Virtual reality allows us to experience other worlds, both real and make-believe. Engineers use complex algorithms to build 3-D virtual spaces that fool our senses and make us feel as if we’re really there. At Disney World, strap on a VR helmet and find yourself riding Aladdin’s magic carpet. Soon, you could step into an Immersive Cocoon (right) and be surrounded by the sights and sounds of another world. But VR technology isn’t all fun and games. An electrical engineer has designed a computer-generated, 3-D approximation of war-torn Iraq to test bomb-detecting sensors under many different conditions. The tests revealed ways to use the sensors more effectively. That’s a lifesaving payoff that’s real, not virtual.
Watch a video about the I-Coocoon here: