Dhruv Jain

Final Project Proposal

Amphibian: Terrestrial scuba diving harness using virtual reality

I only saw ocean two years ago in my life and was extremely fascinated by it. I am now a master scuba diver, and I wish for others to experience the underwater world from the comforts of their home. It is truly a magnificent world out there, but we know more about the moon. I aim to build a terrestrial scuba diving harness using virtual reality and mechanical simulation. The project would employ a full-body mechanical harness coupled with a head-mounted display to let the user 'move through' the underwater world on land. The harness would contain various sensors to collect the movement data from body, and actuators such as pulleys, motors and pneumatic to convey the 'feeling' of being in the ocean. The head-mounted display employing oculus rift, would simulate movement through the ocean.

I started thinking about the mechanical system and drew some sketches. The underwater environment involves a different physical environment. There are three forces that are acted on the body- buoyancy, drag and viscous. My efforts were mainly directed towards simulating buoyancy and drag underwater. After multiple interactions, I concluded into two separate components of the system: 1) a torso support with springs and water bed to simulate buoyancy and, 2) a wooden structure with elastic bands attached to guide rails, that extend to the human body limbs as an suspension, to simulate drag force. It would be free swimming apparatus and the bands and torso support would provide counter forces to the body as if the user was diving in the viscous underwater environment. Further, the oculus rift application and the voice output build on Unity would simulate the 3D environment. Movements in the mechanical harness would be recorded with Kinect or any other gesture recognition device, and fed back to Oculus rift for changing the view. Pictures on the right present sketches with dimensions of the prototype, culminating in the solidworks assembly.