Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by brantlew »

colocolo wrote:thats very cool. i knew where i could use it.
if u turn around 10 times on a soccer field u could walk for a km. the immersion would be very nice. imagine runnig away with top speed from a monster when u ran out of ammunition.... :o .
it would be cool if there will be some kind of Virtual Reality Theme Parks. with halls full of omnidirectional treadmills where u pay 10 dollars for an hour and big open courts on which u fight against other gamers.
I haven't calculated how far I walk, but I sometimes go for several kilometers on the field. Running would be cool but you would really want some compact, ruggedized hardware like a smart phone instead of a backpack and laptop to do that. Plus you would need to significantly increase the size of the play area to accommodate the increased player speed. But it would be a great way to exercise. It would be ironic if hard-core video gaming could make you physically fit. :)

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by colocolo »

it would be so cool if u did a 2 hour workout and game.
i am currently looking for a used treadmill at ebay.
i also will buy an arduino controller. i will try to control the motor by foot contact.
if you raise one foot it would automatically start to move. if u put both down it will stop.
sounds very easy.... :D
for moving left and right i would use the nunchuk controller on a wii gun.
later i could locate the peak of the gun with Leap Motion.

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by brantlew »

Sounds good. You and zalo can probably share ideas for treadmill control.

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by Zaptruder »

brantlew wrote:
colocolo wrote:thats very cool. i knew where i could use it.
if u turn around 10 times on a soccer field u could walk for a km. the immersion would be very nice. imagine runnig away with top speed from a monster when u ran out of ammunition.... :o .
it would be cool if there will be some kind of Virtual Reality Theme Parks. with halls full of omnidirectional treadmills where u pay 10 dollars for an hour and big open courts on which u fight against other gamers.
I haven't calculated how far I walk, but I sometimes go for several kilometers on the field. Running would be cool but you would really want some compact, ruggedized hardware like a smart phone instead of a backpack and laptop to do that. Plus you would need to significantly increase the size of the play area to accommodate the increased player speed. But it would be a great way to exercise. It would be ironic if hard-core video gaming could make you physically fit. :)
The real irony is in 50 years, people will be thinking how mad it was that we had to sit around and twiddle gamepads to play our games, getting fatter and fatter doing it.

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by TheLookingGlass »

Just read through this post & wanted to say that I am blown away by FriiSpace!! Very exciting work. I can't wait to try this one day soon.

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by brantlew »

Thanks for the encouragement.

I haven't really updated in a while, but I have been hard at work on the project. After QuakeCon, I decided to design the system specifically for the Rift and have spent the last couple of months reworking and optimizing for that platform. Designing for a specific hardware platform has really helped solve some issues I was having with the older design and the performance is getting better and better each month. I get a pre-kickstarter Rift in November and I am anxious do the final integration. But I'm a little nervous because it's either going to be the most nauseating activity you can do with a Rift, or it will be the most immersive experience that you can have outside of a military installation.

Right now I am wrapping up a major round of improvements, so I can send some private demo kits out to a couple of forum members at the end of this month. And then I need to rewrite and polish the prototype software as a professional application. So the goal is still to release the product shortly after the Rift. Maybe in December, but most likely at the start of the next year.

I also want to film another set of in-game videos soon so people can better understand what it's like. I am a huge advocate for natural motion systems now. I feel like they complete and amplify the experience a lot. Notice that the Oculus guys often have to seat or restrain the players because the tendency to start moving is so strong. So that's what I'm trying to offer - the ability to just naturally follow your instincts. But I am having a hard time convincing anyone (even in this VR forum), that it's worth it to go out and try this.

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by FingerFlinger »

There is definitely a scaling problem with this technology. Once VR is mega-popular, we clearly can't have everybody running around soccer fields; there aren't enough of them. But until that point, this will be the best omni-motion solution available to the average person.

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by brantlew »

One of the things that I want to experiment with before release is scaled turning to see how much I can comfortably reduce the playing field. It's still going to be a big area. I suspect that a basketball court will be too small, but you might be able to squeeze it into 2 side-by-side basketball courts (or roughly 100' x 100'). That is only partially helpful I realize, but any amount you can reduce the playing field opens up more options for people.

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by FingerFlinger »

I suspect that you can train the player to accept more aggressive turning as they become used to the setup, also. Perhaps you could globally scale the "turning factor" with the amount of time they've spent playing, up to maximum level, or at least allow user adjustments.

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by cadcoke5 »

brantlew said:
I get a pre-kickstarter Rift in November and I am anxious do the final integration. But I'm a little nervous because it's either going to be the most nauseating activity you can do with a Rift, or it will be the most immersive experience that you can have outside of a military installation.
I know this is a challenge with VR... everything has to be right, or it is useless.

One way to address some weakness in a system is to accept a less complicated set-up. I have always thought that one way to address the issue of trying to allow someone to walk, is to give up walking for the idea of riding a vehicle. An electric mobility scooter can become an ATV you are riding, or even a tank.

I wonder if it would be safer to use a mobility scooter than actually walking. This way you don't fall down if your sense of balance is upset for any reason.

Note that I am suggesting only that you keep this scooter idea in mind as you design your system. This is so that you don't accidentally prevent this sort of system as a fall back because of some sort of technical limitation. For example, if your system depends upon foot steps to allow someone to advance, can you turn that feature off?. It also may benefit those who have disabilities if they can use a scooter.

This next comment is more speculative. A future alternative system may depend upon stationary simulators. Things like the car simulators. It would be good for your system to integrate with those as well. I am not sure what sort of data exchange would be needed.

I guess what I am getting at with the last few comments is that your software would ideally allow for input about the type of system it is being used with. E.g. Free Walking, Walking in place, Moving vehicle, Stationary Vehicle. Are there other categories?

Joe Dunfee

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by Fredz »

cadcoke5 wrote:I guess what I am getting at with the last few comments is that your software would ideally allow for input about the type of system it is being used with. E.g. Free Walking, Walking in place, Moving vehicle, Stationary Vehicle. Are there other categories?
Flying (wingsuit), swimming, crawling (military FPS), running, falling (BASE jump), etc. :)

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by brantlew »

@cadcoke5: That's funny. I was just thinking about a stationary mode today after looking closer at the Wizdish. I think my motion software and that device could complement each other well since I handle the separation of torso and head. That's something that I have not seen yet in the Wizdish demos. I haven't thought about vehicles but I don't see any reason it couldn't be done. In fact, the problem is simpler because there would less noise in the signal.

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by brantlew »

A small update. One of the things that will be great about the Rift is that game developers will combine the analog motion controls of the XBox 360 Controller with the absolute coordinate head tracking of the Rift. Up till now, I had to choose to interface the game with either the mouse/keyboard or the XBox 360 (but never both simultaneously). Mouse emulation offers fairly accurate 1:1 head motion but the WASD keys only allow for 8 discrete directions. This makes motion in the game a bit clunky sometimes and can ruin the illusion of control - especially if your head is just slightly off center as you are walking. It feels like the character is drunk sometimes. The XBox 360 Controller on the other hand has analog direction control, but the head motion is velocity based and so very difficult to synchronize properly with your real head. Here is a video demonstrating the difference between the two interfaces. Here, I kept the head vector fixed to demonstrate directional motion, but the same issues apply if the body vector is fixed and the head is moving (looking around while walking).

[youtube-hd]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTs-sl2w-h8[/youtube-hd]

But now with the Rift, I can get the best of both worlds. Perfect control of the head along with analog control of the motion vector. This should make Rift-enabled games operate much smoother than unsupported games. Unfortunately for games that do not directly support the Rift, I will probably default to WASD and you will have to deal with a somewhat drunken character.


PS. Interfacing the game with the XBox 360 emulator is not simple. A device driver must be written to accomplish this since Microsoft does not supply an API for it. Currently I am using a third-party prototype driver, but I will be writing my own driver soon and will open-source it with FreePIE to support gamepad emulation.
Last edited by brantlew on Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by android78 »

Zaptruder wrote:
brantlew wrote:...
The real irony is in 50 years, people will be thinking how mad it was that we had to sit around and twiddle gamepads to play our games, getting fatter and fatter doing it.
... as they sit there playing games controlled by their minds alone! lol

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by cybereality »

@brantlew: Cool.

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by CyberVillain »

brantlew wrote: PS. Interfacing the game with the XBox 360 emulator is not simple. A device driver must be written to accomplish this since Microsoft does not supply an API for it. Currently I am using a third-party prototype driver, but I will be writing my own driver soon and will open-source it with FreePIE to support gamepad emulation.
Check out the ppJoy plugin, it allready emulates gamepads and joysticks edit: a missed the 360 part only read the gamepad part, don think ppJoy does 360 emu

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by JanVR »

I was fortunate to meet up with Brantlew yesterday and try his Red Rovr system. It was spectacular. The feeling of physically walking around in Skyrim is the most immersive experience I've had so far. We used the ST1080, but can't wait to try it with the Rift. There is a ton of opportunities for systems like Red Rovr that translate the physical movements of the user to actions in the virtual world. I think such systems, coupled with hardware innovations like the Rift and Kinect, have the potential to propel VR into every day mainstream life. The Red Rovr immersion I experienced last night was impressive and trumps any form of 2D or 3D entertainment.

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by cybereality »

Nice.

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Re: FriiSpace VR Input Device - R&D

Post by FingerFlinger »

Sick! There's a highschool football field 4 blocks from my house; I can't wait to try out his system.

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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by Okta »

I haven't read the whole thread but do you think this is something that can be used at home? Having a huge area to walk around would be killer but i cant see many practical opportunities to use it. The idea comes to mind to make a high definition version for home use that will track absolute position for 1/1 game position fine movements combined with another tracking method like walking on the spot/ODT to move large distances? That way a small room Rovr and a head tracker can be used to reproduce 10dof tracker?
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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by WiredEarp »

it would be cool if there will be some kind of Virtual Reality Theme Parks. with halls full of omnidirectional treadmills where u pay 10 dollars for an hour and big open courts on which u fight against other gamers.
$10 sounds way too cheap. I'd think you'd need to make more than $10/hr out of all the hardware invested in omnidirectional treadmills, etc.

Back in the last boom of VR, it was $5 for 5 minutes!

I think $10 for 10-15 minutes would be ok however... I mean, people pay $15-$20 for 15 minutes of laserstrike.

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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by brantlew »

@JanVR: Thanks for the positive feedback. Its always fun to meet up and geek out with people that share enthusiasm for VR.

@Okta: My goals were never to make it really big - just to make it as realistic and natural as possible which unfortunately seems to require a minimum amount of space. But yes, I think there are ways to adapt it to home usage as long as you are willing to trade realism for space. I have been exploring stationary usage quite a bit lately, and I'm planning to offer a two-tier system. A smaller version with reduced functionality designed for indoor usage and a full blown version meant for outdoor usage.

Also - one thing that has improved tremendously since my first prototypes is the simplicity of setup. It's bad enough to require players to travel to a large outdoor area, but then to require a complex 30 minute setup and calibration procedure would be too much to ask. The current setup procedure can be accomplished in 5 - 10 minutes and my goal is to make that no more than 5 minutes.

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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by FingerFlinger »

brantlew was nice enough to lend me his RedRoVR system about a month ago, and I am just now getting around to doing a short write-up. (I'm very lazy...) I was only able to do 2 long sessions because of time and weather, but I think that I got a decent feel for it. The first few minutes in the system take a little getting used to. Forward and backward walking both work very well, but side-stepping/strafing is a bit funky currently. One pretty neat trick is that I could walk forward and look around with my head, as you would walking down a sidewalk, looking at storefronts and whatnot. The user must take an authoritative first step for the software to correctly recognize his/her intent. This is easy to get used to, and after the first step, walking feels completely natural, with a few caveats:

1. Sharp/violent turns can confuse the accelerometer.
2. The user must lead with their hips, which is mostly how one naturally moves anyway, but there is some nuance.

The only time I really noticed these issues was during “moments of immersion”. For instance, a wolf would attack me in Oblivion, and I would frantically try to get away, only to end up confusing the accelerometer with violent, bouncy motion. Because of this, RedRoVR is best with exploration games for right now. Although I know that brantlew is continuing work on his sensor fusion algorithms.

The quality of the redirection is very dependent on the size of the play-boundaries. I used an American football field and a square-shaped field about 60 meters on a side. Both of these worked well, and I think that the redirection would be too aggressive in a smaller area. At the same time, a much larger area would be even better. As it was, the redirection was still slightly noticeable, and I approached the boundaries maybe once every 10-12 minutes. I think that much of this can be remedied with levels designed specifically around this technology, and this is something I want to experiment with once I have a Rift.

I was somewhat limited by my setup. I used my netbook as a backtop and I was also borrowing brantlew's Vuzix Wrap 920. Despite framerate issues and a low FOV, I had a good experience; the potential is certainly there.

I saw just an early prototype, so obviously it was not in a state ready for Joe-gamer. Despite that, I think that the RedRoVR portion of the setup was fairly painless; it was mostly the general hassle of a backtop that I had an issue with. And using an HMD with an integrated headtracker should simplify that further.

A big limitation is software that is not designed with considerations for VR. One of the big issues is dealing with WASD controls. brantlew's system can detect motion over 360 degrees on the ground, but is artificially limited to only 4 directions. Similarly, games typically only have two movement speeds, walk and run. Being able to use true motion vectors will help quite a bit, I think. Something else that never occurred to me before actually experiencing it is the importance of sound effects. RedRoVR can detect the user's footfalls, and could communicate that information to the game engine, thus synching the sound effect with the user's action. Obviously, this isn't a feature that any games support yet, but it is important.

One last curiosity that I'll mention is that, once I got settled and was freely walking around, I had the sensation of not physically moving anywhere, as if I was walking on a treadmill. I suspect that this is due to the HMD's low FOV. My biggest frame of reference was the screen hanging in front of my face.

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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by brantlew »

Thanks Finger. I still feel bad that you were saddled with the Vuzix for this demo. It really dampens the effect.

I've had a dozen friends and forum members try out the system so far and all the impressions have been very informative and valuable to me. Generally the response has been positive. Even guys that have used professional VR systems have commented that the freedom of unconstrained movement feels like something "new" and adds an additional layer of immersion that they had not experienced before. So it works great as a VR demonstration. But I am also acutely aware that the system is not ready for active gameplay yet. The motion detection is simply not robust and accurate enough. Consequently I think I need to delay/suspend any plans for release until I can work through another round or two of basic R&D.

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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by FingerFlinger »

I think it's definitely worth having as mature a product as possible before releasing it. And a purpose-built demo would push it to the next level.

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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by Flassan »

I have also been lucky enough to try Red Rover on the WizDish and I have to say that I'm completely blown away by it.
The word that keeps coming into my mind to describe it is 'uncanny'. I find it hard to understand how it works that well.
It manages to sense walking whether you just slide your feet a few inches or take confident strides, so you can decide yourself how much energy to expend.
The overall sensation of standing and looking around or walking along and turning your head to see things pass is extraordinary.

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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by WiredEarp »

I have also been lucky enough to try Red Rover on the WizDish
I thought the whole point of Red RoVR is that its for walking around large areas. How can it work with a Wizdish?

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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by brantlew »

I have a "walking-in-place" version that uses inertial sensors for motion and works just as well with the Wizdish. The stationary version is more restrictive and less immersive than the free-walking version but it still works to a degree and can provide a reasonable experience in an indoor environment. Unfortunately Flassan is using a Vuzix which suffers from low FOV and head tracker latency. The level of immersion doubles with the use of an ST1080 + Sparkfun tracker, and I hope that the Rift will then double the effectiveness yet again.

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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by Okta »

Im glad you have merged both systems with the stationary tracking option for home use. I was banging my head trying to come up with a simple cheap system for walking on the spot movement when the rift arrives but i don't want to re-invent the wheel if there are other (better) methods out there.
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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by brantlew »

95% of my effort goes into development of the free-walking system. I was only going to throw the stationary feature in there because it's such a simple add-on, but if lots of people are interested in the stationary version I could consider releasing that individually.

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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by JanVR »

To Brantlew's point, I was able to test Red Rovr in an open space with a ST1080 + Sparkfun tracker, which created an impressive sense of immersion, better than with Vuzix glasses. That being said, the stationairy version with Vuzix glasses works well too, allowing you to walk forward while looking sideways - impressive. Solutions like these are great to translate the user's movements to movements in the virtual world, which adds an additional layer of immersion. I have also been experimenting a lot with the Microsoft Kinect (with thanks to Flassan), which might be even slightly more accurate, reacting to the exact movements of the user's feet. Also allows for recognition of jumping, crouching, arm movements to reload, etc.

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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by Flassan »

Two things Finger said intrigued me.
"I had the sensation of not physically moving anywhere". I was expecting that to be free-walking's key advantage.
"The user must take an authoritative first step for the software to correctly recognize his/her intent". That wasn't my experience so is the gentle uniform 'WizDish walk' delivering less ambiguous raw motion data?

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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by brantlew »

To be fair, Finger used a stable, older(June) release which has a low sensitivity.

The Wizdish model that Flassan uses was quickly developed using less than 5 minutes worth of recorded data so it is probably tuned very badly. Very sensitive but also with a high false positive rate. However, Wizdish locomotion is much less variable than natural motion and so can more easily be tuned to a higher sensitivity.

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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by FingerFlinger »

I really think that the sensation of not moving was due to using a low FOV headset; I think it was separate from Brant's technology.

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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by Okta »

Can you tell us anything about your 'home' version for walking on the spot as refereed to in my Walking thread? What will Rovr capabilities/limitations be? What components are required? Will you be selling this system as a complete system or just the software?
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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by EdZ »

To alleviate the 'walking on the spot' effect (assuming the RIFT's FoV doesn't do so on it's own), a small fan could be added to blow air towards your face when moving forward? It sounds gimmickey, but I just did a quick test of walking around at a normal pace with my eyes closed and face covered/uncovered, and there is a quite noticeable difference. I suppose if you wanted to go all-out you could use several fans in an array to determine the 'wind' direction more accurately, as well as simulate virtual wind.

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Post by Okta »

EdZ wrote:To alleviate the 'walking on the spot' effect (assuming the RIFT's FoV doesn't do so on it's own), a small fan could be added to blow air towards your face when moving forward? It sounds gimmickey, but I just did a quick test of walking around at a normal pace with my eyes closed and face covered/uncovered, and there is a quite noticeable difference. I suppose if you wanted to go all-out you could use several fans in an array to determine the 'wind' direction more accurately, as well as simulate virtual wind.
Dude fans are 'cool' :lol: Great idea, i would hope future HMD's have this feature option. Perhaps a little indulgent for my simple hopes at the moment though.
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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by brantlew »

Okta wrote:Can you tell us anything about your 'home' version for walking on the spot as refereed to in my Walking thread? What will Rovr capabilities/limitations be? What components are required? Will you be selling this system as a complete system or just the software?

For a baseline, I would expect forward walk/run detection with independent head direction (so you could walk sideways while looking forward to effectively strafe). Also - side dodging and ducking. Maybe jumping - although I don't think jumping with a worn computer is a good idea. I think a jump button is better. I also have an idea for stationary backwards walking, but I am not sure that I can achieve the accuracy and robustness necessary for that feature. Backwards walk detection is probably easier with the Wizdish, and I have an experimental version of that in use but the performance sucks right now. If backwards walking cannot be achieved then I think a button to toggle backward/forward motion is the next best thing.

I don't have a release date in mind however. There are some major factors in play right now that may change this entire project.

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FingerFlinger
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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by FingerFlinger »

Oh, major factors sounds like a good thing!

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Re: Red Rovr Motion System (formerly Friispace)

Post by brantlew »



It's been three months since I worked on this project. I got side-tracked with some related research, and just recently I accepted a job at Oculus (thanks again Palmer), so I'm going to be shutting down this project indefinitely to concentrate on my new job.

I'm not going to open source it or anything, but I have decided to release some previously secret details of Red Rovr and also release some video of it in action. Originally the concept was to use optical tracking. My small experiments were working fine, but I was starting to run into some scaling problems at the sizes that I expected for redirected walking, so early last year I secretly switched to a GPS/inertial system. In short - a smart phone. That's right. Red Rovr is essentially just a phone app.

The video that I released last year was a version 0.1 system that worked completely off of GPS which was the reason for the 2 second latency. The silly ball on my head in those videos is just empty plastic and not used for anything. Using GPS enabled me to scale the system to any size I wanted and focus on the implementation for redirected walking instead of optical scaling. It worked so well that I just decided to continue down that path with the addition of inertial motion detection. The bulk of my research since that time has been refining the motion detection algorithms. The image below shows the current Red Rovr 0.2 hardware - an iPhone and a Sparkfun tracker.
tn_RedRovrApp.JPG
The new video shows version 0.2 in action. I think it works surprisingly well - especially considering that I am only using a WASD and mouse emulation interface. The latency on this system is about 300 - 400 milliseconds which doesn't feel too bad for walking. My version 0.3 is half-way completed and reduces that down to about 150 - 250 milliseconds and adds a lot more directions and actions, but it's going to be shelved for now.

I still strongly believe that free walking is the best solution to the motion problem, and I hope this video gives you guys an impression of how immersive it is. In my opinion the act of physically moving through the environment adds as much immersion as wide FOV visuals do. I'm only using the ST1080 now, but I've had experiences where I walk up to a 20 foot drop and my stomach tightens and my body just refuses to step forward - its very surreal how involved you can become after doing this for 10 minutes. And the strangest experience to me and to everyone that has tried this is the sensation of teleportation. You put the glasses on, run around, and when you take them off you are completely disorientated since you are not where you started. I understand that ODT devices have practical uses but they all have some serious limitations with regards to movement and realism. If your goal is maximum immersion, then I believe free walking is the only way to achieve that. And as a bonus - it's also the cheapest method :)

I want to continue this research at some time in the future and my hope is that by surrounding myself full-time with VR technology and experts, I can develop a much better implementation.
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Last edited by brantlew on Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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