Virtual Reality Check: A Quick Look at the Current Tech

A while ago I talked about the Virtuix Omni and the Oculus Rift in a post about Virtual Reality. Well things have definitely progressed quite a bit lately and I figured I would keep everyone up to date with what is going on in the VR world. To bring everyone back up to speed I’ll check into each technology individually before I showcase how they can interact with each other.

The device that started the craze was the Oculus Rift. It is basically a headpiece that covers the users eyes. It has 2 monitors inside, one for each eye, allowing the user to see the game in 3D. The big draw to the Rift, though, is its ability for tracking. Instead of using the right joystick or mouse to look around, the gamer will simply have to physically look around. From the people who have actually gotten to use it, they seem to all agree that the experience is mind boggling. Just see the reactions of these people during the roller-coaster segment.



Next up is the Virtuix Omni. It is an 8-way treadmill that tracks where you run and interprets that into movement in the game. Its a pretty simple concept but works quite well. By itself it isn’t much but most videos you will find mix it with the Rift to great effect. Here is Battlefield 3 being played with the Omni and the Rift.



Sixense is a company that focuses on motion controls, much akin to the Wii but much, much more accurate. Their first work can be found in the Razer Hydra. It is limited to being a wired device though. Sixense just finished a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund their STEM system, a 5 point motion control system for the whole body. This video is made by Sixense and shows off how they can use 5 motion trackers to control both arms, both legs, and your waist. The last half of the video shows how it can work in conjunction with the Rift.



The Delta Six controller is a revolutionary gun controller that takes into consideration all of the interactions a soldier has with her/his weapon. While playing a game with Iron Sights, aiming down the sights is as simple as actually aiming down your own sights or, if you have the attachment, looking down your scope. Reloading is preformed by removing the magazine and reinserting it. The gun also features a strong vibration motor to provide realistic kickback while firing guns.



We now have seen several items that help us control that game but nothing that helps immerse us. Let me introduce the ARAIG, or As Real As It Gets. It is a vest you wear with 18 points of feedback, 6 speakers(for perfect surround sound), and 4 stim points that forces your muscles to contract. Unfortunately this device did not reach its funding amount and, at this moment, does not look like it will be released any time soon. Here is a demonstration video of what the prototype could do.



Virtual Reality has really come a long way since the Virtual Boy. While all of this technology is extremely enticing, the Omni and the Rift are the most popular combinations found on Youtube. There are millions of videos with the two of these being use together. Here is a great game that was created using the Rift and the Razer Hydra.



And finally, just because it’s funny, this is a guy who totally freaks out during the rollercoaster ride using the Rift.



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