Visually coupled system developments have led to the concept of a Virtual Cockpit known as the Super Cockpit. Advances in Super Cockpit enabling technologies has resulted in an exciting spin-off called Virtual Environments or Virtual Reality. Press release claim almost limitless possibilities for this technology. Unfortunately the level of technology required to achieve actual Virtual Reality (VR) has still to be realized. Inspection of current VR systems readily reveals several fundamental problems. However, by fully understanding the limitations in VR technology and the complex human factors interface it is possible to apply VR to many applications, especially in training. In order to create virtual reality the technology limitations must be understood and overcome. Whatever solution is eventually derived, it must fully address the complex human factors issue. This paper will review the realities of virtual environments in terms of the limitations in technology and the apparent lack of human factors understanding. The establishment and development of the British Aerospace Virtual Cockpit Facility at Brough, one of the UK's largest Virtual Environmental laboratories has provided an insight into the key issues of virtual reality. These facilities are engaged in the evaluation of fundamental engineering and human factors issues. In order to illustrate the major problems and how they can be overcome, the results of some of these studies are given.
Roy Steven Kalawsky,
"Realities of using visually coupled systems for training applications", Proc. SPIE 1695, Helmet-Mounted Displays III, (30 October 1992); doi: 10.1117/12.131962; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.131962