Weeks 7 and 8

Tracking / Navigation / Interaction


The primary purpose of tracking is to update the visual display based on the viewers head position and orientation.

Ideally we would track the users eyes directly, and while that is possible, it is still currently cumbersome, and not that necessary to get a decent experience. Instead of tracking the viewer's eyes directly, we track the position and orientation of the user's head. From this we determine the position and orientation of the users eyes assuming they are looking straight ahead, which is true much of the time.

We may also be tracking the user's hand(s), fingers, feet, legs, or handheld objects.

Want tracking to be as 'invisible' as possible to the user.

Want the user to be able to move freely with few encumbrances

Want to be able to have multiple 'guests' nearby

Want to track as many objects as necessary

Want to have minimal delay between movement of an object (including the head and hand) and the detection of the objects new position / orientation (< 50 msec total)

Want tracking to be accurate (1mm and 1 degree)

In order to interact with the virtual world beyond moving through it, we typically need to track at least one of the user's hands, and preferably both of them. Tracking the position and orientation of the hand allows the user to interact with the virtual world or other users as though the user is wearing mittens with no fine control of the fingers. When thinking about how the user interacts with the worlds that you are building, think about the kinds of actions a person can do while wearing mittens.

Some modern controllers (like with the Quest) can judge the position of the fingers for gestures but users are still interacting through the controller. Other modern systems like Leap Motion and the newer Quest software allow tracking of individual fingers through cameras giving more fine control. Cameras are nice since the user doesnt need to hold additional items, but cameras can also have issues with occlusion, light levels, etc. Sometimes you want to have a controller with its more precise physical button feedback. It all depends on the user and the application.


What we don't want ...

Tom showing the pain of uncomfortable tracking systems


There are a variety of ways of tracking people

Electromagnetic - what we used in the early to mid 1990s for VR

large heavy transmitter (1 cubic foot) and one or more small sensors.

transmitter emits an electromagnetic field.

sensors report the strength of that field at their location to a computer

sensors can be polled specifically by the computer or transmit continuously.


advantages are:
  • large tracking volume (approx 10 feet / 3 meters)
  • no line-of-sight restriction
  • sensors are small and light
  • technology has been around for a while

disadvantages are:

  • affected by metal in the nearby area (large objects on the floor above, or metal earrings worn near sensor)
  • latency can be high (0.1 seconds)
  • accuracy is low in large volumes
  • somewhat expensive

examples:

Classic CAVE's EM tracking - the big box


Classic CAVE's EM tracking from the users point of view

 


Mechanical - still around for haptics and applications that require very high accuracy and very low latency


rigid structures with multiple joints

one end is fixed, the other is the object being tracked

could be tracking users head, or their hand

physically measure the rotation about joints in the armature to compute position and orientation

structure is counter-weighted - movements are slow and smooth and don't require much force

Knowing the length of each joint and the rotation at each joint, location and orientation of the end point is easy to compute very exact values.


uses:

  • BOOMs, Phantom

advantages are:

  • low latency
  • high accuracy
  • technology has been around for a while

disadvantages are:

  • small volume
  • only track one object at a time
different sizes of Phantoms

   

<image from https://cs.nyu.edu/~wanghua/course/multimedia/project.html>


Acoustic (ultrasonic) - what we used in the late 1990s for VR

small mobile transmitter and one medium sized fixed sensor

each transmitter emits ultrasonic pulses which are received by microphones on the sensor (usually arranged in a triangle or a series of bars)

as the pulses will reach the different microphones at slightly different times, the position and orientation of the transmitter can be determined

uses:
  • Fish Tank VR

advantages are:

  • high accuracy
  • transmitters are small and light
  • simple
  • low cost

disadvantages are:

  • latency can be high
  • small volume
  • requires line-of-sight

examples:

  • Logitech

Logitech 3D mouse


Optical - What pretty much everyone uses today for VR


LEDs or reflective materials are placed on the object to be tracked

video cameras at fixed locations (for large spaces with multiple people) capture the scene (usually in IR)

image processing techniques are used to locate the object

With fast enough processing you can also use computer vision techniques to isolate a head in the image and then use the head to find the position of the eyes

advantages

  • user can be tetherless
  • lightweight marker balls can be added to many common objects
  • IR emitter versions can work in bright rooms and dark rooms
  • high accuracy

disadvantages

  • can take a lot of cameras to get high quality tracking in a large space (focal length as well as field of view) - continuum and CAVE2 need over 20 cameras to track the space well.
  • requires line of site from each set of markers to multiple cameras to get position and rotation data
  • Visible light versions require enough light in the room
  • users need to make sure they don't cover up the marker balls (cowboy hats, 80s big hair)

examples



CAVE2 style tracked wand

CAVE2 style tracked glasses

In CAVE2 we use a Vicon optical camera tracking system, in the classroom space it is an OptiTrack system. Both use the same markers so devices can move easily between them.

   

One can also use much less expensive camera based systems like the Xbox Kinect or Playstation VR to track multiple people in a small area. Staying within the field of view and focal area is very important here since you only have a single camera, and users are usually limited to facing a single direction



How the consumer headsets do it

VIVE

two powered lighthouses at the high corners of the tracked volume each sweeping a laser horizontally and another vertically through the space which is read by the wired headset (1000 hz) and the wireless controllers (360 hz) giving a general accuracy of 3 mm.

https://www.roadtovr.com/analysis-of-valves-lighthouse-tracking-system-reveals-accuracy/

(image from HTC)


Oculus

wired Headset and the wireless Oculus touch controllers have LEDs mounted all around them which are then detected by (initially) a small sensor sitting on the desk/table in front of you, and later two or three sensors to track a larger space

(image from Oculus)

Playstation VR

similarly has a wired headset and wireless controllers that make use of the existing PlayStation move controller infrastructure using the PlayStation Camera and LEDs on the headset
(image from Sony)


Microsoft Mixed Reality - wired headset has cameras that can look around the room to spot open areas and surfaces to map the room (like the HoloLens) and are also used to track the wireless controllers which have LEDs mounted all around them.

Quest - wireless headset that like the Microsoft Mixed Reality headsets tracks its own controllers, but does a much better job of continuing to track them when they are out of sight of the headset.


Which is better depends on the user's needs. For one person:

Fixed tracking systems like OptiTrack / Vicon or simpler systems like the VIVE's lighthouses will give better tracking within a fixed space but with the trade off of more setup time.

The more portable Oculus and Playstation cameras give a good experience within a smaller space as long as the headset and controllers are in sight of the camera.

The mixed reality headsets are easier to move from place to place and faster to setup since they have no external cameras. The original mixed reality headsets needed the controller to be in sight of the headset, which is not always the most natural place to hold them, but newer headsets like the quest have additional sensors in the controllers to continue tracking them when they are out of sight of the user.


If you have more than one person in the space then things get more interesting since that makes it more likely that cameras can be blocked. Having constellations of cameras (like Vicon or Optitrack) are one way to solve the problem. Another way is going with the mixed reality solution of each headset tracking its own user's controllers as long as those mixed reality headsets can agree on where each user is in the global shared space.

Current technology is moving towards fewer cables (usb-c) to the headsets and wireless streaming to the headsets to further reduce the cables, or running the experiences on the headsets themselves (though a headset will have less graphics power than a PC with a large modern graphics card)


Inertial - used for a lot of current smartphone based experiences

self-contained

gyroscopes and accelerometers used

knowing where the object was and its change in position / orientation the device can 'know' where it now is

tend to work for limited periods of time then drift as errors accumulate



GPS

For outdoors work GPS can give the general location of the user (3 meter accuracy horizontally in open field, much less as you get near buildings). Vertical accuracy is around 10 meters, so that is not very useful right now. Newer constellations of satellites, as well as ground based reference stations can substantially improve on that accuracy.

For better vertical accuracy devices are now including barometers. These work pretty well when calibrated to the local air pressure, which may be constantly changing as the weather changes.



Fiducial Markers

As shown in Project 1, a common way for camera based AR systems to orient themselves is by using fiducial markers. These could be pieces of paper held in front of a camera where a 3D object suddenly appears on the paper (when looking at the camera feed). They can also be placed on walls, floors, ceilings so moving users with cameras can locate where they are.

In cities, AR can use large buildings as huge Fiducial markers as they dont change very often and this can help compensate for poor GPS within the urban canyons.



Combinations

Combining multiple forms of tracking is a very good way to improve tracking in complex situations, just as our phones GPS based information is improved if we also have the WiFi antennas working.

Intersense uses a combination on Acoustic and Inertial. Inertial can deal with fast movements and acoustic keeps the inertial from drifting

Outdoor AR devices can use GPS and orientation / accelerometer information to get a general idea where the user is, and then use the on board camera to refine that information given what should be in sight from that location at that orientation.

a current popular version of this is Inside Out Tracking

The HoloLens, Microsoft's Mixed Reality Headsets, and Facebook's Quest don't want to rely on external markers or emitters or cameras, they want to be able to track using just what the user is wearing with cameras and sensors looking outward. This requires a combination of sensors including inertial (for orientation tracking), and visible light camera(s) and depth camera(s) for position tracking, and all of the together are used for space mapping.

With the HoloLens you first have to help the headset map the space by looking all around the room you are in, and remap it if there are any major changes in the position of the furniture.

Google's Project Tango and others use similar combinations of sensors on headsets and smartphones


Specialized

Rather than looking for a generic solution, specialized VR applications are usually better served using specialized tracking hardware. These pieces of specialized hardware generally replace tracking of the user with an input device that handles navigation

For Caterpillar's testing of their cab designs they placed the actual cab hardware into the CAVE so the driver controls the virtual loader in the same way the actual loader would be controlled. The position of the gear shift, the pedals, and the steering wheel determine the location of the user in the virtual space.

Driving a virtual Caterpillar loader in the NCSA CAVE

A treadmill can be used to allow walking and running within a confined space. More sophisticated multi-layer treadmills or spheres allow motion in a plane.

https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=mi3Uq16_YQg

A bicycle with handlebars allows the user to pedal and turn, driving through a virtual environment

https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=PDb2zoxSZoQ




In class demos of setting up tracking for the VIVE and OptiTrack.


HoloLens - https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=Ul_uNih7Oaw

VIVE - https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=rv6nVPPDmEI

Quest - https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=zh5ldprM5Mg

OptiTrack - https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=cNZaFEghTBU



a bit more about latency

Accuracy needs to come from the tracker manufacturers. Latency is partly our fault.

Latency is the sum of:

another important point about latency is the importance of consistent latency. If the latency isn't too bad, people will adapt to it, but its very annoying if the latency isn't consistent - people can't adapt to jitter.


How many sensors is enough?

Tracking the head and hand is often enough for working with remote people as avatars.

evl simple 1 handed avatars from the early 2000s


Most of the current consumer HMDs give you two controllers - one for each hand.

The VIVE also has a set of separate sensors that can be attached to feet or physical props, allowing you to track a total of 5 things (head, 2 controllers, 2 others) with the same 2 light houses. Room-scale optical tracking systems like Vicon and Optitrack allow developers to add marker balls or stickers to objects like cereal boxes or tables to track them as well as people.

Here are some photos of a user putting on sensors and another user dancing with 'the thing growing' at SIGGRAPH 98 in Orlando. This application tracked the head, both hands and the lower back.

Dancing with 'the thing growing' at SIGGRAPH 98 Dancing with 'the thing growing' at SIGGRAPH 98

Today you could strap on a sensor like the VIVE Object Tracker to your ankles, wrists, or attach it to an object like a tennis racket or a baseball bat.



For Augmented Reality the goals are the same, but doing this kind of tracking 'in the real world' is much harder than in a controlled space. Google Live View sort of works, but its not good enough to be a regular replacement for google maps

https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=w9chZKt2YFQ


One common use of Augmented reality has been in sports. Having cameras in known locations within stadiums allows enhancements. For decades sports on TV has had additional information superimposed on the plane of the TV screen (score, time left, etc) but for 20 years American football games have had the line of scrimmage and the 10 yard line drawn for the viewers at home on the field itself, under the players. Today these graphics are often augmented with additional information (who has the ball, direction of play, etc). One could imagine in future the players could have similar augmented information while they play.

AR while watching american football

(image from rantsports.com)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_%26_Ten_(graphics_system)


In the mid 1990s Fox Sports added IR lights to hockey pucks that allowed cameras and computers to track the puck and add a graphical tail to better show viewers at home where the puck was. The public response was not positive.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FoxTrax

https://slate.com/culture/2014/01/foxtrax-glowing-puck-was-it-the-worst-blunder-in-tv-sports-history-or-was-it-just-ahead-of-its-time.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grOttsHuuzE


And while not particularly enhancing the sport itself, for football static perimeter advertising signs around the pitch are been replaced by dynamic LCD and LED signs for those in attendance, but even those advertisements are often replaced by others for viewers on TV / Cable / Internet, and can be replaced by different adds for different locations.

https://www.thedrum.com/news/2018/06/13/itv-and-fa-tested-virtual-stadium-perimeter-ads-during-england-game-and-no-one


and as tracking and computation and personal AR gear improves there are some interesting possibilities for use in the home and at the stadium:


https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/19/football-matches-land-on-your-table-thanks-to-augmented-reality/

 https://www.protolabs.com/resources/blog/mlb-teams-up-with-ar-technology-to-enhance-the-ballpark-experience/


2020 saw some interesting attempts at putting augmented fans into empty stadiums for the home audience. Major league baseball used the Unreal Engine to create virtual moving fans that could wear clothing appropriate to the local team. The repetitive movements were considered creepy. Major League Basketball used a less sophisticated technique where fans could send in photos of their heads to be placed in the stands, which was also considered creepy.

       

Note that the highlighting of the strike zone on the baseball telecast is another use of augmented reality


Interaction and Navigation


In the simplest Virtual Reality world there is an object floating in front of you in 3D which you can look at. Moving your head and / or body allows you to see the object from different points of view. This is also the default in an Augmented Reality world.

In Fish Tank VR setups, or HMDs like the original Rift, the user is typically sitting with a limited space to move in. With more modern HMDs like the newer Rift and VIVE, or room scale systems like the CAVE and CAVE2 the user has a larger space to move walk in, jump up, kneel down, lie on the floor etc, and arcade level systems give you larger rooms to move around in using just your body.  Unseen Diplomacy pushes this navigation in a limited space to the extreme - https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=KirQtdsG5yE

But often you want to move further, or in effect move a different part of the virtual world into the area that you can easily move through.

Common ways of doing this involve using a joystick or directional pad on the wand to move 'drive' through the space as though you were in a first person video game, which gives you a better sense of continuity in the virtual world, though this can risk simulator sickness, which is why most current consumer HMD games don't do it. Fallout 4 VR has that as an option - https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=TBJKuSdeKMQ

Another simple option is using a wand to point to where you want to go and teleporting from one place to another within the virtual world, which is what most current consumer HMD games use. Fallout 4 VR uses this as well- https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=S0D0N2SYHlI

Another option is to use large gestures such as swinging both your arms (holding two wands) up and down as though you were jogging to tell the system you want to walk, or pointing in the direction you want to go if you have hand and finger tracking.  VR Dungeon Knight uses the jogging metaphor - https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=TTolJoKUcks

If you have superhuman capabilities as in Megaton Rainfall VR, you can have the full Superman / Captain Marvel flying experience - https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=rD0QR2YPzv8

Other specialized options as discussed above include real devices like bicycles, treadmills, car interiors where you drive the virtual car with the actual controls, plane interiors where you fly the virtual plane with the actual controls, trains, buses, trucks, etc.


In Augmented Reality you are typically limited to your actual physical movements (or the movements of a real car or a real bike) as the Augmented Reality world is anchored to the real world.


Here are several controllers that we used in the first 10 years of the CAVE. The common elements on these included a joystick and three buttons (same as the 3 buttons on unix / IRIX computer mice.)

Just as HMDs tend to be similar to each other because they are all based on the structure of the human head, hand held controllers tend to be similar because they are based on the structure of the human hand.

mid 90s CAVE wand The original 'hand made' CAVE / ImmersaDesk wand based on Flock of Birds tracker from 1992-1998. It would have been really handy to have had rapid prototyping machines back then to make these.
late 90s CAVE wand The new CAVE/ ImmersaDesk wanda with a similar joystick plus three buttons, based on Flock of Birds tracker from 1998-2001
intersense VR controller InterSense controller, joystick plus 4 buttons, used in the early 2000s
CAVE2 controller When we designed and built CAVE2 form 2009-2012 we wanted to go with controllers that were easier and cheaper to replace if they were broken, so we shifted to PlayStation controllers with marker balls mounted on the front, again giving us multiple buttons, a d-pad and joystick up top and a trigger below. This was the first CAVE controller to be cable free, so it needs to be charged up like any wireless game controller.

The d-pad added a lot of advantages for interacting with menus. Using the lower trigger on the front was a big advantage over the joystick for navigation.


Current consumer HMD controllers follow a similar pattern but instead of the more fragile marker balls a circle of sensors is used.

VIVE controller The initial VIVE controllers
Oculus Touch controller The Oculus Touch has similar features in a more compact arrangement
Oculus Quest controller The Oculus Quest has basically the same features in a flipped configuration


The Valve Index 'knuckles' controllers are also similar but use a strap to attach the controllers to your hands, freeing your fingers for gestures.
https://www.theverge.com/2018/6/22/17494332/valve-knuckles-ev2-steamvr-controller-development-kit-shipments-portal-moondust-demo

Different controllers have different numbers of buttons and controls.

More buttons give you more options that can be directly controlled by the user, but may also make it harder to remember what all those buttons do. More buttons also makes it harder to instruct a novice user what he/she can do. Asking a new user to press the 'left button' or the 'right button' is pretty easy but when you get to 'left on the d-pad' or 'press the right shoulder button' then you have a more limited audience that can understand you.

Most VR software today automatically brings up context sensitive overlays about what the various controller buttons do to help users get familiar with the controls.

Game controllers (and things that look like game controllers) have a big advantage in terms of familiarity for people who play games, and have often gone through pretty substantial user testing, and are often relatively inexpensive to replace.


One of the main uses of controllers is to manipulate objects in the virtual world.

The user is given a very 'human' interface to VR ... the person can move their head or hand, and move their body, but this also limits the user's interaction with the space to what you carry around with you. There is also the obvious problem that you are in a virtual space made out of light, so its not easy to touch, smell, or taste the virtual world, though all of the senses have been used in various projects.

Even if you want to just 'grab' an object there are several issues involved.

A `natural' way to grab a virtual object is to move your hand holding a controller so that it touches the virtual object you want to manipulate. At this point the virtual environment could vibrate the controller, or add a halo to the object, or make the object glow, or play a sound to help you know that you have 'touched' the object. You could then press a button to 'grab' the object, or have the object 'jump' into your hand. Modern controllers like the Valve Index controllers that can sense where your fingers are, and have a strap that allows you to open your hand without dropping the controller, can allow you to actually 'grab' a virtual object using a grabbing motion, while still having access to traditional buttons.

The Quest allows you to discard the controllers and use only your camera tracked hands for certain environments. If the cameras can successfully track your hands, which is normally true but not always true, you can see your virtual hands moving fluidly, and use very natural motions to grab objects, but when it doesn't work it can be very aggravating.

While this kind of motion is very natural, navigating to the object may not be as easy, or the type of display may not encourage you to 'touch' the virtual objects. It can also be impractical to pick up very large objects because they can obscure your field of view. In that case the users hand may cast a ray (raycasting) which allows a user to interact at a distance. One fun thing to try in VR is to act like a superhero and pick up a large building or train and throw them around - turns out that when you pick them up you cant see anything else - 'church chuck'.



Menus

One common way of interacting with the virtual world is to take the concept of 2D menus from the desktop into the 3D space of V.R. These menus exist as mostly 2D objects in the 3D space

This can be extended from simple buttons to various forms of 2D sliders.

These menus may be fixed to the user, appearing near the users head, hand, or waist, so as the user moves through the space, the menus stay in a fixed position relative to the user. Alternatively the menus may stay at a fixed location in the real space, or a fixed location in the virtual space.

e.g. from the current crop of HMD experiences:

Since Skyrim was designed as a desktop game it has a traditional menu structure. For the VR version that interface maps directly over with a huge menu appearing in the VR world with the controller buttons being used to move through the menu structure an select items. They correctly used the trackpad / joystick on the controllers to move through the menu system rather than relying on pointing directly at menu items to select them, as that can get fatiguing.
Google Earth VR maps the controls to buttons on the controller with tooltips floating nearby - as the menu options change the tooltips change. Google Earth VR tool tips on the controllers
Vanishing realms has a nice UI at the user's waist where you store keys and food and weapons and then to interact the user intersects that menu with one of the controllers as though you were reaching down to grab something off your belt.

https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=4nr98lHZj7I

Vanishing Realms  UI
Tilt Brush has a nice 2-handed 3D UI where the multi-faceted menu appears in one hand and you select from it with the other hand

https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=3a6fmysCU1Q

Tilt Brush UI
Bridge Crew has a nice UI with (lots of) buttons that you have to 'press' with your virtual hands (controller) - including virtual overlay text to remind you which is which

https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=qcwirA895jg

Bridge Crew UI
Job Simulator has a nice UI built into the 3D environment itself based on object manipulation

https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=gtpAwGkin1g

Job Simulator UI

Whether hand held or scene based, menus may collide with other objects in the scene or be obscured by other objects in the scene. One way to avoid this is to turn z-buffering off for these menus so they are always visible even when they are 'behind' another object.

When you get into more complicated virtual worlds for design or visualization the number of menus multiplies dramatically as does the need for textually naming them so more traditional menus are more common in these domains. There are several ways to activate these kinds of menus - using the wand as a pointer to select menu items, using a d-pad to move through a menu, intersecting the wand itself with the menu items. Using a d-pad tends to work better than a pointer if you have a single menu to move through as it can be hard to hold your hand steady when pointing at complex menus.

90's classic CAVE menus 90's classic CAVE menus


90's classic CAVE CALVIN head up menus

Another option is to use a head-up display for the menu system where you look at the menu item you want to select and choose it with a controller. Here is a version of that we did back in 1995 with the additional option for selecting the menu options by voice. The HoloLens uses a similar menu system.

In Augmented Reality this can be trickier since you also have the real world involved, both in terms of the graphics, and in terms of the people you share the world with. Google glass's physical control on the side of glass worked OK for small menu systems, augmented by voice. Microsoft's HoloLens pinch gesture for selecting within the field of view of the camera didn't work quite so well, but the physical button they provided did, as long as you keep the physical button with you.


voice

One way to get around the complexity of the menus is to talk to the computer via a voice recognition system. This is a very natural way for people to communicate. These systems are quite robust, even for multiple speakers given a small fixed vocabulary, or a single speaker and a large vocabulary, and they are not very expensive. Alexa and Siri have moved into our homes and are pretty good at understanding us, but they do sometimes trigger when we don't expect them to.

However, voice commands can also be hard to learn and remember.

In the case of VR applications like the Virtual Director from the 90s, voice control was the only convenient way to get around a very complicated menu system

Classic CAVE virtual director interface from NCSA


The HoloLens makes effective use of voice to rapidly move through the menus without needing to look and pinch.


Ambient microphones do not add any extra encumbrance to the user in dedicated rooms, and small wireless microphones are a small encumbrance.

HMDs or the controllers typically include microphones which work pretty well so adding them onto AR glasses will be easy. Socially it is a question whether it will be acceptable for people to be talking to their virtual assistants.

Problems can occur in projection-based systems since there are multiple users in the same place and they are frequently talking to each other. This can make it difficult for the computer to know when you are talking to your friends and when you are talking to the computer, as can happen with Alexa and Siri. There is a need for a way to turn the system on and off, typically with a keyword, and often the need for a personal microphone if the space is noisy.

Voice is becoming much more common now for our smartphones and our homes, and our cars, as the processing and the learning can be offloaded into the cloud.


gesture recognition

This also seems like a very natural interface. Gloves can be used to accurately track the position of the user's hand and fingers. Some simple gloves track contacts (e.g. thumb touching middle finger), others track the extension of the fingers. The former are fairly robust, the latter are still somewhat fragile. Camera tracking as in the Kinect, the Quest, and AR systems can do a fairly good job with simple gestures, and are rapidly improving but still suffer from occlusion issues.

Learning new gestures may take time, as they did for tablets and trackpads.

The possibilities with tracking hands improve if you have two of them. Multigen's SmartScene from the mid 90s was a good example using two Fakespace Pinchgloves for manipulation. The two handed interaction of Tilt Brush seems like a modern version of the SmartScene interface using controllers.

Full body tracking involving a body suit or gives you more opportunities for gesture recognition, and simple camera tracking does a pretty good job with gross positions and gestures.

One issue here, as with voice, is how does the computer decide that you are gesturing to it and expect something to happen, as opposed to gesturing to yourself or another person.


Haptics

Integrating haptics into VR
a PHANToM in use as part of a cranial implant modelling application with a video here
- https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=cr4u69r4kn8

The PHANToM gives 6 degrees of freedom as input (translation in XYZ and roll, pitch, yaw) 3 degrees of freedom in output (translation in XYZ)


and a nice introductory video on the Phantom here - https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=0_NB38m86aw

You can use the PHANToM by holding a stylus at the end of its arm as a pen, or by putting your finger  into a thimble at the end of its arm.

The 3D workspace ranges from 5x7x10 inches to 16x23x33 inches

the PHANToM

and a nice introductory video here - https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=0_NB38m86aw

There is also work today using air pressure and sound to create a kind of sense of touch, though not as strong as a PHANToM, they operate over a wider area than the PHANToM.


Other issues

We often compensate for the lack of one sense in VR by using another. For example we can use a sound or a change in the visuals to replace the sense of touch, or a visual effect to replace the lack of audio.

In projection based VR systems you can carry things with you, for example in the 90s we could carry PDAs giving an additional display, handwriting recognition, or a hand-held physical menu system. Today smart phones or tablets provide the same functionality with infinitely more capabilities.

integrating handhelds into VR

In smaller fish tank VR systems, or in hybrid systems like CAVE2 you have access to everything on your desk which can be very important when VR is only part of the material you need to work with.

In Augmented Reality you have access to everything in the real world, so interacting with the real world is pretty much the same as before, especially with a head mounted AR system.




Coming Next Time

Project 2 Presentations

last revision 8/6/2020