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Drone Races To Be Broadcast To VR Headsets (thenewstack.io) 30

An anonymous reader writes: You just plug in the HDMI feed, and you're in the cockpit of the drone," the CEO of the new Drone Racing League tells Wired. "Everyone from Oculus on is expecting to have VR headsets in every home for entertainment consumption, and we're a natural use for it." In anticipation of a new mass entertainment, the Drone Racing League released new footage Thursday highlighting one of their complicated competition courses, "a concrete steampunk torture chamber with cast-iron columns and massive hulking turbines from another era" described as The Gates of Hell. "[T]hese young drone pilots are not just enjoying themselves, but also inventing a new sport," reports one technology site, asking whether we'll ultimately see "drone parks" or even drone demolition derbies and flying robot wars. In an article titled "When Video Games Get Real," they quote one pilot who says it feels like skateboarding in the 1990's, "with a small group of people pushing the envelope and inventing every day" — this time wearing virtual reality googles to experience the addictive thrill of flying.
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Drone Races To Be Broadcast To VR Headsets

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  • What good is that, absent a 360 degree camera on the drone? I realize that head tracking exists, and that a pilot can use it to be able to look around them (although I have no idea if they're used on racing drones; I would imagine the FPV rig would add too much weight even if there's barely more to it than two micro servos) but you wouldn't ever allow the audience to do it. However, if you could send the 360 degree image data, then there would be a point to using a headset. Otherwise, just get closer to the

    • "However, if you could send the 360 degree image data, then there would be a point to using a headset."

      That's the idea they had. Now imagine you can connect to a drone in the Grand Canyon or Paris. Even if they would ultimately not want hundreds of tourist drones in the sky, there would still be the possibility of ground based 'drones'. Imagine Venice in summer in your cool apartment without the heat and without the stench.

      • Without the heat, the stench and most of all without getting your wallet stolen it's just not the Venice in Summer experience.

      • That's the idea they had.

        Well, I did skim TFA to find out if it said anything about that before I chimed in, and it didn't

  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @02:27PM (#51409535)

    they find a way to prevent viewers from getting motion sickness.

    • I found out by trial and error that trying to read my smartphone on a bus ride makes me queasy. Never happened before on a bus, a plane, a boat, a car, not even the roller coaster. Not going to even try this (besides, the 3d effect needs 2 good eyes).
      • As you get older it gets even worse. I get queasy even riding in the back of a car sometimes.
        • by maligor ( 100107 )

          As you get older it gets even worse. I get queasy even riding in the back of a car sometimes.

          It's inverse for me. I used to get motion sickness from facing the wrong way in busses or reading while in a moving vehicle, but now I can do both at the same time with no ill effects.

          I imagine it's the same for VR, do enough and you'll become immune.

          What I'm not sure about is how I ended up resolving the nausea, because the nausea from motion sickness isn't something I really want to inflict myself with, but with VR you could easily just pace the session length.

    • Agreed. There is no way currently to do that. And it is unlikely there ever will. Almost all people get motion sick from the Oculus and similar VR systems (except for Slashdotters of course).
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      They will just build special stadiums, called vomitoriums.

  • Those drones look like batteries with propellers.
  • You won't be in the "cockpit" of the drone, because drones don't have cockpits. By the way, can we get rid of the word "cockpit"? It means "a pit or enclosure for cockfights" or "a place noted for especially bloody, violent, or long-continued conflict". If we could talk about aviation without reminding ourselves that we put innocent animals to fight for our amusement in blood sports, that would be great. [youtube.com]

  • by MMC Monster ( 602931 ) on Sunday January 31, 2016 @04:32PM (#51410095)

    Sporting events are likely THE killer app for VR headsets.

    Would be pretty cool to watch the football game from the point of view of the quarterback or someone else on the field. Similarly, would actually make Nascar racing interesting to be able to watch it from the driver's perspective.

    I would certainly go and watch a sporting event with VR headset enhancements.

    Come to think about it, the bandwidth for this is probably more than most people can push down from their home ethernet in realtime. This would make it the perfect sort of app for those Off Tack Betting sort of places.

  • Can you stop calling 'sport' activities that are anything but. Piloting a drone by moving your thumbs around is not a sport. Mountain climbing is. Chess isn't. It's not because you have smelly armpits at the end of the day that it's a sport, you need real sweat for that. Call it what it is: a game.

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