Flight simulator gives 360-degree immersion

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Belgian company Barco has unveiled what's probably the most advanced flight-training simulator in the world, a fully immersive, 360 degree system using rear projection.

The RP-360 is designed to give pilots the most realistic view possible, and can be hooked up to other simulators so that several pilots can carry out mission training together.

It's claimed to be the first flight sim to give the pilot a completely uninterrupted 360-degree view, and can be used to simulate a number of different fighter jets.

Thirteen or fourteen 10-megapixel projectors are trained on a 3.4 meter sphere, in which the pilot sits. They're laser-calibrated, and can also display infrared images for night training.

"Barco's RP-360 dome makes a realistic night training experience possible due to its high contrast, and its projectors' increased infra-red optimizations," says Barco.

"Pilots with night vision goggles can see true-to-life halo and blooming effects, and gain life-saving experience for future missions."

And the projectors are based on liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS) technology, giving higher resolution and contrast than LCD or plasma displays. Indeed, with a resolution of up to 2.9 arcmin/OLP, it's at the limit of human perception.

According to Reuters, Israeli firm Elbit Systems is already working to install one for the projectors for the Israeli Air Force.