Our goal is to make an add-on to one of these simulators so we can add immersion to simulated flight training while retaining the proven realism and diverse support for different aircraft models of existing products.
Traditional flight simulator has been used in all areas of Pilot's training. However, plain monitor setup provides very limited field of view. Basic simulators (Beginning at $8000) used most flight schools across the country fail to create a complete and realistic cockpit environment. This project is to use Virtual Reality to bring immersion into these simulator solutions while overcoming the limitation of VR by enabling the user to touch buttons and knots in the virtual cockpit through panels built by 3D printed, pre-made kits at a significantly lower cost.
What it does
Let's you fly a flight sim (x-plane), using textile controls.
A kit built or 3D printed and untextured dummy instrument panel will be placed at the same position as in the virtual world. The user will feel like their virtual hands are touching the panel and will be able to turn knobs and press buttons. These inputs will then be sent to the simulator to change the appearance and configuration of their respective virtual instruments. Audio input is taken for key phrases so users can interact with the control tower. The tower will give some basic guidance on taxiing to the run way and departure.
How we built it
C/C++ for input from Arduino and Leap Motion into xPlane + Simulated a control tower users can talk to using Google Cloud Platform on Node.js + 3D printing component designed in Autodesk Inventor
Challenges we ran into
Arduino plugin configuration + Wiring + No rulers.... + Switching entire Cloud Base Code from Python to Node.js due to version issues + No 2D printers were handy
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Incorporated several technologies for a functional product + More or less achieving our end goal with this project + For some of us, this was our first Hackathon
What we learned
Mass producing control components by 3D printing + Arduino implementations + How to work with Google Cloud Platform
What's next for Air VR
Introduce to different interest groups/markets, for example, flight enthusiasts and flight schools. Getting FAA Approval for our simulator product is the eventual goal. Motion platforms are used in many flight simulators to simulate the pitch, roll and yaw movements of a real airplane. They add great realism especially for stalls and maneuvers potion of flight training. In the final product, we should work with Motion Platform manufacturers to bring this experience into our simulator package.