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Leepvideo System

Engineering Psychology

2013.ep.2 a: Link junction box
The Leepvideo link junction box consists of a metallic box with a slanted face. The face includes two sets of eight input sockets, labelled “L” and “R” respectively. These correspond to the left and right eyes of the remote camera system (puppet) and virtual reality helmet (cyberface). The panel on the left side includes input sockets for the puppet. Two sockets correspond to cables coming from the left and right “eyes” of the puppet. The left side panel includes two additional sockets for cables of the puppet, potentially for audio data. The right side panel includes output sockets for the cyberface helmet, and an on/off switch for the link junction box. Two sockets correspond to the left and right eyes of the cyberface system, and are labelled “L” and “R” accordingly. An additional socket provides an outlet for an audio cable from the cyberface system. The back panel includes an electrical cable for plugging the instrument into a power source.

2013.ep.2 b: Remote camera system (puppet)
The Puppet consists of a metallic base and wooden panels cut to represent the profile of a human head, with cameras set behind glass in each “eye.” The metallic base consists of three metallic legs with rubber bases. The wooden head is mounted onto the metallic base with screws, and positioned upright. Each side of the flat wooden profile of the head includes an “eye” consisting of a camera positioned within a cylinder, protected by glass. Each side also includes a small hole (1 cm in diameter) representing the “ear” of the puppet. These holes each contain a microphone for collecting auditory information for for the puppet. The back of the puppet head includes two output cables for the information from the right and left sides of the puppet. These cables are gathered together with electrical tape.

2013.ep.02 c: Cyberface head-mounted display
The head-mounted display consists of the original manufacturer’s display apparatus, repurposed by the user, who attached the visual display to a helmet using steel bars. The plastic round helmet includes an inside fabric lining with headphones sewn into the lining. The helmet includes a chin strap for strapping the apparatus to the user’s head. Two steel bars are glued to the sides of the helmet, which are attached by a horizontal bar in front of the helmet. These bars provide a mounting structure for the visual display apparatus, which consists of a plastic box with two circular screens positioned for both eyes of the user wearing the helmet. Input cables are attached to the visual display apparatus, to relay visual information from the puppet (via link junction box). The steel bars extend beyond the back of the helmet, and include weights attached to the ends of the bars.

2013.ep.02 d: Head strap
The head strap for the Leepvideo system consists of a metal band that crosses the forehead of the user, attached to plastic panels on each side. These plastic panels surround the sides of the head. Attached to each of the plastic panels are three fabric straps with velcro patches on the ends. These allow the user to attach the straps from either side so that the head strap is securely fastened to the head. In the original configuration of the instrument, this head strap would have been attached to the Cyberface head-mounted display using screws. However, the user repurposed the instrument by attaching it to a helmet.

Accession Number: 2013.ep.2.a-d

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials:

Wood, Metal: Iron Alloy, Metal: Copper Alloy, Metal: Other, Plastic, Rubber, Synthetic Fabric


2013.ep.2 a (Cyberface Link Junction Box):
Owner’s label on front panel: “LEEPVIDEO SYSTEM 1 Cyberface Link Junction Box. DCIEM Ser. 20064. DA 25-8. PROPERTY IDENTIFICATION NUMBER”. Barcode on front panel: “06048”. Manufacturer’s labels on face of panel: “LEEPVIDEO SYSTEM 1” “DATABASE” “CYBERFACE LINK” “R” “L”. Handwritten labels attached to face of panel: “TW PAIR” “TW PAIR”. Manufacturer’s labels on left side panel: “PUPPET” “L” “R”. Manufacturer’s labels on right side panel: “CYBERFACE” “L” “R”.

2013.ep.2 b (Remote Camera System):
Owner’s label on top surface of right “eye” of puppet: “LEEPVIDEO SYSTEM 1 Remote Camera System. DCIEM Ser 20063. DA 25-8”. Manufacturer’s label on left and right sides of puppet head: “LEEP PUPPET, TM”

2013.ep.2 c (Cyberface head-mounted display):
Owner’s label on right side of visual display apparatus: “LEEPVIDEO SYSTEM 1 CYBERFACE 1 ™, Head-mounted display DCIEM £ 20067 DA 25-8 PROPERTY IDENTIFICATION NUMBER”. Barcode on front of visual display: “06047”

Dimensions (cm):

a: (Height = 13 cm, Width = 25 cm, Length = 16 cm), b: (Height = 29 cm, Width = 28 cm, Length = 25 cm), c: (Height = 23 cm, Width = 50 cm, Length = 30 cm), d: (Height = 9cm, Width = 27 cm, Length = 20 cm)


The Leepvideo System 1 was an early virtual reality system using live video camera recordings and binaural audio. It was the first commercial product of its kind. An identical technology was used by NASA, called “VIEWS” (Virtual Interface Environment Work Station).


Good: There are minor stains and scratches on the instrument.

Associated Instruments:

Manufacturer: LEEPVR

Date of Manufacture: 1989


Prof. Paul Milgram, Engineering Psychology, U of T

Additional Information and References:

The property identification number label indicates that the instrument was used at DCIEM, the Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine research base in Toronto, ON. Now called Defense R&D Canada (DRDC), the research base includes both military and civilian staff, who research projects addressing the operational needs of the Canadian Forces.

Historical Notes:

From the LEEPVR website (
“Since 1985 NASA and VPL had been using the wide-angle LEEP viewing lenses in various head mounted display projects. Then, in 1988, NASA and a sensory research group at M.I.T. tasked Pop-Optix Labs with designing very wide-angle LEEP format lenses for video cameras. This work is what first made wide angle telepresence possible. With the release of the original LEEP Cyberface In March of 1989, Eric Howlett became the first to offer a commercial head-mounted display. The technology is essentially identical to that in the NASA “VIEWS” (Virtual Interface Environment Work Station). Like the NASA HMD, the Cyberface is monochromatic, but provides very wide angle stereo. This is a reasonable trade-off considering the technology that was available at the time the Cyberface was first created.”