Humphrey II


Stefan Mittlböck-Jungwirth
Martin Honzik (AT)
Robert Abt (AT)
Horst Hörtner (AT)
Gerfried Stocker (AT)
Stefan Feldler (AT)
Andreas Jalsovec
Michael Büttner (DE)
Peter Freudling
Martin Bruner (AT)
Werner Pötzelberger
Michael Weingärtner
Christopher Lindinger (AT)
Mario Zepetzauer
Stefan Degen
Scott Ritter (AT) (US)
Festo AG & Co. KG (DE)
Jakob Edlbacher (AT)

The dream of flight is one of mankind’s oldest dreams. To glide above the cityscape, effortlessly and seemingly unbound by the force of gravity—this is the feeling you’ll get on the Humphrey II flight simulator.

The basis of this latest development to emerge from the Ars Electronica Futurelab is the Humphrey prototype that was one of the Museum’s most popular features ever since it was installed in 1996. The aim of this enhanced version is to achieve an even more realistic feeling of flying that, by enabling the pilot to move his/her whole body with complete freedom, imparts the most intense possible impression of an actual flight.

The user wears special overalls resembling a pilot’s jumpsuit and is lifted into a horizontal position by pneumatically operated cables. Data glasses feed stereoscopic images to the user and thus give the illusion of a three-dimensional environment. The pilot can navigate intuitively by moving his/her body and can look around in these virtual worlds by turning his/her head in any desired direction. Images projected on plasma displays allow other visitors to experience the flight as well.

The most important elements of this installation are the data helmet and the mechanical system responsible for generating the physical forces at work. Computer-controlled technologies featuring ever-more-advanced processing capabilities make possible simulations of artificial environments that get closer and closer to perfection. By means of the force feedback apparatuses—i.e. pneumatically controlled cables—from which the pilot is suspended, the physical forces at work in the respective environment can also be mechanically simulated. This combination of technologies imparts a feeling of weightlessness and of the centrifugal force generated by flying that is as realistic as can be.

Related links