This first initial phase of the software was unveiled at the 'Calais round Britain Race' and it was the first time the public had been able to take a virtual tour of Aviva's new 60ft Racing yacht.
Users put on a VR headset and get transported into a virtual world where they start standing on a jetty facing the open 60 class yacht 'Aviva'. Using a simple gamepad device users are free to wander around the jetty, and over to the yacht with options to select 'keel view' to take a look at the swing keel under the water, or climb on board and explore the deck, including a mast view. Users are also able to gain entry into the cockpit area where they can wander around and see the main navigation centre and limited accommodation.
Phase II of the software was launched at the TJV (Transat Jacques Vabre) at Le Harve, France.
This version of the software is an interactive experience and challenges each user to perform certain tasks whilst on board. Each task is time based, and users are continuously evaluated and scores are awarded when each task has been completed.
Using simple gestures like point 'to move' or 'interact with a button' users would complete each task in turn before proceeding to the next. Tasks included turning off alarms, winching in sails and steering the yacht back on course. Users scores we entered into a leaderboard and prizes were awarded to the top 5 highscorers. The system has been used since at events in both France at the Vendee Globe & the UK at the Aviva Launch Day held in Norwich.
The Aviva system incorporated multiple VR peripherals including both hmd (head mounted display) virtual gloves. The VR headset hardware used is the low-cost i-glasses pc/svga unit, and due to the expected high volume of users was protected with a custom branded casing.
The VR Gloves incorporated 5-DT data glove technology, however the 5-DT product itself was not designed for heavy usage, so we redesigned the gloves to be more robust. Another problem encountered was the glove sensors sometimes reported erratic data, usually caused by the sensors twisting whilst in use - so a solution was designed to correct this. Using IGUS easy chain casings we restricted the 5-DT technology to only bend in one axis which corrected the original issue. Maelstrom received a special mention in the IGUS Vector Awards for innovative use of their Easy Chain product.