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  1. #1
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    Is it possible to make a full canopy projection cockpit?

    Hi Guys,

    I have wondered for a long time now if it's possible to make a flight cockpit of say a harrier with a full human visual field of view from rear projectors using immersaview sol7.

    You know when you get into a harrier, you sit inside the cockpit and then the glass canopy comes down over your head. Well my idea if possible is to make that glass canopy (if that's what you call it) into a projection screen that goes right over it, then have rear projectors outside setup on tripods that beam towards each side of the screen on this glass canopy. I have thought about using fresnel lenses with or without shutter glasses for stereoscopic 3D to enhance the experience Or if projecting to each side of the screen using dual projectors then instead of shutter glasses i thought about using circular polarized 3d glasses for passive projection like used in 3d movies and IMAX. I have done some reading on this forum and thought as well to use mirrors to shorten the throw distance by half from the projectors.

    I thought all this would be impossible because of the positioning of multiple projectors as you would have a line coming down the screen from the positioning of projectors but then saw that with sol7 that line can disappear as you can warp the image so i wonder if it's possible with my idea, i think i saw something like this being used in military flight sims a while back.

    You see with this setup you could quite honestly feel like your sitting inside a real plane and look to the left and see into the distance and look to right and up towards the glass and see the sky, when you look down you see the cockpit that you are sitting in just like when your in a real plane. This setup would also work incredibly with a racing simulator, your really in the game now. as you entire field of view is immersed in the game.

    Please tell me guys if this is possible

    Much appreciated

    TIA

  2. #2
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Trevor Hale's Avatar
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    The question you are asking is quite easy in this hobby. The easy answer is to say "YES" It is possible, although keep in mind that we all make certain exceptions in order to keep the costs down. This would be possible to achieve but it will have a higher price tag. The costs of the projectors will be the primary costs, coupled with Wideview and additional computer to run the top view.

    For complete immersion in that environment you would be looking at 1 machine with a tripple head to go attached 3 projectors, for left right and front views. Then you would require a second computer running wideview to display the "Looking up" view. with a projector on it.

    The question will be aligning SOL7 so that each view will mesh correctly.

    But YES it is possible, and we can help.

    Trev
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  3. #3
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    Hello Trevor,

    Many thanks for your excellent reply

    I am so happy that this can be done, it has always been my dream. So i would need four projectors then, I plan on using 4 DLP projectors. I am based in the UK and will probably use 720p ones as i have seen them for £400 delivered. I may use 800x600 ones as a good one i have seen costs £250 delivered but i worry for such a setup maybe you need 720p resolution minimum, what do you think?

    I have a feeling if i use fresnel lenses and shutter glasses with 800x600 then that may improve the visuals. Eventually when the costs come down i would like to go down the 4x 1080p route.

    But then i have seen the DIY projectors which could save me loads of money to build a prototype, and then if it all works upgrade to some costly projectors.

    If i do go ahead and want to use 3d glasses with this setup then i can do it with DLP even through the shutterglasses as you only need 1 projector for each view rather than two if you were to do passive projection.

    So i need wideview, i read up on that it's only compatable with some flight sims, do you know if it works as well with racing sims?

    if i go with 4 720p projectors at £400 each that would come to £1600. Then i would need to buy SOL7 for 450AUD which is £205 then i would need wideview for £18 per game. Then the TH2GO, do you know how much that costs?

    Then what size projection screens? should i go for silver matte so it's future ready for passive stereoscopic 3d projection?

    I would like to get one projection screen cut to fit the shape of the glass canopy.

    Do i need any special lenses for each projector?

    Has anyone built anything like this before, any pics and vidoes anywhere, i don't even know what the name of this kind of cockpit is, do you know?

    Sorry for all the questions but please please Trevor can you give me an answer to all those questions

    Many thanks in advance

  4. #4
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Trevor Hale's Avatar
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    LOL.. Trying to get you all woed up!

    Lets take this one step at a time.

    I am currently at work, but when I get home will provide answers to your setup.

    I hope thats ok. I will post tonight.

    Trev
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  5. #5
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    Thanks, i look forward to it, really you have no idea how helpful people like you are, you really help the sim building community progress on. I saw your website you have made some really amazing simulators.

  6. #6
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Trevor Hale's Avatar
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    Ok Buddy lets see if we can take this one step at a time.

    First off, see the attached picture of how I would accomplish what you want to do.

    Your biggest challenge will be getting your projector to display on a material above your canopy.

    See attached image.

    and I will see if I can answer your questions in RED below.


    Quote Originally Posted by simfloppy View Post
    Hello Trevor,

    Many thanks for your excellent reply

    I am so happy that this can be done, it has always been my dream. So i would need four projectors then, I plan on using 4 DLP projectors. I am based in the UK and will probably use 720p ones as i have seen them for £400 delivered. I may use 800x600 ones as a good one i have seen costs £250 delivered but i worry for such a setup maybe you need 720p resolution minimum, what do you think? If your going to do it right, I would do it right the first time. I would not use High Definition projectors, I would use projectors with a native 1024 X 768 resolution. Can be picked up for around $500USD each. I would try to get the same make of projector for all 4.


    I have a feeling if i use fresnel lenses and shutter glasses with 800x600 then that may improve the visuals. Eventually when the costs come down i would like to go down the 4x 1080p route.

    Fresnel lenses are great if you want to make it appear that you have a large screen, with a setup like I have drawn, you would not need to make it look big, you will have amazing visuals. but with projectors Fresnel lenses are useless.



    But then i have seen the DIY projectors which could save me loads of money to build a prototype, and then if it all works upgrade to some costly projectors.


    DIY Projectors are ok if you are making one, but you would never get 4 identical DIY Projection images and for the price of them, you can go to your local office store and buy 800 X 600 Native projectors for about $250USD Each.. Just look for the sales. Ebay is even an option.



    If i do go ahead and want to use 3d glasses with this setup then i can do it with DLP even through the shutterglasses as you only need 1 projector for each view rather than two if you were to do passive projection.


    If you want to go 3D glasses, there are some really neat ones on the market, However, what would be the point of having a cockpit when you wouldn't be able to see it, you can only see the screen images. You can pick up a good set of VR Screen glasses for about 300 bucks, and then use it with whatever simulator software and racing software you want.




    So i need wideview, i read up on that it's only compatable with some flight sims, do you know if it works as well with racing sims?

    As far as I know it is only compatible with Microsoft Flightsimulator versions running Wideview, and Wideclient via FSUIPC



    if i go with 4 720p projectors at £400 each that would come to £1600. Then i would need to buy SOL7 for 450AUD which is £205 then i would need wideview for £18 per game. Then the TH2GO, do you know how much that costs?


    TH2go is about 350USD Give or take to my knowledge. See my posts above for Projector costs and info.

    Then what size projection screens? should i go for silver matte so it's future ready for passive stereoscopic 3d projection?

    Lets not jump into the Hundred Thousand dollar Stereo/holographic projectors yet. You gotta walk before you run, and to be honest if I was you and getting setup I would use 250 thread count Bed sheets for the rear projections screens, (available at walmart for about 15 bucks each). You have seen my pictures on my Web site... Thats what I am using.



    I would like to get one projection screen cut to fit the shape of the glass canopy.

    A Bed sheet Pulled tight and draped over the canopy would work, however you should be looking at using bungee cords to stretch the screens into a "BOX" Shape above the canopy. I would suggest rear entry to your simulator and a permanent canopy instead of one that lifts and lowers, unless you have some way of stretching the screen around the glass.

    Do i need any special lenses for each projector?

    This depends on how big the room is you can use for your projector, you can get external short throw lenses for your projector. You may need this because of hight restrictions in your room for the canopy projector.

    Has anyone built anything like this before, any pics and vidoes anywhere, i don't even know what the name of this kind of cockpit is, do you know?

    The military uses this type of imagery all the time. I would suggest do some searches on fighter simulators and see what you come up with.

    Sorry for all the questions but please please Trevor can you give me an answer to all those questions

    Hope This helped.

    One only other cost savings option I could suggest is go with 3 projectors on a tripple head to go, and eliminate the 4th projector on the top, and create a 3 sided triangle (prism) of screens around the 3 sides of the cockpit. Where as the side window screens meet over the top of your canopy, and the front projector extends over the top of the canopy, however this will create a horrible image when you fly past something directly over your head, and it disappears for an instant before reappearing on the next projector. If you really want to get into this hobby, I would start with one projector (front View) just to see if this is something you want to get into. This is not just a hobby, it is an addiction, and similar to a black hole we all want to rebuild our simulators and with every rebuild they get better and better.

    Good luck Buddy, I hope this helps you answer some questions.

    Trevor Hale
    Mycockpit Admin.

    Many thanks in advance
    Attached Images Attached Images
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  8. #7
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    Hello Trevor,

    Many thanks for your excellent and most helpful information, i have tried looking for a flight simulator of what i describe but i cannot find any where the projection screen is actually canopy.

    I found one which a company builds, where you have a plane cockpit and it's seated directly in front of a curved front projector that's laid on the ground below the cockpit. This is very immersive but not what i am after. Before i go building anything like what i'm looking for i really need to see some pictures and videos. this curved screen cockpit i found is here http://www.flyit.com/PT.html

    Do you know where i can find the kind that i'm talking about?

    Also i have been flying flight sims so far on a 112 inch front projector, it's an amazing experience but if i'm going to go down this route i would want to go with all four projectors from the start.

    I plan to build this system with my brother and he keeps telling me that what i am trying to build is impossible, he says that there is huge distortion and that the depth and immersion won't be very real. He said that the sol7 software works well when projecting to a 16:9 ratio screen. But when trying to make a custom made screen that is laid all over a canopy the sol7 software just won't be able to warp the image perfectly. As the image would have to be mathematically aligned so it's distortion free and gives you the correct depth of field. Is this true what he's saying?

    Thanks in advance

  9. #8
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    Check out the site below , the one pictured is for a RAF Typhoon , but gives you some cool ideas of what can be done.

    http://www.barco.com/Simulation/en/r....asp?ref=3135#

  10. #9
    2000+ Poster - Never Leaves the Sim Trevor Hale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simfloppy View Post
    Hello Trevor,

    Many thanks for your excellent and most helpful information, i have tried looking for a flight simulator of what i describe but i cannot find any where the projection screen is actually canopy.

    I found one which a company builds, where you have a plane cockpit and it's seated directly in front of a curved front projector that's laid on the ground below the cockpit. This is very immersive but not what i am after. Before i go building anything like what i'm looking for i really need to see some pictures and videos. this curved screen cockpit i found is here http://www.flyit.com/PT.html

    Do you know where i can find the kind that i'm talking about?

    Also i have been flying flight sims so far on a 112 inch front projector, it's an amazing experience but if i'm going to go down this route i would want to go with all four projectors from the start.

    I plan to build this system with my brother and he keeps telling me that what i am trying to build is impossible, he says that there is huge distortion and that the depth and immersion won't be very real. He said that the sol7 software works well when projecting to a 16:9 ratio screen. But when trying to make a custom made screen that is laid all over a canopy the sol7 software just won't be able to warp the image perfectly. As the image would have to be mathematically aligned so it's distortion free and gives you the correct depth of field. Is this true what he's saying?

    Thanks in advance
    I will respond to the rest of your questions in the morning. What your brother is saying is only partially correct. What he should be saying is that without spending a few hundred thousand dollars on a collimated mirror system similar to that of MAXVIEW and (Multi million dollar) simulators, you may not get 100% reality. What I am saying is that we can achieve a very good representation of this with little distortion. Sol7 is a product that I haven't been able to play with yet, however from what I have read, there isn't anything you can't do to the image with it. If you were to display a picture of a Grid across all 4 projectors projecting on screens (sheets) or other material, you will be able to align all the grid lines to achieve a very good image. If you can't eliminate the distortion 100% the little that you get will be around the edges where the over canopy view meets the side views. You can deal with this very minute distortion, however it can also be reduced by manipulating the shape of your canopy. I am not saying that you will get a perfect image with your first trial, I am suggesting that you will need to play with it, however I think you will be much happier with the results then what your brother thinks you will find.

    On another note, have a look (search) for Helicopter simulators, again these simulators will require more (outside top) views then a standard Fixed wing simulator. I have seen projection DOMES where images such as panoramas have been projected 360 degrees around and over the top of a person standing in the middle of a room where there is no distortion. A solution like this requires software like SOL7.

    In retrospect, don't let someone else's doubts dictate what you can or cannot do. all I can suggest is that people said we couldn't put man on the moon, and people didn't think home built simulators could ever be achieved without a few million dollars, if we listened to these people, where would we be now.

    Trev
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  11. #10
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    Hello Trevor

    Again many thanks for your kind and detailed reply, i am really excited about this all, i look forward to your morning follow up. If i can build this, and then post videos and screen shots it will really make others want to follow, as i don't believe this kind of stuff should be for just the military. It should be in everyone's home. If you got the patience to build it then people should.

    Fairford thanks for the site, i will take a really good look at that.

    Edit: Fairford that barco system is incredible but i am looking for a screen that actually sits on the windows of a glass canopy, so the setup would be a lot smaller than that. but i truly believe could be just as immersive.

    I wonder is it possible to create a plastic see through mold of a canopy and then paint the side that you will be projecting onto with a white paint, then you wouldn't need a projection screen? I have seen projection screen paint selling on the market and it's very cheap.

    Edit: one other thing, something i forgot to mention. My brother believes what i am asking for a simulator wouldn't be possible. It's because i am trying to create a screen that is very small. That is then placed onto the glass canopy. So already your limiting yourself from say the huge projection screen of say 100+ inches curved. And for that my brother believes the sense of depth would be horrible. As my eyes inside a projected canopy would be about 1-2 feet from a tiny screen and it would be nothing more than looking at a 19 inch monitor, for the front and a 19 inch monitor to the left and right. This is why i thought of using shutter glasses to increase the feeling of depth. I am no pro in this. But i explained to my brother, that this kind of cockpit would be far more immersive than creating just a rear projected curved screen with 100-120 degrees field of view. One other thing i explained was that when you sit inside a car, you look beyond a dashboard through the glass window which is about two feet from your eyes. Then you see the outside world around you. Now i told my brother this is the same thing. You have a screen on each sides of the canopy and then using shutter glasses it would make your eyes adjust to focus beyond infinity, thus creating major depth into the distance. But he said we see the outside world beyond the window and not on the window. Which is why he believes by having a curved screen on a stand outside the cockpit is more real. But i believe still that having the screen built on the canopy glass is far more immersive. What do you think? He said if my idea was so good the military would be using them instead of HMD's, that are nowhere near the full human visual field of view. And the ones that are close, costs far more than a projector setup and can still give you motion sickness. He also said that my idea would give you motion sickness and eyestrain, is this all true.

    Edit: Anyone got a link for the maxview? I cannot find it anywhere.

    Edit: For my first time i don't plan on building all the flight instrumentals, all i am looking for is a a force feedback joystick, thruster and pedals. something like this at the top of the page, http://www.aviationsimulation.co.uk/...ght_Seats.html or something similar and cheaper, then i plan to build around this a wooden frame to make it more closed. Then add a canopy that looks like this one, the second picture http://www.merlinsim.com/products.htm i would remove that black line you see coming across the bottom horizontally and then have 4 rear projectors beaming onto it.

    Will that be total immersion?

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