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So you’ve spent a few hundred bucks and got yourself a driving simulator with a Sparco racing seat and Fanatec’s steering wheel, shifter and pedal combo. And as great as it is, it just doesn’t simulate the coolest part of racing: the actual movement and shifting of your body with plenty of actual force pushing against your organs. Apparently a few engineers out at the Max Planck Institute of Biological Cybernetics (zzz…) had the same problem and decided to take things to a whole new level – literally.
Imagine taking your driving simulator way up in the air and attaching it to a gigantic robotic arm. Wait, what? Are we dreaming? Are we nuts? Nope, that’s exactly what is staring back at us in this video. These crazy engineers created what they call a CyberMotion Simulator that’s based on a Kuka KR500 6 axis robot. The simulation and control is courtesy of Matlab and Simulink while the seat is a fancy Recaro. Hook up a curved video projector and a force-feedback steering wheel and you have a whole lot of fun.
This lucky tester got to buckle himself in and go behind the wheel of a virtual Ferrari F2007 F1 race car to tackle the famed race track at Monza, Italy. The Kuka KR500 robotic arm is programmed to toss the driver around as he pilots the virtual race car around the track, simulating every bit of force that an F1 driver succumbs to. Jealous yet? You will be after you watch the video, that is if you really think you could stomach it all.
Even though we don’t have high hopes of Gran Turismo 5 hitting the shelves anytime soon, we’re a tad bit thrilled to see that Fanatec has upgraded their Porsche 911 GT3 RS steering wheel to accompany Gran Turismo 5 and other future-gen games.
We actually have our own Porsche 911 GT3 RS unit sitting here at the office that keeps us entertained from time to time. It’s probably the highest quality steering wheel/shifter/pedal combination out in the market. For those not in the know, Fanatec’s products are also cross-platform allowing you to use it on the Sony Playstation3 and PC. Oddly enough, the original GT3 RS we have works on the Xbox360 as well, but this release is confined to the PS3 and PC. We might have to do some digging to see if the V2 works for Microsoft’s console as well.
But regardless of compatibility, Fanatec’s products boast legitimate Porsche licensing with even a Porsche-styled USB key in the package. The aluminum ClubSport pedals feature a pressure-sensitive brake sensor and ABS-simulated vibration under braking. And since we’ve had a chance to experience it first hand, we’ll be more than glad to tell you all how realistic the experience is.
So if you’re looking for the best substitute to racing out on the track, Fanatec offers the wheel alone for $179.95, while the package including the aluminum ClubSport pedals is $319.95. We highly recommend upgrading to the aluminum pedal option, it’s definitely worth every penny. And for those with the V1 of the 911 GT3 RS wheel, like us, Fanatec is offering an upgrade kit for $40. But there’s a lot of DIY involved with the $40 kit, and since we just want to play, we’ll pay the extra $30 to have it done by Fanatec themselves. Grand total of $70 and we’re set for GT5 and the future!
The official press release is available after the break.
GALLERY: Fanatec Porsche 911 GT3 RS V2