Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

You're Now Entering the Holozone Experience Virtual Reality at MOSH

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

You're Now Entering the Holozone Experience Virtual Reality at MOSH

Article excerpt

It's afternoon, it's summer vacation, the kids are restless and if you send them outdoors, they'll have a heat stroke.

Which makes this the perfect time to visit the nicely air conditioned Museum of Science and History and introduce your kids to the Holozone.

The museum has installed two virtual reality games that allow patrons to see themselves on a television screen interacting with computer games.

They can play goalie for a soccer team and with a little practice, belt away a virtual rainstorm of soccer balls.

They can swim around in an aquatic scene where they can fend off sharks, or get eaten, and chase away electric eels or get zapped. But not to worry. The shark spits the whole person out with a little burp, so no loss of life or limb is involved nor simulated.

The players stand in a booth with a blue screen backdrop with a television camera tracing their movements and coordinating them via computer technology with the action on the television screen. Unlike other virtual reality games, the player is not required to wear any mask, helmet or gloves. Body movements trigger the action.

Sarah Bartley, a precocious 8-year-old of San Jose Forest, summed up what MOSH staffers were trying to say after she played the shark bait and soccer games. "Oh, my gosh, it was very interesting," she said. "It's a remarkably 2000 kind of thing."

Seven games are offered at various times in the two virtual reality pits. The video games include four kinds of ball games, ranging from GravBall, played in a weightless environment, to standard volleyball. They also include Shark Bait, grand prix racing and, for a real cool treat, snow-boarding.

The exhibition was purchased by the museum from Vivid Group, a Canadian firm.

Darrell Westberry, MOSH exhibit director, said he's been enjoying hearing the children scream, laugh and holler while playing the games and riding the simulator. "The standard response is, 'Can I do it again?'" Admission is included in the price of admission to the museum.

The games are next door to the virtual reality ride the museum introduced last year, the MOSH Explorer. …

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