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 Virtuix Omni - Omni treadmill for VR applications 
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Cross Eyed!

Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:00 am
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Hi all,

I finally decided on a name of my locomotion device: the Virtuix Omni (Virtuix will be the company name, Omni the product name). It has been an exciting two weeks. I decided to quit my day job and focus on this device full time. The ability to physically walk around in a game is mind blowing and brings virtual reality (and entertainment, for that matter) to a whole new level. I am going all-in to try to make this dream become a reality and try to get this device into the hands of VR enthusiasts.

I posted an updated video below to the Virtuix Omni youtube channel. The software is now able to recognize crouching/jumping and arm gestures to steer the game. I was also able to use the platform to walk around in Skyrim – a great experience.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmukXVHW6F4



I will be working towards a Kickstarter launch of the Omni in the next couple of months. I started building a new prototype that will be much smaller, more compact, and better looking. Design work has started to make this device look appealing and be structurally sound and user friendly (easy entry/exit, easy assembly/disassembly, smooth support assembly, etc.) See below for an initial rendering.

Attachment:
001.jpg


I also started preparations for the Kickstarter video, and am looking to include fascinating applications for the Rift and Omni that could take virtual reality to the next level. I will probably start a new thread to get all your input and ideas. If you have an interesting VR application that could work well with the Omni, let me know. Some high profile endorsements, like in the Rift video, would be helpful, too.

The device is not ready yet for mass market consumers. It is not a plug-n-play device (you would need add-ons like a Kinect or other tracking, software, wireless controllers, etc.), and much like the Rift, this device needs creative developers to create exciting applications. I hope to get as many Omni’s into the hands of as many VR enthusiasts and developers as possible, so that an ecosystem can start to develop.

I believe the Oculus Rift is driving a new virtual reality wave that is slowly but steadily catching the attention of mass media. I hope that the Virtuix Omni can bring an additional layer of excitement, bringing entertainment to another dimension that even excites non-VR enthusiasts. I believe that in 10 years, we will look back and scratch our heads about “how we used to play games sitting down with a keyboard and a mouse.” I could see a VR set-up with Omni and Rift in every household. Applications go way beyond gaming: exercising, training, simulation, virtual tourism, teleconferencing, physical therapy, VR events, … the sky is the limit. Exciting times for VR enthusiasts like us!

Thanks for all your support thus far. Looking forward to your input, as I will work every day to keep improving the Omni. I am putting all my life savings into this project, and am not planning to make a profit on the Kickstarter campaign (just want it out to as many folks as possible and take a long term view), so any help and input is welcome. Let's make VR happen!

Jan


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Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:16 pm
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Golden Eyed Wiseman! (or woman!)

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Can't wait to pledge on your Kickstarter!


Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:21 pm
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3D Angel Eyes (Moderator)
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Awesome man! Looking great.

I hope you have a successful Kickstarter.

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Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:22 pm
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Golden Eyed Wiseman! (or woman!)

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Sounds like you're taking some bold steps. I wish you success! :)


Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:29 pm
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Binocular Vision CONFIRMED!

Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:36 pm
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Looks great. And good luck with your project!

The best thing for me as a long time passionate windsurfer is that I'm already accustomed to wearing strange looking harnesses. ;)


Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:29 pm
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Petrif-Eyed
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Dopeeee !!!


Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:36 pm
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One Eyed Hopeful

Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:32 pm
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Very cool!

But in your Kickstarter-video, don't shoot those innocent birds. :)


Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:37 pm
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Two Eyed Hopeful

Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:54 pm
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What an exciting time for VR! Can't wait to get my hands on one of these.


Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:40 pm
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Cross Eyed!
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Oh hell yes.


Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:52 pm
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Golden Eyed Wiseman! (or woman!)

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Jan, I was wondering what you intend to do in terms of shoes. I know that fittings which could be attached to a person's shoes was mentioned in your previous thread. Are the soles made out of a single material with just the addition of a pin? If so, would it be possible to include a sheet of the material which people can cut out several different sole patterns, apply the pins themselves, and cut out notches for something like velcro straps, negating the need to produce custom shoes?


Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:59 pm
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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I pledge to pledge as well.


Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:15 pm
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Certif-Eyable!
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It might be a good idea to time your kickstarter with the "launch" of the Rift ... VR will get a lot of attention for like a week or two and you could use that, because getting mentioned on bigger news sites is what will fund your kickstarter.

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Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:17 pm
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Petrif-Eyed
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GeraldT wrote:
It might be a good idea to time your kickstarter with the "launch" of the Rift ... VR will get a lot of attention for like a week or two and you could use that, because getting mentioned on bigger news sites is what will fund your kickstarter.


I wouldn't want to touch that week. All hell is going to break loose around here and in the communities and you could easily get lost in the noise.


Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:05 pm
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Cross Eyed!
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Looks awesome bro . I would definitely pledge to your kickstarter. Your new 3d design is pretty similar to my past thread http://www.mtbs3d.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=120&t=16436

Great minds think alike I guess ;)


Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:46 pm
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One Eyed Hopeful
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Looks amazing.


Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:25 pm
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Petrif-Eyed
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I can't wait to try it. It is the first affordable version that appears will be kind enough to my worn old knee joints. I plan support the kickstarter.

I am glad to see that your version of the "Sufficient-Motion Walking Simulator" ODT design has the flat "home" circle in the center of the dish, that these guys seemed to think was so important for home position feedback, back in 1996:
http://www.hitl.washington.edu/publicat ... p-96-2.pdf
Quote:
Wells, M.; Peterson, B.; Aten, J. (1996). The Virtual Motion Controller: A Sufficient-Motion Walking Simulator. In proceedings of VRAIS '97, (pp. 1-8). Los Alamitos, CA, USA: IEEE Computer Society Press.
Here is a photo of their version, before they added the dish around the perimeter:
Image

Here is their version from 1998, when they added pressure sensors so you could move by leaning instead of walking:
Image

This one was commonly used by the military, where crouching was easier than in the walking version. I think moving that way would be interesting, if it was also modelled as a "hovercraft" in the VR simulation. I would still need the harness for walking though...

"No matter who you are, some scholar can show you the great idea you had was had by someone before you." - Author Unknown

"There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt." - Audre Lorde

Kickstarter is the way to make this idea felt. Keep up the great work JanVR!

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Last edited by geekmaster on Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:47 pm
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One Eyed Hopeful

Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:25 am
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What is the goal of the Kickstarter? Is it to sell units (a la oculus rift) or to get more funding for further prototyping (along the lines of this kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/190 ... f=category)


Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:15 pm
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Two Eyed Hopeful

Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:58 pm
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Is the waist ring still planned to be collapsible? It'd be great to shove it under a couch or bed when not in use. Would definitely assist the "wife acceptance factor" for such a big, bulky device that's frankly more than a little nerdy. :)

Good news is rumor has it that Microsoft will launch a new version of the Kinect, probably USB3 based with much greater resolution for the next Xbox.


Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:22 pm
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Petrif-Eyed
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phort99 wrote:
What is the goal of the Kickstarter? Is it to sell units (a la oculus rift) or to get more funding for further prototyping (along the lines of this kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/190 ... f=category)
I hope it will be a Rift-style Kickstarter campaign, which seems to be implied by the first post in this thread:
Quote:
... I hope to get as many Omni’s into the hands of as many VR enthusiasts and developers as possible, so that an ecosystem can start to develop. ... am not planning to make a profit on the Kickstarter campaign (just want it out to as many folks as possible and take a long term view)
Like the Rift, I certainly hope the consumer version is significantly profitable, and I applaud selling to developers at cost to prepare a largely developed supporting application base for the launch of the consumer version.

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Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:41 pm
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One Eyed Hopeful
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Count me in. This might just turn my room into an amusement park attraction, but so be it.

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Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:44 am
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Cross Eyed!
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I'm now looking forward to your kickstarter, and wish you well. But I have a few questions, that waist band that keeps you in one place looks a little on the small size, does it allow for people of a larger size and weight (approximately silver back gorilla size).

Also that ring looks quite static, I didn't see it moving up or down, making me doubt that this currently supports crouching or jumping, am I wrong? Not that that's particularly important, just nailing the walking is the important part.


Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:37 am
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Cross Eyed!

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Would it support running or is the friction too high/device to small?


Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:56 am
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Diamond Eyed Freakazoid!
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Wow, great progress. Nice to hear that its going to be kickstarted.
Could you please post a video using it without the harness? I know you would offer it with the harness and what is totally acceptable for me, but just for a quick demonstration.


Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:05 am
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Certif-Eyable!

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This looks really great. Being able to freely walk around in VR would be wonderful for immersion, and also good for our health.

Although I notice this device seems to interfere with half of the secret Haptic Floor™ features of the Rift, and prevent them from working, such as touching the virtual ground with your hands, or the realistic haptic falling and breaking your bones in agony sensations. But I do like the way it enhances the haptic sensation of actually walking on the ground.

I also notice that the sound of your footsteps doesn't match your actual footsteps. In a fully supported VR game, I'd like them to match, although that might be difficult if you're using sensors like the Kinect with high latency. You'd have to use prediction or a faster kind of sensor.

Unfortunately, it's size will make it expensive to produce and ship and difficult for users to store. I probably can't afford one.


Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:17 am
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Certif-Eyed!

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I have to get one :geek:

But i somehow hope that Kinect could be replaced with other stuff like Leap or the new Intel perceptive computing devices. Wouldn't the range of the Leap cover the area around your feet?


Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:16 am
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Diamond Eyed Freakazoid!
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Wow, this is a big development! I sincerely hope you the very best of luck. If the Rift takes off in a big way there'll be lots of geeks out there (like myself) just itching to start marching around in virtual worlds, and they'll need a device like this for it to be possible!

I would make one suggestion; that you integrate this with the "Half Life 2 in VR"! I know that it's not your product/software, and that the Omni will basically just be providing movement input, but I think it would really emphasise the level of immersion possible and how great the VR could be to the viewer, by having the gun be able to aim independently of where you are looking.

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Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:03 am
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Cross Eyed!

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Good luck! I can't wait to back your Kickstarter!

I agree with TheHolyChicken about the HL2 mod. Omni + Rift + independent gun tracking would be the best VR demo I can think of.


Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:27 am
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Cross Eyed!
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Could the Kinect be holstered above the player, aiming down, and be programmed to track their upper body movements?


Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:53 am
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Two Eyed Hopeful

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Best of luck, can't wait to see what comes out of this!

If the Oculus strikes it big, I'm hopeful devs will explore locomotion and support your efforts too. Will be following your progress closely :)


Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:04 am
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One Eyed Hopeful

Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:28 am
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Hi JanVR,

Don't want to be a party pooper, but I hope you've really thought this through. I mean quitting your job is a big deal, if that was your means of living. I just hope that you have your finances in order, and even if this project fails completely, then you will be ok .


Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:06 am
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Binocular Vision CONFIRMED!

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Quote:
Don't want to be a party pooper, but I hope you've really thought this through. I mean quitting your job is a big deal, if that was your means of living. I just hope that you have your finances in order, and even if this project fails completely, then you will be ok .



If you're in the US and are unemployed for more then 6 months, hiring chance plummets.


Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:20 am
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Binocular Vision CONFIRMED!

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I'll support you for sure, great work JanVR!


Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:22 am
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Cross Eyed!

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That looks like some good progress, Jan! Were these mostly software improvements since last time?

Very cool to hear that the new prototype is underway, too! I'm looking forward to seeing that and the new shoes. :)

Edit: I wanted to say that I love the name choice and am looking forward to supporting your Kickstarter in any way that I can. :) You know me, though. I'm a very "nail the fundamentals first" kind of guy. Here's hoping you can make a big splash!


Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:24 am
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Binocular Vision CONFIRMED!

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Great work Jan!!! Words can't express how excited I am. This is the greatest thing since the Rift :)

I like the name you chose, and I'm very glad you'll be offering it at cost via Kickstarter. As some mentioned, pairing this with the HL2 VR mod for independent aiming would certainly attract more backers. Thanks for showing use the 3D render of the Omni. It would also be interesting to see the shoe/sole/pin design. Perhaps we can help you with recommendations for improving the device. Some people have mentioned using a Leap Motion sensor instead of a Kinect, which might be a good idea.


Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:39 am
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Cross Eyed!
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HOLY SH*T
do it. Launch it. I'm buying. I don't even care.

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Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:38 pm
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Cross Eyed!
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will definitely buy it :woot


Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:16 pm
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Binocular Vision CONFIRMED!

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Make sure the inner sides are extremely well padded, probably will be some pressure there.


Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:21 pm
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Cross Eyed!

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Thanks all for the feedback and encouragements. With regards to some of the questions:

Elmatarife: the waist ring assembly will definitely be collapsible or disassemble-able; should allow for easy disassembly and storage

Mindless: the waist support assembly will need to support a wide range of waist sizes; jumping on the Omni is possible, albeit not very high (see my non-game demo on the Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upuYGT2l32w ); crouching will have to be emulated by hunching over (crouching is tough to reconcile in a cost effective way with an assembly that needs to prevent you from going down)

Paladia: running is possible on the Omni – see the non-game demo on the Youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upuYGT2l32w

Colocolo: a demo without the harness can be found in the first post of the prior thread: viewtopic.php?f=140&t=16294

Bill: thanks! You’ll have to try the new prototype when ready

Zoide: I do not have any renderings yet of the shoe sole, and am still playing around with the sole configuration – to come soon

Dante: the Kinect currently tracks the full body movement of the user

Definitely a good call regarding the Leap – any alternative tracking options can be used. The main advantage of the Kinect is that it tracks the full body, allowing for recognition of jumping, crouching, hand movements, etc. But, the Kinect is not flawless yet. Actually, Brantlew’s Red Rovr system, using inertial sensors, works really well - consistent and accurate (and cheap, for that matter).

I will look into the HL2 mod – that would be a killer demo indeed. I will keep everyone posted on this thread.

Jan

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Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:30 pm
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Golden Eyed Wiseman! (or woman!)
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JanVR: Are you going to make the Kickstarter kit a DIY assembly from shipped parts? Otherwise postage could kill this project fear. I am in Australia and I REALLY want one :)

I believe keeping the size of this device to a minimum will be a big key to success. For both the shipped parts and the overall unit for easy storage.

Cant wait. Good times ahead.

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Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:17 pm
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Petrif-Eyed
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JanVR wrote:
Actually, Brantlew’s Red Rovr system, using inertial sensors, works really well - consistent and accurate (and cheap, for that matter).


Just to clear up any confusion here. Both Jan and Flassan use a rough prototype "stationary-only" version of the Red Rovr software. As Jan pointed out, it's not as functional as the Kinect, but it suffers from less latency and is simpler to setup - being just a phone in your pocket in the simplest case.

I just wanted to mention here that head trackers like the one contained in the Rift also contain inertial sensors - so in theory you could write motion detection software (similar to Red Rovr) using just the hardware in the Rift and eliminate external devices like the Kinect.

@Jan & Flassan: as hardware-only these passive walking devices are only useful to a handful of enthusiasts. To increase the value of your products and to reach a much broader market, I think you should seriously consider investing in and adding a major software component to your packages. The Rift would be in the same category if not for the Oculus SDK which allows studios (instead of just hobbyists) to integrate with the device.


Last edited by brantlew on Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:46 pm
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