360 Degree Stereo Helicopter Flight Simulator
None of the currently available commercial flight simulators provide 3D stereo imagery to the pilot. For a jet airplane that is acceptable, if it ever gets close enough to the environment for 3D stereo to matter, the pilot is already in the wrong. However, for helicopter pilots, the situation is very different. Emergency medical or law enforcement pilots have to make quick, calculated decisions about whether they can land in an available space or not. Therefore, efficient flight simulators for helicopter pilot training is a necessity.
The EAC, in collaboration with Micoy Corp., has developed a fundamentally different image generator system. This system can generate omnidirectionally correct 3D stereo – a stereo that is correct in any direction the user is looking rather than just straight ahead as in regular 3D movies or Virtual Reality systems. This allows both the pilot and co-pilot to have direction-independent stereo and does not require head-tracking.
The main project challenge is to make the image generator system work fast enough for flight simulation. The system is based on Ray Tracing, a technology for high-quality images, which is usually used for feature animation. Using Ray Tracing also allows the system to generate higher quality imagery by enabling highly accurate shadows, correct reflections (including in curved surfaces), and accurate day and night-time lighting.
Flight simulation has never been this immersive!