by Yuya Hosoda

The city of Osaka’s dream for the 2025 World Expo is to use cutting-edge technologies, such as virtual reality (VR), to welcome eight billion “visitors.” The idea is that with special goggles, visitors — even those overseas — can experience the expo inside the event’s pavilions.

Technologies are evolving that utilize not only the sense of vision, but also aim to reproduce the experience for all five senses. Momentum is on the rise and IT developers are looking forward to the event in seven years.

Organizers said they want to bring excitement to the Osaka World Expo using the latest technologies.

An event on cutting-edge technologies such as VR was held at the Umeda campus of the Osaka Institute of Technology on November 24. After putting on a head-mounted display — basically goggles with an internal monitor — a visiting journalist saw blue and red balls flying at him, with a visual of them hitting his face. Each impact could be felt as he turned his face to the right and left.

“This technology can be applied to action games and movies,” said Yuta Ayai, 23, with confidence. Ayai developed the technology while working for a company. He explained that weights move in conjunction with the images in the goggles, generating the sensation of balls hitting the face.

The 16 booths at the November 24 event were run both by companies and individuals. Naoaki Yamaji, 27, belongs to the volunteer group Osaka Driven Development, and was involved in planning the event. He said VR development today involves not only seeing and hearing, but focuses on how to reproduce all five senses, including touch and smell.

By - Ben K.