New simulator from MIT lets users experience scuba diving in a lab
Diving allows us to observe the vast diversity of marine life in our oceans, and gives us the privilege of exploring beautiful coral reefs, colourful fishes and mysterious wrecks. However, only divers have the opportunity to experience this – until now.
Thanks to the researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a new diving simulator holds the promise of a complete dive experience while remaining on dry land.
Called the Amphibian SCUBA diving simulator, this is a virtual reality system which supersedes the current range of diving simulators (which are limited to just visual and acoustic displays). Amphibian users lie on their stomachs on a motion platform, with their arms and legs outstretched and placed in suspended harnesses. Headphones provide the underwater sounds while a visual diving mask shows them the complementary visual scenery.
In addition, various sensors and devices are used to simulate changes in buoyancy, drag and temperature during the simulation, thus giving the user a realistic diving experience without getting their feet wet.
The simulator had been specially designed for people who are physically unable to dive or have a fear of diving. A member of the research team, Misha Sra, described how the device helped her overcome her fear of water: “I wished I could dive but to do that, I first had to get over my fear of water and learn to swim, which seemed like an insurmountable hurdle. Amphibian was a great middle ground.”
Further Information: news.mit.edu.