Australian developer Opaque Media through their newly formed Opaque Space has reported its first successful ntegration and test of Earthlight VR with the NASA Hybrid Reality Lab (NHRL) and the Active Response Gravity Offload System (ARGOS) at the NASA Johnson Space Center.
Earthlight, the VR game based on the authentic depiction of human spaceflight, was successfully tested on the Active Response Gravity Offload System (ARGOS) at the NASA Johnson Space Center as part of experiments conducted by the NASA Hybrid Reality Laboratory. NASA’s Hybrid Reality Laboratory is developing cutting edge immersive technologies and operations concepts to incorporate into its next generation training systems for astronauts, engineers, and scientists.
This marks the third and most exciting visit by the developers of Earthlight to NASA facilities, beginning a new chapter in the collaboration between Opaque and the space agency. Emre Deniz and Liam McGuire from the Melbourne based development team joined personnel from NASA Hybrid Reality Lab, strapping into ARGOS and experiencing both Earthlight and the NHRL ‘ISS Hybrid Reality Experience’ in simulated microgravity for themselves.
This has provided the developers of Earthlight and NASA a chance to see how Earthlight capabilities can be used to help define future astronaut training systems, as well as giving both Emre and Liam a world-class opportunity to experience their game using simulation hardware normally reserved for Astronauts and NASA engineers.
“This was a successful first integration and test of Earthlight in the ARGOS environment, and we look forward to integrating some of Earthlights capabilities to further augment the Hybrid Reality systems we are developing for various NASA endeavors” said Frank Delgado, lead of the NASA Hybrid Reality Laboratory.
The tests were part of the largest deployment of physical objects by the NHRL in ARGOS to date, allowing NHRL engineers to observe how test subjects interact with real-world objects in virtual reality across a wider space. The trials included performing tasks using a 3D printed version of the Pistol Grip Tool used by astronauts during construction and repairs on the ISS, as well as performing mobility tests in virtual reality using physical handlebars.
The trials were performed using the HTC Vive Virtual Reality headset on Unreal Engine 4 utilizing NVIDIA’s 1080 Titan X graphics card, enabling the developers of Earthlight to cross-collaborate with NHRL in creating new experience for the future.
The next step is for NHRL and Opaque is to integrate some of Earthlight’s capabilities and assets into the ‘ISS Hybrid Reality Experience’, building new systems that showcase the power of hybrid reality for astronaut training.
“We’re quite excited to be collaborating with the NASA HRL and this is a substantial step in providing the level of authenticity that our fans are looking for in Earthlight” said Emre Deniz, Director at Opaque Space and lead developer on Earthlight.
“The vision of Earthlight has always been about giving the public access to the journey of human spaceflight and this collaboration around ARGOS and other simulations enables us to not only do that, but additionally to help NASA in that endeavor”
Earthlight is a cross-platform virtual reality game built in collaboration with NASA that gives players an authentic experience of space, immersing them in the journey of becoming an astronaut. It is built in collaboration with astronauts and the people who support and train them, providing players and simulation experts an exciting look at the authentic depiction of human spaceflight in Virtual Reality using readily accessible consumer technology.
Earthlight is currently slated for a range of deployments as part of several partnerships with hardware and platform giants such as NVIDIA, HTC and Epic Games, as well as multiple public releases scheduled for Q2 2017 and Q4 2017.