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Virtual helmet, real drive, all in 3D!

2015-05-27 11:25

VIRTUAL MEETS REALITY: Driver Matt Powers (inset, with helmet) takes on a real-world driving challenge while wearing a virtual reality helmet. The result is a video game experience brought to life! Image: YouTube

LONDON, England - Castrol Edge - it's a car lubrication product - has premiered its latest Titanium Trial driving challenge with Formula Drift professional Matt Powers behind the wheel of his modified Roush Stage 3 Ford Mustang.

Powers is driving his muscle car for real on a huge area of empty tarmac while following the demands of an Oculus Rift virtual reality head/helmet.

A spokesperson explained "He's blind to the real world around him but fully immersed in a rapidly changing 3D virtual world."


The Oculus Rift projects a scary, computer-generated, futureworld that responds to the driver’s and car’s movements in real time.

The video game-like experience has Powers dodge falling boulders, a crumbling track, tunnels, sheer cliff edges a cameo virtual appearance from another racing icon - Ken Block's Ford 'Hoonigan' Fiesta.

VIDEO: Virtual drift challenge with Matt Powers

The media release adds: "Similar to Titanium Strong Blackout (the first Titanium Trial), the course was designed to push Powers and his Mustang."

Creative techies Adam Amaral and Glenn Snyder developed the technology and virtual world contained in the helmet. Here's how it works...

"By extracting data from the car’s internal diagnostics and positional tracking systems (GPS and inertial measurements), the team was able to synchronise the data with the Oculus helmet, making a previously sit-down, stationary, experience a mobile experience in a moving vehicle.

"The team turned a real car into a giant game controller, allowing Powers to experience the virtual world through his helmet as he drove the course."

Every manoeuvre, from steering angle and wheel spin through dynamic damping to throttle position, was tracked with the Oculus updating 75 times a second.

Read more about the Oculus Rift helmet.

Read more on:    racing  |  motorsport

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