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 I got to step inside of Project Holodeck 
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Two Eyed Hopeful
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Hey guys, I'm really excited to finally share my experience inside of Project Holodeck. I met with the project's director, Nathan Burba, and he gave me a hands-on demo of the mulitplayer virtual reality platform and a detailed interview. I put together a video of the demo in action and wrote of the experience at my site here:

http://www.roadtovr.com/2013/02/11/proj ... video-2915

Project Holodeck uses hardware that most of you have heard of. It'll be using the Oculus Rift developer kit once it is released, but for now they are using a very similar 3D-printed unit called the Socket HMD which was created by the MxR lab at USC. It has the same 800x640 resolution as the Rift, though it's using a screen similar (or perhaps identical) to the early prototypes (5-inches, fairly slow response time).

Palmer Luckey is actually the Project Holodeck hardware advisor and you can hear a bit about how he was involved in the genesis of the project in the interview linked above.

In addition to the Socket HMD, the platform is using PlayStation Move wands for 6DOF tracking. Headtracking is done with a wand on the head (using the sensors inside) while player tracking is done by following the ball at the top of that wand. The second wand is attached to the backpack and the system reads its sensor data to detect torso movements in 3DOF. The combination of these systems means full 6DOF tracking for the head and torso which means you can jump, lean, and kneel, and it's all reflected in-game.

The Razer Hydra is used for hand input (I'm sure most of you here are familiar with it by now), but they've mounted the base station to the head to make the setup totally portable (I didn't mention before, but the rigs are completely wireless). They smartly used the sensor data from the head-mounted PlayStation Move wand to counterbalance the rotation of the Hydra base on the head; even when you turn your head to look so the side the Hydra inputs stay right where they should.

The Hydra's provided inputs for both hands and kinematics are used to animate the arms properly as well. Buttons on the Hydra were used for grabbing objects and it was really awesome to interact so naturally with the environment. I was playing Amnesia yesterday and was thinking how I could wait until I'm in that game with a system like this, slow pulling doors open with my hands to see what evils lay in wait!

I can't wait until Project Holodeck gets polished up (it's still very much alpha at the moment). The future of virtual reality is very promising!


Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:21 am
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Binocular Vision CONFIRMED!
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Thanks for posting this, really wanted to see more on Project Holodeck! Watching now :D

Edit: Those two Razer Hydras (if that's what they are) are getting pretty close to each other; does that cause problems with interference?

Edit2: Excited by the quote "From my brief time in the Holodeck, the fidelity felt like it was to the point that you could sit down to a virtual dinner table and easily grab the salad fork without accidentally grabbing the adjacent dinner fork"


Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:23 am
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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Looking forward to watching this later!


Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:47 am
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Certif-Eyed!

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I haven't gotten a chance to listen to the interview, but the article sounds really exciting!

I'm curious, it seems they've moved out of the lab and into a living room. Why is that? Was it too tedious to move back and forth between the lab and home?

Did they give any indication as to the total cost of the system? What is the difficulty to set it up? Can it be made simple enough for the average consumer?


Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:49 am
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Diamond Eyed Freakazoid!
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Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:55 am
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Two Eyed Hopeful
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Diorama wrote:
Thanks for posting this, really wanted to see more on Project Holodeck! Watching now :D

Edit: Those two Razer Hydras (if that's what they are) are getting pretty close to each other; does that cause problems with interference?

Edit2: Excited by the quote "From my brief time in the Holodeck, the fidelity felt like it was to the point that you could sit down to a virtual dinner table and easily grab the salad fork without accidentally grabbing the adjacent dinner fork"


Each player has a Hydra strapped to their head. If you were to put your hand close to the other player's head there can be some interference issues. It wasn't a problem for my demo because there wasn't much of a reason to put my hand that close to the other player's head, but Nathan tells me that the company that makes the Hydra (Sixense) has prototypes which work on different frequencies and alleviate the problem all together.


Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:57 am
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One Eyed Hopeful
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zalo wrote:
I haven't gotten a chance to listen to the interview, but the article sounds really exciting!

I'm curious, it seems they've moved out of the lab and into a living room. Why is that? Was it too tedious to move back and forth between the lab and home?

Did they give any indication as to the total cost of the system? What is the difficulty to set it up? Can it be made simple enough for the average consumer?


Thanks for the questions.

When that video was taken we had just returned with the system from a trip to Dublin, Ireland. I was stopped over at my friend's place in Philadelphia before flying back to Los Angeles.

We're working on making the system inexpensive and easy enough to set up for the average consumer. We think we can hit somewhere around $700 in the future. That system you see in the video cost about $1500 per person in hardware.

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Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:18 pm
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Thank you for answering my questions! That's a very promising estimate considering the backtop, HMD, Hydra, and PS Moves!


Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:30 pm
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Two Eyed Hopeful
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nathanburba wrote:
Thanks for the questions.

When that video was taken we had just returned with the system from a trip to Dublin, Ireland. I was stopped over at my friend's place in Philadelphia before flying back to Los Angeles.

We're working on making the system inexpensive and easy enough to set up for the average consumer. We think we can hit somewhere around $700 in the future. That system you see in the video cost about $1500 per person in hardware.


Looks like a very exciting project! Will this be sold as software only? And if so, have you considered releasing a pay-for-alpha version like Minecraft? Should be a lot of interested folks out there that probably have most of the hardware laying around and are just getting their RIFTS :)


Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:57 pm
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How is locomotion handled?


Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:05 pm
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Petrif-Eyed
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Poject Holodeck just made Hackaday:
http://hackaday.com/2013/02/12/universi ... -holodeck/

That may drive some traffic this way. It seems to link everywhere but here. I added a link to this thread in the hackaday comments.

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Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:42 pm
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geekmaster wrote:
Poject Holodeck just made Hackaday:
http://hackaday.com/2013/02/12/universi ... -holodeck/

That may drive some traffic this way. It seems to link everywhere but here. I added a link to this thread in the hackaday comments.


I also posted a link to JanVR's omnidirectional locomotion prototype. The more mindshare it gets, the better :)


Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:51 pm
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Two Eyed Hopeful
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Mystify wrote:
How is locomotion handled?


Absolute positional tracking is achieve with the PlayStation Move and PlayStation Eye combo. The Eye tracks the wand on the head to determine player location. To walk in the game world you just world in real life! It's very natural as you might imagine : P


Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:53 pm
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This project keeps looking better and better. Nice job.

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Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:59 pm
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Two Eyed Hopeful
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nathanburba wrote:
zalo wrote:
I haven't gotten a chance to listen to the interview, but the article sounds really exciting!

I'm curious, it seems they've moved out of the lab and into a living room. Why is that? Was it too tedious to move back and forth between the lab and home?

Did they give any indication as to the total cost of the system? What is the difficulty to set it up? Can it be made simple enough for the average consumer?


Thanks for the questions.

When that video was taken we had just returned with the system from a trip to Dublin, Ireland. I was stopped over at my friend's place in Philadelphia before flying back to Los Angeles.

We're working on making the system inexpensive and easy enough to set up for the average consumer. We think we can hit somewhere around $700 in the future. That system you see in the video cost about $1500 per person in hardware.



Before I saw Project Holodeck, when I heard about Oculus one of first things I thought of was a VR battleground similar to the phsysical setup of a laser tag, but having the physical barriers in the real world have virtual counterparts. I think with this or similar hardware that could be a reality, and very soon. That to me is hard to believe, so fantastic

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Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:20 pm
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One Eyed Hopeful

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This is exciting....

You mentioned in the video, that you guys are possibly working on a zombie shooter.

I think that is an amazing idea.

And I'm just thinking , but would this be kinda of like a Shooter on rails type of setup.

So both players would be in a car, and you would be moving around in the virtural world with a steering wheel, while another player shoots zombies ... This way you don't have to have too much space, and you don't have to worry about any staying in place locomotion devices.


Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:58 am
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A thoroughly impressive demo and excellent interview. A must see for anyone interested in VR.

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Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:18 pm
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