Specialized in 3D environments, Oliver Kreylos imagined a system that would take his body on an adventure. Using 3 Kinect and an Oculus Rift, he is currently experimenting with more intense immersions using VR headsets.
Some observers claim that the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset pulls the viewer into the screen, rather than rematerialize content. However, it has an affiliation with makers, especially when it comes to the ecosystem that has developed around the prototypes currently in use. Other technologies have since been associated, in order to experiment with VR as a full-fledged environment, connected to real space.
Such is the mission of Oliver Kreylos, a developer in California, who to my knowledge is the only person to have felt his own body in motion inside a simulated environment. Of course, it’s a trembling version of himself, translated by Kinect… But he was able to describe the strange sensation of counting his limbs inside a simulation.
3D video capture with 3 Kinect, Oliver Kreylos :
Kreylos placed 3 Kinect sensors around him in an equilateral triangle, about 2 meters from the central point, depending on the size of the subject. The experiment was conducted from a computer running Linux, receiving the data flows from the Kinect and transmitting them to the Oculus Rift, plus an external server to follow the position of the head and the wand, a joystick to navigate the 3D environment and the menus. A secondary monoscopic view was added to film the video.
This is my (emulated) body
Kreylos says his body immediately accepted his emulated limbs as hiw own—a sensation that VR pros call “presence”. Once the senses are isolated, the brain treats information coming through the headset as reality. The researcher says he perceived his environment as solid, that it felt “really weird” to be able to move through objects. The remaining discomfort was due to latency, lags between head movements and the adjusted environment. The result is a sort of “transportation sickness”.
The researcher, whose profession is making holodecks, or caves, has just uploaded a new video. This time, he added a new dimension to his self-observation.
«Watching Myself Building a Molecule», Oliver Kreylos :
The set-up is the same, but Kreylos filmed himself fabricating a molecule inside a virtual space, using a Razer Hydra game controller. Then he replayed the scene and repositioned himself inside the space. He created interactions giving the impression that he was communicating with himself in two different time-frames.
Low-cost virtual spaces
Beyond this performance, Kreylos wants to show that virtual work spaces can now be created at low cost. The molecule-building software Nanotech Construction Kit is based on Vrui VR toolkit, an open source software. Razer Hydra controllers cost around 300 euros. The Oculus Rift DK2 (350 euros) is almost a bargain compared to a costly 3D television or monitor.
For his next video, Kreylos is committed to designing a collaborative immersion around a single virtual object.