Short Science, May 24, 2015

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 May, 2015, 7:34am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 May, 2015, 7:34am

Racing simulator might injure you and wallet

Is Grand Theft Auto not exciting enough for you? For US$54,000, you can strap yourself into a virtual rig that can emulate the feel of more than 1,000 different race cars and put you on real-life tracks projected on a high-resolution screen. It then subjects you to rocking, vibrations and a force-feedback steering wheel that so completely imitate real conditions that you might actually get injured. CXC Simulation, maker of the Motion Pro II racing simulator, found that the "most effective way to fool the brain into thinking it was experiencing race-like G-forces" was to target quick bursts of motion at the head and torso, where real drivers say they especially feel the G-forces. When the Motion Pro II adds in the jostling and vibrating, the result is potentially dangerous. "It's the first time we've been able to replicate racing forces so high that it introduces liability questions," said CXC founder and ex-racer Chris Considine. Washington Post


Patents on costly hepatitis drug at issue

A US group is trying to block patents in five countries for Gilead Sciences' costly hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, in a bid to give almost 60 million afflicted people access to cheaper generic versions. In Argentina, Brazil, China, Russia and Ukraine, challenges have been filed against Gilead's patents or patent applications, the New York-based Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge, or I-mak, said. In all the countries except China, the group is working with local activist groups. I-mak said more than 59 million people in those countries have hepatitis C. Sovaldi, a highly effective treatment for hepatitis C, costs US$1,000 per pill in the US. Reuters


Virtual reality headsetoffers hands-free view

An advanced virtual reality headset could be a game-changer for the entertainment industry and give people with certain disabilities new powers of communication and interaction. The Fove headset uses eye-tracking technology to give the wearer an immersive and completely hands-free virtual reality, where all of their actions can be controlled by their eye movements. Virtual reality technology has been touted as the next social and communications platform, including the promise of immersive experience. Reuters