When you put on a VR headset one thing you notice pretty quickly is that you can’t see the outside world. That’s often the point, but not always. Often you’ll want to see the real world either for simple ambient awareness or augmented reality applications. With cameras likely to be a standard feature on all consumer VR headsets passthrough video is something that I wanted to experiment with.
Everyone loves filters so had to add those. It’s only a matter of time before we see Instagram VR. Additionally have control over the field of view of the screen which is fun to play with when paired up with additional camera lenses like from Photojojo that allow you to get a higher field of view more closely approximating your eyes verses the standard 60 degree FOV of phone camera.
As control of a touchscreen smartphone is challenging when the phone is in a holder I’ve added a way to control the app from another device such as a desktop computer. You can do this by loading the app on both devices with the same URL, with the hash at the end (e.g. '/#456') defining the 'room' you’re in. Better yet have someone else be in control of what you’re seeing to make it a social experience.
It’s hard to stop thinking about what I experienced at Oculus Connect where they unveiled their latest prototype, ‘Crescent Bay.
The thing that is so special about it is that it crosses the threshold of delivering ‘presence,’ the sense that one is actually in another world. It’s a fragile quantity, only fleetingly giving me that sense for a few seconds at a time. It’s a powerful feeling that will only get stronger as the technology progresses.
And this is just a prototype of the future.
“Some time in the next eighteen months, the world is going to change very drastically. Not like Apple Watch change—more like 1994 Web change.”
“Today I finally got to see the virtual reality demo at Valve Software. And it completely blew me away. … In this demo, unlike all the others I have seen, a threshold has been crossed, and I have seen another world.”
“One of the most exciting developments I see on the horizon is technology that will immerse us into entertaining worlds, or project those worlds and experiences into our lives. In essence, entertainment will be immeasurably enhanced with both virtual-reality experiences and augmented-reality experiences. Bringing us into created worlds and bringing created worlds into our world will fundamentally explode the boundaries of storytelling, unburdening the storyteller in ways we can't yet imagine.”
“We’re on the brink of a simply enormous change in visual communication.”
—Sir David Attenborough, working on virtual reality storytelling at Alchemy VR
“We’re talking about a massive revolution in storytelling and in content. It’s going to happen very quickly.”
“I’m telling you: Cinematic VR will change everything. This technology represents a paradigm shift in entertainment and communications as significant as the radio or television.”
“VR hardware will get better, and better, and suddenly I looked at the limited little rectangle of my videos and saw something soon to be archaic, an arbitrary shape chosen by technological convenience rather than anything fundamentally meaningful to the human experience, and I saw VR as the platform for video, for social media, for the entire internet.”
“When you put on Oculus and get into VR and get that sense of presence, people are just streaming with ideas when they come out of it. They’re dreaming about these things. That’s why I think this will be the most powerful platform of all time. Everyone has an idea for it.”
“Virtual reality — I mean truly accurate, comfortable virtual reality — is the most important thing to happen to interactive entertainment in decades. I know it sounds like exaggeration, but it’s impossible to explain what this is like to someone who hasn’t experienced it for themselves. Your brain is convinced that you are somewhere else, that you are in another world. I have worked my entire career to get to this moment, to create something like this.”
—Paul Bettner, creator of Lucky’s Tale (a game you will know soon)
I’m continually amazed by the ever growing number of people-in-the-know saying things like this, because it foretells a most amazing future, and it’s just around the corner.
It’s all in the headline description for the SVVR Conference: the world’s first professional conference for consumer virtual reality. A conference that gathered many of the key players in what is the rapid creation of a new industry, taking the first steps to explore the vast possibilities of virtual reality. The building of the foundation of the future is beginning.
“Since visiting the Oculus VR team at their office three months ago, I've come to believe that immersive computing (aka virtual reality) is poised to rival the personal computer, the web, social networking, and mobile devices in its impact.”
—Tom Preston-Werner, cofounder of Github
I’m liking this whole Silicon Valley thing. Where else can you go to a meetup and see the future first hand on a monthly basis?
The latest future vision: Jaunt VR and their 360 camera that crucially can reconstruct depth info to give a powerful sense of being there. It’s impressive and like so much that is happening, coming soon, to a HMD near you.
I had the opportunity recently to visit the VR lab at Stanford. (The same one Mark Zuckerberg tried out while evaluating VR prior to buying Oculus.) This is what I got to try out:
It's a $40,000 headset paired with a custom room that allows positional tracking Up until very recently was the state-of-the-art in VR. And soon to be utterly obsoleted by consumer VR devices at 1/100th the cost, and an enormously better experience. Technology trends at work.
“You’ve got photography, which is all digital now. And then you’ve got computer graphics, which brings incredible capability and gives people incredible power to create. And then virtual reality, this whole 3D space. Those three are going to collide, and where they collide is exactly where Lytro is sitting right now.”
My first Game Developers Conference did not disappoint. Oculus revealing their latest development kit (DK2) and Sony entering the ring with their intriguing Project Morpheus are another few steps on the road to VR being a reality.
Available now for preorder, delivery in July. Can’t wait to get my hands on what will set a new bar for quality VR.
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