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A virtual infinite maze in a single room

April 8, 2013 | Telepresence Options

endless maze virtual
Story and Images by Hal Hodson / ISPR

Step into the labyrinth. Imagine physically wandering through the many rooms and corridors of an endless maze, never seeing the same place twice - but without actually leaving your living room.

This is the promise of a new virtual reality (VR) system. It works by tracking the body and head movements of a person wearing a VR headset and guides them through endless sets of virtual spaces as they pace around within a real physical space. The trick is that, in the virtual world, the corridors and rooms are generated automatically as the walker moves to always fit inside the real space available. There is potentially no end to the environment, just like a huge video game.

The illusion created by the VR system is strong enough that people trying it do not realise that they are effectively walking around in circles. "People think they are walking in much larger environments. We can simulate rooms connected by corridors, and we could simulate outdoor areas in which certain areas are restricted," says�Hannes Kaufmann�of the Vienna University of Technology in Austria, who worked on the system.

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