, the image will also swivel in time to show what would be seen toward the left.


Toshiba has no plans yet to turn the technology into a commercial product. But it believes it will come in handy for computer games or enhancing the impact of movies. There is no price estimate for the gadget.


"I tried wearing it watching video of outer space," Hiraki said. "I felt like I was flying. It felt so real."


Part of the effect comes from how the helmet shuts out the real world, she said.


Although the headgear looks bulky, it is smaller than older versions of the technology that uses sensors to detect head moves, Toshiba said.









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