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 Envisioning a DIY CyberCarpet for Omnidirectional Motion 
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Petrif-Eyed
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@mAchiNE: All of the systems we have been talking about so far have the same direction of motion problem. Whether its bearing or rollers or treadmills or spheres, the direction of "device" spinning does not directly correlate to the characters direction of motion because like you said - they may be facing any direction and/or running backwards or sideways. So the "device" rotation is only meaningful relative to the direction the character is facing.

The simplest thing to do I guess is just to track the characters head orientation and compare that to the device direction of motion. That will tell the motion is forward (in the same direction as the head), sideways (at a right angle to the head), etc... This would need to be a custom piece of software to compare the two motion vectors and map it to a game command.

I'm not sure what the best way to track the ball would be. The hardware solution would be to use sensors on the casters, and the software solution would be to track an optical pattern or magnetic beacons on the ball. Unfortunately the player is obscured by the ball so optical tracking is "out" for the player. I guess you would need one of the magnetic/gyroscopic solutions like the Vuzix.


Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:25 pm
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perhaps a tracker mounted to the users hips would provide a better source of direction to compare with the sphere's direction, as tracking from the head or aiming device may not accurately reflect the direction you are traveling in and if we are needing custom software then it should not be much harder to add in an extra tracker should it?

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:41 pm
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I was thinking about the inflatable sphere myself. But, the same walking-on-ice situation that a few other methods provided wold be an issue and would require a harness. Not impossible inside the dome, but other VR solutions that feel like walking on ice are easier.

The VR sphere's own weight is probably a big benefit for keeping your balance. You don' t need to react nearly a fast to keep upright.

For making the fiberglass dome, Wouldn't you just make two molds, one hex and the other a pentagon in the standard soccer ball arrangement? Also, shouldn't your mold be concave, so that your smooth surface is on the outside? This would probably preclude using an inflatable structure as the mold. But, cutting a negative curve is easy. Get a block of foam, and then suspend a dremel from a string on the ceiling. The string keeps the Dremel the correct distance away.

Vacuum shaping may be more economical than fiberglass, even if it isn't something you really do at home for things this big. I was surprised how cheap a "pull" was at a local sign maker. Urethane foam is fine as a mold material. To keep the finish smooth, they can pull a very thin plastic over the mold that is kept on their permanently.

For structural strength, the honeycomb nature of the commercial VR sphere may be part of their great design. An inner and outer surface separated by an inch or more, makes the shape MUCH stronger than a similar total amount of material would be without that separation.

Perhaps vacuum forming could still be used, by creating the inside area with a waffle-like surface., and then the outside being smooth. The two could be glued together. I've seen plastic folding tables that use a similar concept for the table top.

For support, how about a bowl-shaped base with air blowing in through holes like an air-hockey game. With this support concept, you don't need the sphere to be as strong as you would with rollers.

I noticed that in the Engadget demo a few message back, the guy gets in and out with the VR goggles on. This means he can see the floor at least. So, he has visual clues to help him keep balance and control. Perhaps this is the key to why users can so easily keep from falling. His walking pace probably also helps. Does anyone know if the commercial VR sphere has computer controlled brakes on the support wheels to prevent that roll-back issue I mentioned before?

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:53 pm
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The tracking for inside a ball (or any other method discussed) would not be difficult. I think the easiest and cheapest method would be to use a good headtracker (and always assume the head and body are facing the same direction) and then use a Wiimote with pedometer built-in (or script this yourself). This could all be with off-the-shelf hardware and available software (ie GlovePIE).

For more detailed and custom software you could use a method a heard about at a meetup. This dude was working on a system that would allow for full skeletal tracking using only gyroscopes. Basically a tracker would be placed at all key areas of the body, in our case, the hip, the thigh, lower leg, and foot. Using forward kinematics, its possible to recreate a skeleton from that data (similar to what the Kinect outputs). Then we could feed that into some custom software which would detect things like "walk", "run", "jump", "duck", "strafe left" etc. No I am not suggesting this would be easy, but its certainly within reason. Capable trackers (gyros) could be bought for around $50 a piece, so for just the lower body would get around $350 plus whatever parts you needed to interface with the computer. So possibly under $500 for the lower body. I guess you could go crazy and just build a whole suit for $1000 and that would be all the tracking you would ever need.

But something that is more realistic and affordable would just be to attach a 3-axis accelerometer to each foot and use the relative motion vector between the feet to determine the desired action. This would be very affordable and much easier to program than the other solution. You might even be able to use two Wiimotes and GlovePIE if you did not have the option of custom software. So this is seeming more realistic, but I guess this thread is not necessarily about what is realistic.

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:41 pm
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mAchiNE wrote:
perhaps a tracker mounted to the users hips would provide a better source of direction to compare with the sphere's direction, as tracking from the head or aiming device may not accurately reflect the direction you are traveling in and if we are needing custom software then it should not be much harder to add in an extra tracker should it?


Only if there is some reason for accurately modeling the form of locomotion that the player is using.

Take strafing for example...from the players perspective you basically just see the world moving sideways. Now in the real world this effect can be achieved in multiple ways. I can run straight while turning my head sideways or I can cross my legs and actually run sideways, etc... This doesn't matter though in the game world. Sideways movement (strafing) is defined purely as motion perpendicular to the head direction. So in that sense we are modeling motion just like the game with the head vector being the only one that matters.

Now if you throw in independent head and torso, then it does matter. Running with my head sideways SHOULD make my character move faster than running sideways - so you better differentiate between these two forms of locomotion so you can tell the game how fast the character is going. The other way it could matter is if you want to accurately portray the players movements to other players. But I doubt few if any games concern themselves with these details. FPS games are not simulations, so they they just lock the head and torso together and keep things simple.


Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:50 pm
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I have used a Virtusphere before, and I really disliked it. Even at slow speeds, you always feel offbalance, and higher speeds are impossible. You do get a feel for it where you can use it, but I was never able to lose sight of the fact that I was, in fact, standing inside a big rolling ball.

As far as making one out of fiberglass, it would be extremely hard. I actually have a lot of experience with fiberglass (I worked at a sailing center for two years at one point, and sailed small boats as a kid. I learned how to make and repair fiberglass hulls), and making a perfect sphere would be MADDENING. It cannot just be a rough sphere, it would be to be a perfect one! And even if you could, the weight would be enormous. The Virtusphere is made of lightweight plastic, and weighs 285lbs! :shock: That is a lot of weight to get moving, and a lot of weight to stop, too. I don't want to totally dismiss the idea, but I was not satisfied with a Virtusphere.

Although... I want to try out one of of those inflatable balls now. Call me crazy, but it seems to me that you could use a small kiddy pool to support it! :lol: You would run out of air pretty fast, though...

Another thing: I am realizing that strafing directly to the side is something that you almost never do in real life. Try it yourself, it is hard! We only do it in videogames because it is so easy, but real life strafing does not feel natural at all.


Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:11 pm
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Although... I want to try out one of of those inflatable balls now. Call me crazy, but it seems to me that you could use a small kiddy pool to support it! You would run out of air pretty fast, though...

Just add a small diver oxygen tank to your backpack and you'll get a few hours of air ;)

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Another thing: I am realizing that strafing directly to the side is something that you almost never do in real life. Try it yourself, it is hard! We only do it in videogames because it is so easy, but real life strafing does not feel natural at all.

I Agree, we probably dont need a DIY system to be able to do this at all, even without strafing the immersion of omnidirectional walking will be amazing I think.
I think real life strafing is more just walking diagonally while facing fowards, not strafing directly to the side

its interesting how may designs this thread has gone over.

So anyone here going to build one of these ideas? ;)

I'd give one a go but I still need to put together a mobile gaming rig to use on it first! (all I have so far is a Wiimote and a half finished recoil system :| )

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Last edited by mAchiNE on Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:17 pm
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mAchiNE wrote:
So anyone here going to build one of these ideas? ;)

I don't think I will actually build one of these, but I hope to write the software for whoever does.

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:21 pm
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cadcoke5 wrote:
For making the fiberglass dome, Wouldn't you just make two molds, one hex and the other a pentagon in the standard soccer ball arrangement? Also, shouldn't your mold be concave, so that your smooth surface is on the outside?


Only if can create convex pentagon and hex. Otherwise your ball is not really spherical and won't roll as nicely. But why go through the headache of precision stitching these pieces together when you can just directly create the shape you want?

I thought about the smoothness of molding fiberglass on the outside. I'm not sure it matters that much with large casters. The ones I saw being used looked like those giant medical size casters which should have quite a tolerance to a few millimeters of texture. If you needed it smooth you could always mold in two stages - plaster cast the sphere first, cut in half, then lay the fiberglass on the inside.

cadcoke5 wrote:
For structural strength, the honeycomb nature of the commercial VR sphere may be part of their great design.


I almost feel like they are over-engineered. A spherical structure is inherently good at supporting its own weight. I don't have much frame of reference though. Does anyone know how heavy a fiberglass structure this big would be?


Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:22 pm
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And if we are going to be talking about wacky ideas, what about DIYing this:



I mean, I don't want VR so I can just walk around. I want to fly like Neo in the Matrix!!!

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:26 pm
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PalmerTech wrote:
Another thing: I am realizing that strafing directly to the side is something that you almost never do in real life. Try it yourself, it is hard! We only do it in videogames because it is so easy, but real life strafing does not feel natural at all.


Ha ha! I came to that same conclusion. Strafing is a total video game invention and does not really match any normal form of locomotion that a real person would engage in except at really slow creeping speeds. (Same goes for bunny hopping, circle straffing) Many of the techniques that hard-core gamers use would be useless if you actually had a true VR setup that captured body movement and a game that supported it.


Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:29 pm
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mAchiNE wrote:
So anyone here going to build one of these ideas? ;)


If I had a university grant for VR research - sure ;) But they all seem too high risk for hobbyists.

I bought a Kinect last week, so I would like to do some work matching gesture-like movements to game controls. (ie. walk in place = W, etc). Not very sexy compared to all the exotic motion control we have been discussing, but in terms of price, simplicity, accessibility, and game support it's hard to beat.

Edit: I take that back. I can imagine trying the unidirectional manual treadmill + Kinect idea. It wouldn't take much time or money so I wouldn't mind failing.


Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:47 pm
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brantlew wrote:
I bought a Kinect last week, so I would like to do some work matching gesture-like movements to game controls. (ie. walk in place = W, etc). Not very sexy compared to all the exotic motion control we have been discussing, but in terms of price, simplicity, accessibility, and game support it's hard to beat.


I've seen setups like that on youtube, definately a good starting point! you can replicate all needed motions for the game controls using Kinect (walking, running, crouching, prone, jumping, stabing, reloading etc) then you just need a Wiimote or similar to aim and shoot and analogue stick to control movement. very cost effective and only thing its missing is actual directional movement instead you just run on the spot etc

see here ( he does not use running on the spot for movement though but it is possible because it is done in kinect sports)



also kinect can be used with voice recognition for some pretty cool menu navigation etc:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eo5LPOh_pX4&feature=related[/youtube]

here's an example using walking on the spot to control character movement:


the 2nd 2 videos are using gestures to aim as well, persionally i'd still use the wiimote or similar for that as I think it'd be more accurate and having a physical gun controller in your hand would feel a lot more realistic

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Last edited by mAchiNE on Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:01 pm
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brantlew wrote:
Does anyone know how heavy a fiberglass structure this big would be?


It depends entirely on how thick you make it. The lightest weight would be no lower than 300lbs, from my rough calculations (Based off how much the boat hulls I worked on weighed), but I am not sure how durable it would be. A common thing we would see with boats using thin fiberglass like that would be people who capsize (flip over) the boat accidentally, then stupidly climb on top of the bottom of the hull. That is, at best, bad for the hull (bends it), and at worst, would result in cracks or punctures. It could support your weight just fine if it was floating on water, but air is another matter! Using more solid fiberglass would easily put you at 500lbs+.

And if Cyber is up for helping me with the software, then I am definitely aiming to build some manner of ODT!

As far as flying goes, I think that could actually be done with an ODT+harness, sort off. So weird that my childhood is turning out to be useful, but my sailing experience is actually relevant here! :lol: There is a company called "Harken" that makes very high quality, low friction ropes, pulley, and cleat systems for sailboats, and you can use them to make very nifty rope gearing systems. We usually used 5:1 ratio pulleys, so for every pound of force you pull with, you can pull 5lbs. Most of the pulleys are rated at hundreds of pounds of force, and should have no problem lifting a person off the ground!

The way I see it, you would have a harness like the one I posted earlier in the thread. Attached to it would be the main harness points (Above your shoulders), and a secondary one attached on the back of your waist. Whenever you jump off the ODT, the main harness could lift your entire body up just an inch or two for as long as the in-game jump lasted, then drop you back down in sync with the game. The fun part? Jump into the air with hands forward and body tilted, have a Kinect recognize this, then have the secondary harness reel itself in, tilting your body parallel to the ground. :P You would probably be using mostly rope, with some very stiff shock cords for the last foot or so, to cushion the pulling motions.

Actually, come to think of it, just the jumping/flying system could probably be built for just a few hundred dollars! Do you think that would make an appreciable difference for even your current backtop system, Cyber? I have not tried 360 turning/joystick yet, I plan on doing so soon, though.

@Machine: Wow, that is one of the best uses of the FAAST systems I have seen in the enthusiast space. We use FAAST for the Kinect experiments at my workplace, our coders have extolled the virtues of it many times over.


Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:07 pm
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Yes indeed an as I already have a Kinect and now that I have seen that kinect is suitable for tracking 360deg skeletal movement (as in the ultimate BattleField 3 simulator)I think I will first get together a portable gaming rig/backpack laptop system similar to Cybers, but with SONY HMD, Wiimote and Kinect I think the total effect of all these things combined will give a very good and cost effective VR experience at home that anyone should be able to replicate! and I like the idea of takling your way through the menus! :D

then when my bank acc recovers from that abuse I will look into makeing one of these OD platforms ;)

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Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:20 pm
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Strafing in real life would be like running forward while shooting to your left/right. It is doable if we can have a way to measure head and gun position relative to body. Example running forward while looking left/right will activate strafing (D if looking left while running forward and A if looking left while walking backward).


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Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:15 am
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I assume that the strafe motion (A,D) in most video games travels slower than the W command. So it kinda sucks that we have to map running full speed and looking left to the slower strafe motion - but there really is no other solution it seems.

The best thing would be if the game was developed with "hooks" in it for you to supply your own analog position and motions vectors instead of discrete motion commands. Then it really doesn't matter what you are doing with your feet. There is no "strafe". There is just movement direction, speed, and head orientation. Maybe the games that support analog stick have better support for this type of thing. Anybody know of games with this type of customization?


Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:15 pm
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For me, the best way to simulate movement in a game would be to track the full body in real time as they did for the Battlefied 3 immersive project, but to use the limbs position directly as the base skeletal animation for the player model. This way you would have your avatar move exactly the way you move, without the need to use artificial kind of movements like constant walking/running speed, strafing, etc.

That would still suppose a way to physically emulate real walking, running, jumping or crouching using one of the existing technologies like omnidirectional treadmills, powered shoes or robotic arms for movement emulation.

The movement emulation wouldn't have to be perfect even, some kind of gesture mapping could be done to augment walking/running speed for example, based on physically plausible real-world movement.

The must would evidently be to use non-invasive brain computer interfaces to directly move the virtual limbs, but I guess it's not going to be possible in a near future. Invasive interfaces should work better for now, but the idea to have something in my brain just for gaming does'nt appeal me much.

Doing that in existing games should be pretty difficult though, but not unfeasible I think.


Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:11 pm
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If you could calculate the walking speed effectively somehow, you could map it to analog input in games. Heck, you could even have it be slightly different speeds at different points in the step, just like a real life gait.


Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:19 pm
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Quite right, that sounds like a more sensible approach for now, didn't think about that.


Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:59 pm
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PalmerTech wrote:
If you could calculate the walking speed effectively somehow, you could map it to analog input in games. Heck, you could even have it be slightly different speeds at different points in the step, just like a real life gait.


There may still be some movement caps that are used even in stick analog games. For example maybe analog forward can range from 0-10 where as analog sideways can only range from 0-4. Better, but not as good as being able to supply unbounded motion vectors.

A funny consequence of mapping movement 1:1 is that player speeds might be capped by their actual physical abilities - just like in real life. So the irony is that all those geeks that grew up getting plowed over in gym class would now again get plowed in their video games. :lol: I guess there's a limit to how "real" people want a game.


Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:05 pm
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Actually, in most games I have played, sideways movement is the same speed as forward speed. So is backwards speed! In fact, in some earlier games, you could run faster diagonally than in any other direction. Look up "strafe running". :lol:


Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:19 pm
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brantlew wrote:
A funny consequence of mapping movement 1:1 is that player speeds might be capped by their actual physical abilities - just like in real life. So the irony is that all those geeks that grew up getting plowed over in gym class would now again get plowed in their video games. :lol: I guess there's a limit to how "real" people want a game.
That could be nice and force couch potatoes to do some exercise to improve their playing abilities. But it could also be possible to define a max speed for each limb rotation and scale real movements from 0 to these max speeds to not create disadvantages. That would probably need some sort of calibration though, so that faster guys don't always run in game, even when walking in real life.

I still like this idea of almost 1:1 mapping since it would handle crouching or leaning in a more realistic manner. The same for throwing nades or jumping, which has often been painful in my gaming experience.


Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:10 pm
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I would prefer that turning and walking is faster in game compare to real life as this would provide a sense of super human strength without overexertion. I agree crouching should be map 1:1 but so far games only provide 3 positions. Personally, game should be fun and I want all the advantage in multiplayer game. It's not fun always getting your ass shoot.


Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:02 pm
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I actually did attempt walking in place with my wearable setup. It did add something for immersion. Not so much because of what I was doing with my feet, but because now the headtracking was swaying in a realistic manner. I did feel a bit silly knowing that nothing was really tracking my leg movement, but it was an interesting experiment. Certainly worth exploring more, but it also left a lot to be desired.

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:40 pm
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@pierreye
well a setup like this is almost always going to be a disadvantage in multiplayer.... you have to react for real vs somone who just has to move their finger a few mm, and 1:1 turning vs moving a mouse an inch for 360deg spin! (heck even 2:1 movement will still probably not beat KB/Mouse) this is why its so hard for most people to leave their KB/Mouse behind for newer input tech.

This kind of setup will at first be best (at least for FPS MMORPG may be different story) used in single player/ co-op campaign modes or Multipayer VS againt other with a similar setup

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:44 pm
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cybereality wrote:
I actually did attempt walking in place with my wearable setup. It did add something for immersion. Not so much because of what I was doing with my feet, but because now the headtracking was swaying in a realistic manner. I did feel a bit silly knowing that nothing was really tracking my leg movement, but it was an interesting experiment. Certainly worth exploring more, but it also left a lot to be desired.


Were you sing the walking on the spot action to activate character movement in game? (it sounds like you were not) If not then the immersion might be much better if you were (using kinect or pedometer or similar)

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:47 pm
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mAchiNE wrote:
Were you sing the walking on the spot action to activate character movement in game? (it sounds like you were not) If not then the immersion might be much better if you were (using kinect or pedometer or similar)

No, I was using a analog stick (nunchuk) to move. The real life walking was just for fun. Of course if it were actually tied to the movement the immersion factor would be greater. I did some tests like this with the 1200VR, before I got my mouse emulator working. I would just carefully move my head and the mouse at the same time. And it was not nearly as immersive as true headtracking, but it gave me an idea. So yes, I think there is more to explore here.

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:52 pm
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Ahh I though that might be the case, even though the movement matches I guess the brain knows its actually your thumb causing it not your feet.

I think for a backtop system a wireless pedometer might be the best option over kinect (may be less accurate but easiear to add to the system and no space limitations so you could go run around on a big flat field somewhere and not be limited by the range of the kinect)

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:56 pm
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The Kinect would also get a little more complex for a backtop system as you would need an additional stationary computer and then the software would need to be networked wirelessly. Not totally unreasonable, but adding that many layers will surely introduce some lag. Though I am kind of liking the idea of the Kinect (and I have been looking for a good excuse to buy one). Hmm....

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 7:09 pm
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I like the Kinect also. The pedometer only gives you one action - move forward. The Kinect gives you variety. I am anxious to work with it, but I sense that others are going to beat me to it (Cyber). Here's a quick stab at some movements that I was thinking might work for a control scheme.

- walk in place = move forward
- one leg back + walk in place = move backward
- the pace of walking would indicate speed
- the head direction would indicate head and gun orientation (tracked by secondary tracker to increase precision)
- the direction of the hips would indicate direction of movement
- in this scheme, diagonal or sideways movement could be accomplished by facing diagonally or at right angle and keeping head straight
- alternatively, crossing one leg over the other and walking in place would also trigger sideways movement
- taking one large step to right or left would trigger a single step strafe (for peering around corners)
- crouching = crouch (potentially head height could be mapped 1:1 with head height in game)
- laydown = prone
- jump = jump

This is just for basic movement. I'm sure there a bunch of other motions for things like reload, switch gun, menu system, etc that I have not accounted for.


Wed Oct 26, 2011 7:54 pm
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couldn't you just use wireless USB for adding kinect to a backtop system? would just mean that you are limited to the kinects FOV for your VR space (i.e. running on the spot vs walking around in a large space)

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:32 pm
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I took a brief look at FAAST and it seems to have a lot of gestures regarding leaning. If this could be combined with the walking, that would be pretty useful. For example, walking in place normal would be walk forward, but if you leaned back also then it would be walk backwards. Stopping and simply leaning left or right could be strafe, and side lean while walking in place would make a diagonal walk. Of course jump would be jump, and duck, etc.

@mAchiNE: Yeah, I guess you could use some sort of wireless USB hub. But then you have to find/make a battery pack for that thing to plug into (which I guess would be easy considering other stuff discussed in this thread).

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:39 pm
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@Cyber
maybe this would work:
http://www.belkin.com/networkusbhub/
converts usb devices to network devices, then you plug it into a wireless router and stream the data to you backtop over wifi. Don't know how it interfaces so not 100% sure it will work with kinect but a good option to look into

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:45 pm
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Don't forget this for walking in place: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5-NNzaL_1g


Wed Oct 26, 2011 10:29 pm
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mAchiNE wrote:
I think for a backtop system a wireless pedometer might be the best option over kinect (may be less accurate but easiear to add to the system and no space limitations so you could go run around on a big flat field somewhere and not be limited by the range of the kinect)


I dismissed that idea at first but thinking about it more - it gives me another crazy idea. Does anybody know if there is something out there like a magnetic proximity sensor with centimeter accuracy and a range of half a meter? What if you could put some type of sensors (or magnets) on the toe and heel of your shoes so that the relative positions of your feet to each other could be triangulated. Combine that information with a pedometer type device on each shoe so you know which foot is stepping and you could roughly approximate the gait, direction, and tempo of your feet and compute a movement vector.

So then you just need a large space like a soccer field and a backtop and you're in business. No fake gestures necessary because you would just actually run around the space. You would need to recalibrate every once in a while when you moved to the edge of the field, but for large chunks of virtual space you could just move naturally.

Another similar but simpler idea...what about wearing an optical sensor pointed straight towards the ground and basically turning yourself into a giant optical mouse running on a giant mouse pad?

And while I'm on a roll - and even simpler idea. Maybe you could just stick an optical camera on a tall pole and plant it at the edge of the field. Then wear a big refective hat or a light source and have the camera compute your position on the field and transmit to your backtop.

Anybody want to look like a huge dork running around in public with VR gear on? :D


Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:53 pm
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PalmerTech wrote:
Don't forget this for walking in place: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5-NNzaL_1g


can be used for actually running around as well as running in place

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:59 pm
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brantlew wrote:
Another similar but simpler idea...what about wearing an optical sensor pointed straight towards the ground and basically turning yourself into a giant optical mouse running on a giant mouse pad?

Anybody want to look like a huge dork running around in public with VR gear on? :D


Haha that might actually work! maybe even just using a camera

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Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:05 am
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brantlew wrote:
mAchiNE wrote:
I think for a backtop system a wireless pedometer might be the best option over kinect (may be less accurate but easiear to add to the system and no space limitations so you could go run around on a big flat field somewhere and not be limited by the range of the kinect)


I dismissed that idea at first but thinking about it more - it gives me another crazy idea. Does anybody know if there is something out there like a magnetic proximity sensor with centimeter accuracy and a range of half a meter? What if you could put some type of sensors (or magnets) on the toe and heel of your shoes so that the relative positions of your feet to each other could be triangulated. Combine that information with a pedometer type device on each shoe so you know which foot is stepping and you could roughly approximate the gait, direction, and tempo of your feet and compute a movement vector.

So then you just need a large space like a soccer field and a backtop and you're in business. No fake gestures necessary because you would just actually run around the space. You would need to recalibrate every once in a while when you moved to the edge of the field, but for large chunks of virtual space you could just move naturally.

Another similar but simpler idea...what about wearing an optical sensor pointed straight towards the ground and basically turning yourself into a giant optical mouse running on a giant mouse pad?

And while I'm on a roll - and even simpler idea. Maybe you could just stick an optical camera on a tall pole and plant it at the edge of the field. Then wear a big refective hat or a light source and have the camera compute your position on the field and transmit to your backtop.

Anybody want to look like a huge dork running around in public with VR gear on? :D


I actually wanted to try this as it was the best "trial" method i could come up with. In my HMD thread i mention that once i got the head tracking and gun tracking working with the large FOV HMD you just burn to be able to physically walk around in a virtual world because walking around with the nunchuck joystick kills the fun. I actually thought about the camera pointed at ground option but didn't have the skills to do the software. It would be awesome to try but you need friends around to stop you walking into things and stop you getting beat up for being a geek :)



Back to the sphere.... I go on and off these idea's by the hour as my inspiration waxes and wanes through the day but looking at that sight again...

https://www.playdomes.com/order.php?u=4 ... cs2=0&sh=0

4 x 8 ft Play Dome $149

Image

Buying 2x 4 feet domes gives you an 8 feet ball and just ask that the 'equatorial' joiners be the 6 pipe type full ones instead of 4 pipe type floor ones so you can make the full sphere with standard parts. If the sphere isn't perfect, just cutting the length of the pipes would 'tune' the shape.

Once we have the sphere we need to make it smooth to roll on casters or... use 4 long rollers as a base in a square configuration. This should hold it stable, reduce drag from small wheels and provide 4 great sensor speed points if required. Hell, they could even be motorised to match walking gesture speed if you want to go crazy and eliminate rotating mass problems.

That sphere may just rotate on large enough rollers as it is without making a smooth shell. The next problem to solve is the holes so we can walk in it. I had an idea to use cheap light galvanised 'furring channel' or similar and just cut and rivet filler pieces between the pipe of the ball until the gaps are small enough as to not fall or trip though.

Mmkay shoot it down :)

Edit-

1. Those domes do not look like a full 180 semi circle so a custom centre might need to be added between. Not so hard but adds to cost and effort.
2. The strength of the structure comes from external force and may be more prone to distort from internal force, may need extra riveting.
3. Drilling multiple holes along the pipes to fix boards or channels as fillers would weaken the pipes which would be a under a lot of stress where you stand on them.

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Last edited by Okta on Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:38 am, edited 3 times in total.



Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:57 am
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Petrif-Eyed
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Okta wrote:
It would be awesome to try but you need friends around to stop you walking into things and stop you getting beat up for being a geek :)


If your bounds were well defined (ie. a soccer field) then the software could just darken your HMD display as you approached the boundary and turn off the display if you crossed out of bounds. Maybe the game could automatically be paused as well. You would need a quick way to recalibrate ("turn around") so that it didn't disturb your play too much.

Okta wrote:
Once we have the sphere we need to make is smooth for casters or... use 4 long rollers as a base in a square configuration.


Doesn't seem like it would roll smoothly at diagonal angles - especially if the sphere itself is geodesic and not smooth.


Last edited by brantlew on Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:39 am, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:24 am
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