Virtual Hang Glider

Posted on January 29, 2017, 10:37 pm


The Virtual Hang Glider was my first attempt in the world of virtual reality. The main idea was to analyse different 3D navigation methods, to achieve an interaction as realistic as possible for a 3D environment. Thereby the primary aim was to implement and test such a navigation method. With the capacity of 9 members, we decided to pursuit something bigger, why we sticked to the Virtual Hang Glider. The goal of the Virtual Hang Glider was to get the user lie on a real hang glider to navigate through a virtual 3D environment, using his own body, to create the feeling, as if he was flying with a real hang glider.

The first step was to proof the concept and so we did a Wizzard of Oz test. For this, one of us had to lie on sheets, which were lifted by the other group members. Another person then imitated the input of the flying person (the one who lies on the sheets), to let him feel like he had control over the movement in the virtual world. The concept of a Virtual Hang Glider has proved itself to be a success and so we started to apply this concept to a bigger dimension.

The user is to see the entire 3D content through a head mounted display, whereby we used the brand new released Oculus Rift Development Kit 1 at that time. For the body movement recognition, we used the PlayStation Eye camera and the related PlayStation Move controller attached to the users body. To increase the immersion, we added wind machines which were driven depending on the flight speed in the virtual world. Futhermore, we used vibration sensors to achieve more haptical feedback. Additionally, we built a sturdy metal frame, to stabilize the hang glider onto. Thus the user hangs in the air where he can freely move his body both vertically and horizontally.

The Virtual Hang Glider was a successful project which also was presented on the GI VR/AR – Human Computer Interaction conference in 2014. But unfortunately no awarding (Best Demo Award) took place that year. Also, we could exhibit the Virtual Hang Glider on different events, such as the open house day of the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf. Thanks for all participants, it was a great time and a lot of fun creating this awesome project.


Last modified on February 6, 2017, 5:13 pm