As a company who creates complex driving simulation software, we get asked a lot of questions. One of the questions we get asked the most (especially by those in the research community) is, “Can I use other equipment to interface with the driving simulator?”
In short, the answer is a resounding YES (thank you for asking)! However, there are some caveats you should be aware of before you start hooking up any old equipment to your simulator, mostly having to do with the type of external hardware you want to use.
In general, your driving simulator can interface with any equipment that can send or receive an analog voltage or digital pulse. Additionally, the simulator can output data over a computer’s RS-232 communication port, and it interfaces with eye trackers. Or, to put it simply, we can talk to just about anything!
To help make things easier for you, we’ve put together a table of Scenario Definition Language (SDL) events that will allow you to interact with external equipment (but be sure to refer to the SDL Events Manual for specific details about each of these events):
One more thing worth mentioning: in order to use the analog and digital events, you must use devices from Measurement Computing. This is because they provide an interface library that we have already integrated into the simulation source code; that means you don’t have to write any source code yourself (you’re welcome)!
And there you have it! By adding one or more of the above events to your scenario, you’ll be able to send and/or receive data from external devices. This, in turn, will greatly enhance your ability to collect data or even run other tasks on other computers.