UK: Getting serious about virtual reality.

UK: Getting serious about virtual reality. - Point the controls at the ceiling and you shrink to a few inches; point towards the floor and you grow to 10 feet. In the world of virtual reality (known as cyberspace to its followers) "Alice in Wonderland" i

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Point the controls at the ceiling and you shrink to a few inches; point towards the floor and you grow to 10 feet. In the world of virtual reality (known as cyberspace to its followers) "Alice in Wonderland" is as nothing.

Bewildering as this manipulation of three-dimensional space appears to be, it has yet to reach the mind-altering excesses that its Californian pioneers envisaged. Forget the Timothy Leary overtones: beneath the hype, virtual reality has its serious side. Or should that be dimension?

At Division, based in Chipping Sodbury, a youthful team of computer scientists is set on developing industrial and scientific applications for VR. Under chairman Iann Barron, co-founder of nearby semiconductor manufacturer Inmos, they are seeking to promote its use in computer-aided design, flight simulation, molecular modelling and exploratory surgery. "It'll be a shame if VR never makes it out of the amusement arcade," observes MD Charles Grimsdale. "It's not just a toy."

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