London, July 24 (ANI): Bringing a real live Grand Prix in your living room, two European companies are developing real-time gaming technologies that would let people race against professional drivers while those drivers are actually racing.
The two firms - IOpener Media of Aachen, Germany, and Real Time Race of Daresbury, UK- aim to use live streams of GPS data collected from race cars to populate a detailed digital doppelganger of a racetrack on a PC or games console.
The firms have placed a 500-gram box of electronics about the size of two packs of playing cards in real-world race cars.
GPS receivers and accelerometers in the box stream a live readout of the vehicle's position and acceleration wirelessly to trackside receivers.
"The inertial unit measures the g-forces on the cars so we can capture their true motion for the game," New Scientist quoted Christophe Dujarric of IOpener Media, as saying.
The cars' positions are then injected onto a virtual track for relaying to the gamer over the Internet.
To build their model tracks, both firms scan the race circuit before the competition using the same tech Google does for its Street View service- a panoramic camera and a laser radar, or lidar, mounted on a conventional car.
The camera captures the visuals and the lidar charts the circuit's three-dimensional architecture- how far the track edge, crash barriers and grandstands are from the track centre.
This is where the firm's offerings diverge- IOpener Media digitises the track and uses the cars' data streams to make computer-generated models mimic their live-race counterparts.
Its system is currently in beta testing on the web, but Dujarric says the company ultimately wants software houses to make their Xbox, PlayStation or Wii racing games compatible with the patent-pending technology.
So playing against real race drivers may become an option for users of top titles like Gran Turismo.
Chris Leigh of Real Time Race has other ideas.
"Formula 1 has looked into it and its focus groups said they would prefer real-time racing inside live TV pictures, not rendered graphics," he claimed.
So he's come up with a way to mimic the live TV look-Real Time Race's system plays back video from the track-scanning camera and then inserts photorealistic models of the real racing cars, in their correct GPS-fixed positions, onto it.
Images of the gamer's vehicle are generated locally by the games console, which also controls where it is on the track.
"We're patenting a way of steering left and right from a position where the camera that acquired the track data never was," said Leigh. (ANI)