1. THE PRIOVR,
A Full Body Motion Controller Suit Demoed With Oculus Rift VR Headset At CES 2014
CES 2014 is bringing in a lot of surprises, this one is related to virtual reality gaming. If you are a fan of Kinect and motion gaming, you may remember the PrioVR, a full body virtual reality kit that that initially appeared in October 2013 and was supposed to work alongside Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, but the Kickstarter campaign for the product failed. Well the product has once again caught the eye of people in CES 2014 by showing its maneuvers and it looks like PrioVR is indeed a perfect match for Oculus Rift.
Get Ready To Completely Immerse In Games With PrioVR Motion-Capture Suit And Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset
With the growing trend of wearable technology, products interacting directly with human body are getting much attention. Wearable technology would be one of the most prominent themes at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. Wearable virtual reality products such as Oculus Rift VR headset is the most discussed gaming related topic and another player has jumped into this category at just the right time.
Since the launch of Kinect in 2010, the gesture-based motion gaming have started to revolutionize the gaming industry slowly, but of course Kinect was developed as only one of its type and so it failed to show complete accuracy and fast response but Microsoft greatly improved in motion gaming with Kinect 2, yet still it needs a lot of improvement for providing a true motion gaming experience. Well, another company has jumped into the scene of motion gaming and decided to challenge Microsoft’s Kinect.
When YEI Technology first announced its Kickstater campaign in October 2013 for production of full or half-body motion game controller suits named as PrioVR, the suits did not attract the expected attention and the Kickstarter campaign failed. However, YEI Technology did not choose to give up and decided to take a fresh start by presenting a demo of PrioVR’s working prototype at CES 2014 and it seems like the company finally succeeded in getting everyone’s attention. Watch the demo of PrioVR suit in action below.
Cyberith Virtualizer steps onto Kickstarter© Cyberith
DATE21 July 2014AUTHORBen Sillis
Virtual reality gaming is back in a big way: Facebook’s scooped up Oculus Rift for billions, Sony’s got its own rival headset on the way, and amazing new games like Valkyrie are on the way built from the ground up with headmounted displays in mind.
Off the back of this flourishing new games industry, we’ve also seen a flurry of new devices built to work with VR headsets, from vests that simulate in-game bullet wounds to the holy grail of immersive gaming: 360 degree treadmills that let you physically walk, run and even jump across game worlds.
The Virtualizer plugs in just via a single USB cable, but is there any other software needed to get going?
As of now, you still need one extra application: after plugging the Virtualizer in via USB you need to start our own software to choose if you want to emulate a controller or a keyboard. But once our SDK (software development kit) is finished and integrated in games and mods it will be enough to just plug the Virtualizer in and let the game do the rest.
What sort of games are experienced best with the Virtualizer? What are your favourites?
There are a couple of aspects games have to fulfil to really make an amazing Virtual Reality experience. For one, they should be playable from first person perspective because only then you really immerse into the game with a Head-Mounted Display. Plus, the engine should support decoupled direction of movement and viewing, so that you are able to control your direction with your body, not the HMD. Personally I’ve really enjoyed Battlefield 4, because in it you constantly switch between walking, running and driving vehicles and since you’re able to perform all these moves with the Virtualizer it’s just an awesome and completely immersive experience.
What kind of applications can we see the Virtualizer being used with aside from games?
The Virtualizer is a great tool to workout, especially for people living in cities or anyone who wants to add some extra excitement to his workout routine. Imagine specifically designed futuristic obstacle courses, or a recreation of something like the Yellowstone National Park to go for a run every morning, instead of just running around a couple of blocks near your home. With the right software you could even meet with friends from all over the world to go for a run, to make it a more social experience. Besides health and fitness the Virtualizer is also very handy for architecture. We’ve already teamed up with SIGNA, Austria’s biggest real estate company, to deliver realistic impressions of unfinished buildings to their potential customers, and the feedback has been great so far. You get a very different sense of space when you’re able to actually walk through a building in comparison to just seeing its visualization on a screen, so that’s definitely something we want to explore more in the future.
Are there any limitations with the Virtualizer?
The thing one has to keep in mind is that consumer ready virtual reality is a fairly new sector. Basically it all started with the Oculus Rift boom because without sophisticated HMDs it’s impossible to offer virtual reality due to problems like cybersickness. So understandably until then game developers had no interest in designing games suitable for VR hardware, but luckily that’s about to change and we here at Cyberith are really looking forward to those changes, because so far the software side of things limits the Virtualizer in a way. First of all most games don’t offer decoupled movement and viewing direction, and they don’t support analog crouching and jumping. That’s why we are currently working on our Software Development Kit, so game developers are able to easily integrate full Virtualizer support into their game engines.
You guys are keen to stress the flat base that the Virtualizer has – does it really improve on the immersion, compared to a bowl?
When we first came up with the idea of the Virtualizer we had the choice to either go for a bowl-shaped or a flat base-plate. We quickly dismissed the bowl-shaped platform after we ran our first motion analyses for a simple reason: it inherently breaks immersion. When you run or walk on an even ground in-game your brain expects that your feet touch the ground exactly the moment your feet would do in reality. But with a bowl your feet touch the slope of the bowl earlier than they should. Therefore every step becomes a reminder for you that you are not really inside Virtual Reality, you are in fact just using a controller. So we are convinced that a flat base is the way to go for omnidirectional treadmills – the tricky part is to find the right material for it, and we’ve made great strides in the last couple of months to find one that suits our needs.
Does it take long to get to grips with? What controller do you guys recommend to play with the Virtualizer?
Usually people learn to move very quickly, after 10 minutes most people feel very comfortable walking and running in the Virtualizer. We’ve also added a ‘beginner’ function to ease the learning curve. With it you’re able to lock the ring construction at a certain height to really lock you in while you get used to the Virtualizer. Currently we’re using Wii Remotes because they are easy to program and their tracking system allows you to use specific motions as input. What we’re really looking forward to though are tracking suits like PrioVR or Control VR. With those suits you’ll be able to track your arm, leg and upper body motions, so combined with the Virtualizer they should really make for an awesome VR experience.
Ride of the Valkyrie: The rise of VR’s posterchild
What’s the recommended amount of time spent with the gear? What’s the longest session you’ve had with the Virtualizer?
Naturally using your own body to play games is a bit more tiring than just using a controller. But, it’s also a lot more fun and action packed than to just sit around moving your thumbs. So there’s no time limit except maybe your stamina and personally, I’ve spent whole afternoons in the Virtualizer playing Battlefield.
How much space is typically needed for the kit? Is it something you’d be able to set up in the bedroom?
You roughly need 2.5 metres squared to set up the Virtualizer, so yes: it will fit in most bedrooms. Plus, the Virtualizer is easily storable if you should need the space for something else. Once you’ve tried the Virtualizer chances are the chair that you used to sit on while playing on your computer will become your new clothes hanger!
What are your thoughts and plans for Project Morpheus? Could we see the Virtualizer work with the PS4 eventually? What about Xbox One?
Project Morpheus really seems like a great product and we would love to combine it with the Virtualizer one day. Unfortunately it isn’t as easy to offer console support for external devices like it is with PCs because of driver restrictions. But hopefully we’re able to collaborate with developers like Sony and Microsoft in the future to integrate the Virtualizer with recent consoles.
3.THE STEM SYSTEM
The STEM System™ is a wireless, motion tracking platform for video games, virtual reality (VR), and more. It enables players to interact naturally and intuitively with games by tracking full position and orientation at all times, whether at the desktop or throughout the entire living room.
This is the next big step in Sixense motion tracking technology – with advancements including longer range, wireless operation, and better tracking performance at all ranges. The STEM System will support up to five wireless motion trackers, or STEMs, for full position and orientation tracking of the head and hands, the entire body, or other configurations.
In order to foster a robust developer community, the STEM System will be an open platform for creators of both software and hardware consumer products. Developers will be able to create games with virtually no restrictions. The STEM System will give developers the flexibility and autonomy they need to create motion-tracked titles complete with motion-tracked peripherals of their own design.
The second-generation Sixense SDK takes advantage of the STEM System’s extended capabilities and also provides backward compatibility with products and games powered by earlier generations of Sixense motion tracking technology, including the Razer Hydra. The SDK is available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux.
Support for Any Game
Sixense MotionCreator is a powerful software application that delivers motion gameplay to virtually any published PC game. It allows you to play using the natural, intuitive motion control provided by the STEM System. The game itself is never “aware” that any new device is being used to play the game since Sixense MotionCreator emulates the inputs for which the game was designed.
Hundreds of games are already supported by Sixense MotionCreator, so a huge catalog of titles for the STEM System will be available when it ships. Users can create profiles that convert the STEM System’s motion tracking, button, analog sticks, and analog triggers to mouse and keyboard commands. And anyone can use and customize Sixense MotionCreator, even those without game or software development skills. Sixense MotionCreator is available free to users of the STEM System.
The Sixense Tuscany Demo adds motion input to the standard Oculus Rift Tuscany demo. We modified the demo to demonstrate the STEM System’s ability to drastically enhance the immersive experience delivered by VR applications. For the first time, this allows users to interact with the virtual world intuitively and naturally with their head, hands, and feet. No development experience is required to use the demo.
We will release the source code for the Sixense Tuscany Demo for all developers. It includes the following features to enable STEM System developers to quickly and easily add motion input to their own applications:
– Reference implementation for adding motion-tracked hands to a Unity VR application
– Full body avatar with inverse kinematics
– Example physics implementation for hands and feet
– Sixense Player Controller prefab decoupling the head from the body. Drag and drop into your scene
– Sixense Tuscany Demo scene
Technology and Features
Sixense developed the electromagnetic motion tracking technology that is used in consumer products worldwide. The STEM System represents the next generation of this technology, with a new architecture that delivers longer range, lower latency, and better performance at all ranges.
Wireless motion tracking
Freedom of movement for any activity, from desktop competitive gaming to VR with full body tracking and locomotion.
Five tracking points
Allows tracking of all four limbs plus the head – or any other configuration.
Optimized performance from the desktop to the living room, with an 8-foot radius (16-foot diameter) range from the Base.
Backward compatibility via the Sixense SDK
Uses an updated version of the Sixense SDK (for Windows, Mac OS and Linux) that also supports games and applications developed for the Razer Hydra.
Our technology uses an A/C electromagnetic field to determine the position and orientation of each STEM (up to five per system) relative to a stationary base. The STEM System allows an uninterrupted and consistent user experience unlike any other motion control system.
Because Sixense technology does not rely on inertial sensors (gyroscopes and accelerometers) for position tracking, the measured position of each STEM will not drift over time, whether you move quickly, slowly, or not at all.
Patented Sixense latency technology is used in the STEM System – giving it the lowest latency of any wireless consumer motion control system.
This means that the STEM System tracks both position and orientation on all three axes for each STEM. These data are very easy for developers to incorporate into software applications via the Sixense SDK.
No line of sight required between STEMs and the Base
You have the freedom to turn around, put the STEMs in your pockets or stand behind your couch – all without interrupting the tracking performance.
Contains the coil that serves as the stationary reference for each STEM. Includes charging docks for two controllers and three STEM Packs, plus three additional USB charging ports.
Each wireless STEM Controller will feature a trigger, a bumper, buttons and analog joystick to allow maximum flexibility for development of any genre of game. Controllers will also feature haptic feedback.
These enable STEMs to be used purely for motion tracking. Each STEM Pack contains a STEM dock, a rechargable battery to power the STEM, a clip and an attachment for a bracelet. STEM Packs will also feature haptic feedback.
We’re always listening to both users and developers and we’re working hard to ensure that all features in the STEM System help you develop faster and play better. We set the bar for performance to the highest consumer standards. Developers won’t be restricted in what they create and enthusiasts and early adopter backers will get the best possible motion control system.
Great for VR
Any distraction or intrusion from the “real world” degrades the virtual reality experience. Traditional input devices such as the mouse and keyboard or gamepad are unnatural in VR, serving as constant reminders to users of the world outside the virtual environment. Sixense-powered wired controllers, such as the Razer Hydra, provide that “Aha!” moment when the user puts on the VR headset, and then looks down and sees his or her virtual hands moving exactly as they do in real life.
Today’s rapidly growing community of VR developers realize that the controller needs to be improved in order to deliver the uninterrupted and immersive experience they’re after. The STEM System goes way beyond, freeing you from wires and opening up the entire living room.
4.THE REACTIVE GRIP
The Dexmo is a robotic exoskeletal glove which translates input into virtual software.
There's two different versions of the gloves planned, the Dexmo Classic and the Dexmo F2 – with each available at a different price point.
"Dexmo is a wearable mechanical exoskeleton that captures your hand motion as well as providing you with force feedback," the company site reads. "It breaks the barrier between the digital and real world and gives you a sense of touch."
In laymen's terms, the Dexmo is a virtual reality glove. The potential's there for the glove to be used in tandem with an Oculus Rift to allow the player to reach out and virtually grab objects, complete with force-feedback if you opt for the F2 model. On top of that, it could also offer a cheaper alternative to game developers looking to capture hand motions without needing to pay for motion capture sessions.
The Dexmo is currently on Kickstarter. At the time of writing, it's on $45,235 of $200,000 needed with 26 days to go. The $75 reward buys backers a Dexmo development kit, which contains a Dexmo Classic, and comes with a free SDK and sample programs to get you started.
Not that long ago, modders came up with a solution to let them play Alien: Isolation on the Oculus, resulting in what is presumably the most terrifying experience of the year. Imagine playing that with a Dexmo.