Watch a Giant Robot Arm Simulate a Ferrari Test DriveS

Driving simulators can give you pedals to mash and wheels to steer, but there's something essential about that gut feeling of actually moving. This Ferrari simulator replicates it with a gigantic robotic arm. Watch it realistically jostle one test driver:

The CyberMotion Simulator, built by Paolo Robuffo Giordano at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Germany, lifts drivers seven feet off the ground with the robotic arm, adapted from a model found frequently in amusement parks.

A wraparound screen puts the driver in the cockpit of a Ferrari F2007, operated by a force feedback steering wheel and pedals. But the rig isn't for training the racecar drivers of the future—Giordano says such systems allow us to better understand how we experience motion:

A motion simulation system is a fundamental tool to understand how humans experience the sensation of motion...By running suitable experiments, one can gain better insights into the cognitive processes of the human brain.

He says the robot arm can be adapted to simulate the experience of planes, helicopter, and ships, as well. Sure, but how about a speeder bike from Return of the Jedi? [IEEE Spectrum via PopSci]