Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Oculus Rift arrived

It's awesome.  It was quite a pain in the ass to get set up since it's a dev kit, and the software needs debugging.

With my nVidia 3d Vision system I've been able to get some pretty powerful stereo effects, but not nearly as powerful as what I get with the DK2.  I haven't been able to get Diplopia working with my DK2 as they're both still in early stages of development.  Diplopia is still in alpha, and will not run on my desktop.  I've been able to get most of my demos working on the DK2.  I expect to have a working copy of Diplopia within a month or so.  I'm not sweating it.  However, even without Diplopia, I think I am getting vision therapy benefit from doing normal VR games.

Once you get it working, it's pretty awesome.  There's one demo that has you at a desk with a plant and cards in it that's pretty slick.  Because the DK2 has positional tracking and not just axis tracking, you can move your head around.  Because you're in a small environment in which you can't locomote, moving your head position around to get a view of different objects is particularly cool, especially because the plant and card house both have complex geometry.  You can see them from different angles as you move your head.  And also because all of the objects are close to the observer, stereopsis has its maximum effect, which is partly why I think the stereo effects that I've had so far have been so powerful.

I've invited a number of people over to try it--all who have normal stereoscopic vision.  They were all pretty amazed.  I watched intently for what is called the 'Rift face', which is what it sounds like: a goofy, mesmerized expression people make when having their first virtual reality experience.  They all had it: mouth parted, jaw relaxed, sometimes combined with a grin, barely able to believe what they were seeing.  They all remarked about how real it felt.  One of them expressed his surprise about how the rollercoaster made him feel movement--acceleration.

It took me about a week, but I think I finally have my 'Rift legs'--I no longer experience nausea while using the Rift or afterward.  Most of the people I showed the Rift to experienced nausea, especially when doing the rollercoaster or swing ride demos.  The games and demos that I have are all extremely basic and experiential.  Most of them aren't even games--just environments that you look around--one is Pantheon, which is what it sounds like.  You get to walk around and explore the Pantheon, look at the decor, and look up to see the coffered dome.  Another one is called the Tuscany demo where you look around at a Tuscan villa and go outside and look at a fountain, and seaside.

So it's going to be particularly awesome when content is actually created, when drivers, firmware and software are developed... when the commercial version becomes available.  VR is definitely going to be huge.  I'm having fun with it now, but I'll definitely be excited to see what Diplopia brings when I get a viable copy of it.

It looks like UCSF is taking Diplopia seriously.

Diplopia Working With UCSF On Pilot Study

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