What can three Xbox Kinects, a virtual reality headset, and one University of California researcher create? The first steps recreating Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s legendary virtual playground the holodeck. Now we’re only one rogue AI Moriarty away from achieving total VR immersion!
Researcher Oliver Kreylos is plumbing new digital depths with the Oculus Rift. In conjunction with those three Kinects, he’s merged the imaging power using the unique 3D cameras to create a virtual space that can be experienced seemingly in VR as you can see in the video above. The three motion controllers form an equilateral triangle to capture Oliver’s physical placement in the fake world.
What’s really interesting is his decision to adhere to the rendered environment as if it were reality. He goes to note that despite his fuzzy, digitized self the brain kind “circumnavigates the uncanny valley so to speak” and accepts your new form. For those too lazy for wikipedia, this Uncanny Valley is the point where your libido is overridden by the Plasticine homunculi of the girls from Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball.
He also mentions the weirdness of seeing himself in third-person as switches to the view of one of the Kinects. It’s a pretty bizarre notion to think about but I would love to live a day as a gaming character.
While these researchers and devs are breaking new ground, I fear that the complete package will eventually become an amalgam of the Rift, 3D cameras, a Virtual Omni, and some kind of force feedback suit. Future gaming sure does seem like a chore.