Microsoft is working on 'building-scale' VR for disaster simulations

Scaling up VR to areas larger than your living room is a focus for a number of game developers right now, but Microsoft is working on expanding the size capabilities of the tech for a much more important reason: disaster management. In a lecture video, the Microsoft Research team explains how it's reconstructing entire buildings in a VR sphere to help occupants learn how to act in disaster scenarios, such as earthquakes or flooding.

Using a mobile robot equipped with a laser-range sensor, an RGB depth camera and a 4K panoramic image camera, the team can virtually reproduce the interiors of buildings in what it calls "Building-scale VR". The mobile robot also scans individual physical objects by moving around them automatically. In the disaster simulations, both the building and objects can be manipulated, giving the VR headset wearer the opportunity to safely experience potentially dangerous situations, which according to the researchers is just as, if not more, effective than real world training. Future work will include large-scale experiments with indoor 3D maps of more complicated buildings, such as libraries and museums.

Source: Microsoft

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