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Japanese activities in virtual reality

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1 Author(s)
Kahaner, D. ; US Office of Naval Res. in Asia, Tokyo, Japan

Most virtual reality hardware in Japan has been imported from the US, and the large-scale applications have focused on games, where Sega Enterprises and Nintendo remain the market leaders. In addition to its successful home video and arcade machines businesses, Sega is moving aggressively into the amusement-park ride market. Outside these markets, Matsushita plans to release three commercial products in spring 1994. One is an immersive system for product showrooms to help Japanese home owners visualize new kitchens before ordering them. Another is a massage chair that uses VR images and sound to help relax users. The third is an exercise bicycle that lets the user cycle through a 3D virtual world while exercising. Many Japanese companies are interested in VR technology as a problem-solving tool. They are making progress in its use in equipment operation. They also realize that the ability to operate devices intuitively by ordinary gesture-like motions can be exploited in many practical fields. This ability could make human-machine interfaces easier, even if these interfaces fall short of outright VR. This article reviews a few recent industry and academic research projects. The current worldwide recession has flattened the overall rate of growth in Japanese research and development spending. Nevertheless, Japan reportedly has approximately 20 major VR research projects, mostly emphasizing communication. Japanese emphases on long-term planning and on targeting development toward specific products are their strengths in this emerging technology.<>

Published in:

Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 1 )