360-degree immersive flight simulator is better than real life

Add this to the list of things that somehow are going to need to fit inside my fantasy living room: Barco's 360 degree immersive flight training dome uses 13 laser-calibrated projectors to show you virtual bogeys inbound from up to 12 virtual clicks away, and then lets you virtually blow them out of the sky in seamless HD.

It's not easy to combine thirteen or fourteen 10 megapixel projectors to create a seamless 360-degree twelve-foot panoramic video display dome, but for what we can only assume is a ludicrous amount of money, Barco will make it happen. A complex system of lasers is used to calibrate each projector so that it blends with every other projector without seams or changes in brightness or contrast.

From inside the 11-foot-wide acrylic dome, prospective pilots can look in any direction at all, and the resolution is so good that they can spot aircraft from a dozen miles away. The projectors have even been specially tweaked to be able to display images in infrared, so it's possible for pilots to practice in the dome wearing night-vision goggles and get an equally realistic (if slightly more terrifying) experience.

Having one of these would be totally cool, but not cool enough for the Israeli Air Force. They've ordered eight of them, and they're going to set them up all together to be able to train entire squadrons (almost entire squadrons) in aerial refueling or virtual dogfights. So, um, does anyone happen to know what it takes to get into the Israeli Air Force?

Barco RP-360, via Reuters and BBG

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