NASA's Virtual Environment Workstation


NASA's Virtual Environment Workstation (VIEW) project 1985 California

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By 1985, Scott Fisher left Atari to join NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California, as founding director of the Virtual Environment Workstation (VIEW) project. The VIEW project put together a package of objectives that summarized previous work on artificial environments, ranging from creation of multisensory and immersive “virtual environment workstations” to telepresence and teleoperation applications. Influenced by a range of prior projects that included Sensorama, flight simulators, and arcade rides, and surprised by the expense of the air force's Darth Vader helmets, Fisher's group focused on building low-cost, personal simulation environments. While the objective of NASA was to develop telerobotics for automated space stations in future planetary exploration, the group also considered the workstation's use for entertainment, scientific, and educational purposes. The VIEW workstation, called the Virtual Visual Environment Display when completed in 1985, established a standard suite of VR technology that included a stereoscopic head-coupled display, head tracker, speech recognition, computer-generated imagery, data glove, and 3-D audio technology.