Our team is consumed with providing our customers the most realistic motion simulation possible. So why does our simulator move around so much? To get the most realistic feel, wouldn’t it just tilt around as much as real car or plane? With unlimited space yes, but in order to simulate the feeling you get when speeding around in a car or plane in the small area that is possible with a simulator, you must be moved around much more.
As explained in our earlier post of why our sims have mounted monitors, with limited space, the most effective way to simulate the forces applied to the body when accelerating or decelerating in a straight line is to tilt the user forwards or backwards. This also applies to the centripetal acceleration one experiences when turning in a car or plane, for which the simulator tilts left or right. This generates gravitational forces that replicate the feeling of maneuvering a plane or car in real life, while keeping the simulator’s footprint to a minimum.
Fictitious Forces: The Forces of Reality
When one accelerates in a straight line, they will experience the sensation of being pushed back into their seat (simulated by the backwards tilt). When turning left or right, they will experience an increasing force that pushes them in the opposite direction as they turn more sharply or increase their speed (simulated by a sideways tilt).This concept can be explained by the scientific principle of fictitious forces. As stated by Scientific American, “The forces you feel in a moving car—those that push you back into your seat when the driver steps on the gas or throw you side to side when the car makes sharp turns—are everyday examples of fictitious forces. In general, these influences arise for no reason other than that the natural frame of reference for a given situation is itself accelerating.”** What this means is that when you accelerate or decelerate in a vehicle you feel unseen forces beyond the visible tilting.
We firmly believe that having the simulator angle itself around a central point is the best way to simulate the sensation of motion because it has the ability to put force on your body in the same manner that actually accelerating would. The only difference is that we are replacing the fictitious force, that pushes you in the opposite way of the acceleration, with gravitational force that pushes you in the opposite direction as your acceleration. This is precisely why our simulators must move around so much. Because you can’t actually accelerate, the sensation you get from fictitious forces when actually driving a plane or car must be imitated by some other means.
The movement that our simulators implement to replicate these forces is the ideal solution if you want to have a realistic experience, feeling the sensation of flying a jet or driving a supercar around a race track.