Q: What kind of robot is that?
A: The CyberMotion Simulator is built upon a commcercially available industry robot (the KUKA KR-500
robot), modified by KUKA
for theme park purposes and heavily customized at the MPI for use as a research setup.
Q: Is it safe?
A: The robot is TÜV
approved in order for us to be able to run experiments on it. Also, the robot is built in such a way that it is physically impossible for it to impact the floor or walls. In case of power failure, it will simply stop where it is and the passenger needs to exit using manual override.
Q: So what's the difference between this simulator and fun rides based on the same robot, such as the Legoland Power Builder or the Disney Epcot Sum of All Thrills?
A: Technically, the biggest difference is that our simulator is a 'closed-loop' simulator, which means that you can interactively
control your motion trajectory while you are in the simulator, whereas the typical fun rides have preprogrammed
trajectories that are simply played back during a ride. The second difference is that we never intended to produce a fully developed fun ride, so sound and graphics are worse than what you would expect from a fun ride. Also, since our simulator is computing the real-world physics of a F1 car quite accurately, it is much harder to drive than a typical computer game. And finally, we can use this simulation in experiments to gain insights into human perception of motion.
Q: Why do you run computer games at a basic research facility?
A: Our goal is not in developing computer games but rather to demonstrate the feasability and performance of our motion cueing
algorithms which we develop in order to understand the principles of human motion perception. Simulation of acceleration forces is one of the most difficult taks and a F1 car is a good showcase for this as it exhibits high accelerations but stays on the ground.
Q: Why is the graphics/sound/dashboard so limited?
A: Our aim was to demonstrate the algorithms for motion simulation, not to make a professional game with state-of-the-art graphics and sound. We worked with open-source assets for the graphics (Monza race track, F2007 car model
) and an out-of-the-box rendering engine, so we could not be too picky about the quality. Nevertheless, we would be very interested to incorporate a high-end car racing game into the simulator; for this, we need to be able to set the car position and orientation in the game engine for each time step. Please contact us
if you know a way to achieve this with a high-end car game engine.
Q: What software do you use?
A: The motion simulation is developed within Matlab Simulink
and executes on a dedicated real-time machine; graphics and sound are generated by Virtools
Q: Why does the driver never shift gears?
A: The current F1 car simulation does not consider gear shifting because the goal was not to make a professional game with state-of-the-art graphics and sound but a proof of concept for a motion simulator.
Q: Is it difficult to drive?
A: Yes. As the simulation is based on a fairly accurate model of a true F1 car, it needs quite a bit of practice in order to complate a lap without leaving the track.
Q: What happens if the F1 car rolls or crashes into an obstacle?
A: Nothing. The current system does not include collision detection.
Q: Can the car spin?
A: Yes, that is possible but not as easy as it sounds (or as in a computer game).
Q: Can I buy one? What does it cost?
A: This is currently only a demonstration prototype, so it's not available for purchase.