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Displays Games Hardware

Hands On With Virtual Reality's Greatest Hope 64

Posted by samzenpus
from the eye-on-the-prize dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Oculus VR Rift is a one of the seventeen kickstarter projects to raise more than a million dollars in 2012 and a recently published hands-on shows exactly why it was so successful. Using Oculus VR Rift with the upcoming Infinity Blade and a modified version of Unreal Tournament 3, the analyst found that the 3D effect and head tracking provided a great sense of immersion. At one point while playing Infinity Blade, the analyst describes walking around the guards and watching their swords shift as he stepped, seeming like they were inches from cutting him. While he felt that the demo was impressive, he found that the software limitations made the whole experience a bit unrealistic. Needless to say that Oculus Rift is a long way from hitting stores but Oculus VR is getting ready to ship developer kits."
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Hands On With Virtual Reality's Greatest Hope

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  • by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @08:12PM (#42540281)
    Back in the 90s I worked a bit in VR & 3D video/movies. The big hope was always a way to track eye movement to vary the interocular distance based on what you where trying to focus on. There where some prototypes that where able to do this using infrared cameras to track your eyes and adjusting the software accordingly, but I have never seen a production system that did it. Until they get this working, VR will always feels forced because the software is deciding what you are looking at rather then your eyes.
    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      I have had helmets in the past, and yes this is the number one annoying thing that instantly pops out (headaches and neck-aches come later). Locking your eyes dead forward and moving your head an exaggerated amount to "look" at something that should only be an eye flick away is something not easily remembered in the moment.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dpidcoe (2606549)

        As a trackIR user, I can say that when using these sorts of devices it's helpful to think of your head as controlling a joystick that's moving your view, rather than being directly linked (most people set their trackIR profiles up to amplify movement on a curve, which also helps break that illusion). You don't get annoyed at having to move your hand a little bit to see something in an FPS when you could have just flicked your eyes instead because your brain understands that the mouse is a controller. It doe

        • by Osgeld (1900440)

          its cute for the first few moments, when you slowly gaze around the demo disk, but you hit it, my hand, which can do all sorts of stuff out of sight only has to make a slight movement, my head doesnt, and is not nearly as quick

    • by timeOday (582209)
      If that's the main problem, why haven't goggles for 2d information caught on? No variation in focal distance there. People sit for hours on the airplane crouched over the tiny 2d screen on their cellphone watching a movie, or smashing the screen of their laptop up against the guy reclining his chair into them. Goggle screens [saferwholesale.com] are available but do not seem very popular, but why? (I haven't tried them).
      • I've looked at them before. For me it's this:
        Resolution 480*240(WQVGA)
        Viewing Size 72inches virtual screen16:9

        Not a good combination.
    • by JakeBurn (2731457)

      If you could track a person's eyes you could solve many hardware limitations you might have. I read this paper on only making a certain sized circle directly where you're looking in focus and high def, A slightly larger circle around that is less sharp but still decent, then everything outside of that was low rez and blurry. Seemed like a decent idea to make what you're looking at seem much higher def than normal.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        If you could track a person's eyes you could solve many hardware limitations you might have. I read this paper on only making a certain sized circle directly where you're looking in focus and high def, A slightly larger circle around that is less sharp but still decent, then everything outside of that was low rez and blurry. Seemed like a decent idea to make what you're looking at seem much higher def than normal.

        rift does this thing where more of the display resolution is used for the straight ahead and less on the edges of the viewport. of course this means you should keep your eyes focused in front though and move your head to look around. think of it as if wearing night goggles I suppose.

    • These don't need eyeball tracking. The field of view of the image is such that your eyes can roam around the visible cone of the world to your heart's content, as with reality. The headset has accelerometers and gyros in it so it can track your head's orientation. You have the same five degrees of movement available (3 head rotation, 2 eye rotation) as you do without the goggles. The lower resolution, and the way the rift's optics are designed, means objects far from the centre of the FoV have fewer pixels

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        These don't need eyeball tracking. The field of view of the image is such that your eyes can roam around the visible cone of the world to your heart's content, as with reality [...] The only thing you lose is a true depth of field, because the system can't read the focal plane of your eyes.

        Well, no. When I turn my head my eyes move. And they are in different places. The view near my peripheral vision should change more significantly than it will. And that's only one of the many effects...

  • Until... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bmo (77928) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @08:12PM (#42540287)

    ...someone cracks a cure for VR Motion Sickness (TM) where the inner ear conflicts with what the eye is seeing, you're not going to see a lot of VR uptake.

    --
    BMO

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Xenkar (580240)

      This condition is actually called simulator sickness and a good portion of the population suffers from it. Basically your mind thinks it has been poisoned due to the conflicting messages and tries to induce vomiting to expel your lunch to correct the problem. There is no cure for it. The only solution is to have the VR helmet also hijack the inner-ear.

      • Or a system which places the "outside world" correctly as you move around, which either needs a large amount of space to move around in, or a moving/tilting floor.
      • Pick you sim carefully. Helicopter sims are better then fixed wing. Fixed wing is generally better then free space (e.g. Descent). Down generally stays down.

        Also having solidly mounted controls in your hands helps me. Not sure why.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Apparently [pcgamesn.com] Oculus has already done some experiments with the ear-fix:
        "“One of my favourite things that’s probably never going to hit the market: galvanic vestibular stimulation. It’s basically technology that allows you to stimulate your inner ear, to simulate orientation and acceleration... um... using electrical impulses. It’s really cool. I and I have some GVS systems I’ve put together myself,” he adds, and what he says next brings a broad laugh from his audience. "It'

        • Re:Until... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by bmo (77928) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @10:12PM (#42541395)

          There is a kind of vertigo where your semi-circular canals get infected or otherwise screwed up. You basically can't walk and are bedridden until it clears up. A friend of mine suffered from this and it wasn't fun.

          Any time you mess with a biological function like this, it's safer to go slow. Permanently mess up someone's inner ear and you'll condemn him to a hell that you would wish on anyone.

          Animal testing. Lots and lots of animal testing are needed for this before it's considered safe.

          --
          BMO

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I designed neural implants. This is *NOT* safe. external electrodes require significant voltage, and current, to get the current to go into the cochlear nerves. That means that, unless you surgically implant them, you're going to be overstimulating a lot of adjacent nerves in some strange, possibly destructive ways.

          Now, *implanted* electrodes might be a lot more effective, but any facial surgery has very real risks. Look into cochlear implants, used for artificial hearing, for some idea of the potential ris

          • by Vernes (720223)
            With all that news about plastic semiconductors giving us plastic chips, you'd think we have plastic neural implants as well.
            What gives?
            • by bmo (77928)

              Because induction coils still need to be made of metals. Because physics.

              --
              BMO

      • by chispito (1870390)
        Not familiar with this. Does it affect people playing normal FPS games as well?
        • It's the same situation that causes sickness in boats and planes.

          It may be possible to have while playing a FPS, but I've never heard of anybody that sensible. (Yet, some people have sickness while whatching TV, so it may just be due to a small sample.)

      • by Immerman (2627577)

        Actually the phenomena is not well understood or even (so far as I can tell) well researched - your explanation is only the current working theory. And it doesn't require a VR helmet to experience, though it likely intensifies the effect.

        From my brief review of the subject it seems like it tends to be most closely associated with FPS games and combat flight simulators - both of which tend to subject your avatar to very violent accelerations (just try to run, jump, or turn anywhere near as fast as your avat

        • by Jmc23 (2353706)
          Nah, there's my description of the phenomena as well, bonus that it's testable (not easily) and practical enough to have rid me of that horridness.
        • by drkim (1559875)

          It's actually well understood.
          It's also called sea-sickness.
          To sense our position in space, we combine data from our visual cortex with data from our inner-ear.
          If the data do not correspond, we get nauseous.
          Imagine you're below-deck on a ship. Your visual cortex is saying everything is standing still. Your inner-ear says things are rocking back and forth.
          This is also why you might get car-sick if you are looking down reading, instead of looking at the horizon.

          There is actually a useful reason for getting s

      • by drkim (1559875)

        ...The only solution is to have the VR helmet also hijack the inner-ear.

        A simpler solution is to just reduce the latency of the tracker/display refresh.
        This issue was more significant in the past because tracers were sluggish and displays were slow.
        With today's graphics card running at 60+FPS and fast optical trackers it's much less of an issue.

        Of course, just as some people are prone to car-sickness and sea-sickness, the same people are vulnerable to nausea in VR.

        I've been gaming with a stereo HMD VR rig with magnetic tracking for 11 years. Some of my friends enjoy it, a few g

      • Or maybe, just maybe it's good old fasioned motion sickness? When you are in a bouncy car and you are focussed on something inside, your eyes are telling you that you are not bouncing, while your ears are telling you you are bouncing. This conflict if sensory inputs is what makes you sick. Why do you think it happens to children more than adults? They are often too small, or not interested in looking outside the car and are busy watching/playing with something inside it.

        If I'm ever on a long bus journey, an

    • by Jmc23 (2353706)
      Easy, they just have to learn which way is up in reality. The brain compensates suprisingly quickly after a bit of time with a fixed horizon. I prescribe juggling. Fixed me up.
    • by grumbel (592662)

      There is Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation [youtube.com], if that however will ever be able to give detailed enough feedback and be easy enough to use in a consumer device is another question. Till then we can always take ginger pills to cure the motion sickness.

      • by bmo (77928)

        >Till then we can always take ginger pills to cure the motion sickness.

        I did know that gingers had no souls but I didn't know we ground them up into pills.

        --
        BMO

    • by PantherSE (588973)
      Actually, as a pilot I experience this sometimes--especially when flying when visibility is not so great. The feel on the seat of my pants is not agreeing with what I'm seeing outside and in my instruments. When I was in flight school my instructor always told me to prioritize what I'm seeing, not what I'm feeling in the seat of my pants. I wonder if the same technique can be used to prevent simulator sickness?
  • for the many (majority?) of people with bad eyesight and different sight on each eye?

    I remember going to SEGA world 15 years ago. The VR rides were popular, but the helmets could not fit the glasses inside, so it was a blurry experience to say the least.

    + a few years, ditto with Avatar, but at least I could get through the film wearing two glasses.

  • Of course it's unrealistic! It's Unreal!

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

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