Virtual Technologies is a subsidiary of Immersion Corp., a developer of a variety of haptic devices that are marketed by other companies. According to Bruce Schena, Immersion's CTO, CyberForce represents a breakthrough in commercial haptics technology both because it offers tactile feedback (most gloves offer only positional feedback) and because it offers that feedback from not just one point in space, but from several (the fingers, arm, etc.). "You can sit in front of a simulated steering wheel," he says, "and take hold of it, and the CyberForce will literally support your arm."
Currently, CyberForce and SimStudio do not allow designers to create and modify models-only to manipulate them. But its uses in this capacity are numerous-the ability to see if an engine can be reached for servicing once it's installed in a plane, for example, or to find out if a set of automobile dashboard controls are ergonomically designed. The products are also being used in research settings for immersive training applications.
Pricing varies according to configuration. (Virtual Technologies; www.virtex.com) -Jenny Donelan