Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Reading, Placeholder, Oculus Rift, HMD's, VR

Before the reading, I did not know much about VR, 3D vision, and Head-Mounted Displays. It amazed me that the design for these products remained same today from the 1980s. I am interested in specifications and how to built head mounted displays. I began to look up some of the oldest and newest to compare the characteristics. The old and new versions both have a single display optic in the front or one for each eye. Most HMD’s have semi-transparent mirrors inside the helmet, data glasses, a visor, and some way to emit light (CRT, LCDs, LCos, OLED). 
I also found that there are many different uses for HMD’s. In 1997, Charles J. Murry, Midwest Regional Editor, posted an article about ways that head-mounted displays simplify surgery. Before the introduction of head mounted displays, surgeons often had to take a lot of time squinting their eyes to look up at television monitors. This not only distracted them, but made surgery times much longer. With the new high-resolution images projected directly to doctors, surgeries are much more efficient. For example, during a knee operation instead of trying to look back and forth to the monitor to determine which part of the knee is being operated on, doctors can position themselves as if they were looking directly into the knee with the mounted display. I found that these displays are used in other areas also such as aviation, sports, training/simulation, and engineering.
After watching many videos, I would like to try out the Oculus Rift during gaming. I am surprised that with such high tech of a device, the estimated price was not more than what was posted online. I think that in the next year or so, everyone will be using this type of device in gaming. After playing with the Oculus Rift, I do not think that people will want to play much without it. It gives that real life, in-game feeling that you would not be able to experience on a regular television.
There were many problems with the first developments of the Oculus Rift. When first created, the device had issues with latency, response times, and tracking. One of the newest devices, the Oculus Rift Development Kit 2, eliminates most of those issues. With positional tracking, the headset quickly tracks all of your head movements in the right direction. One of the coolest features that I liked was the low persistence OLED display. I know that when I have played a game in the arcade with head mounted displays, a big issue is while moving your head the picture is blurred momentarily. With the low persistence display, the picture is stable and there is no motion blur when turning your head. It is also very light, so you wont have to worry about getting tired while playing.
Watching Placeholder made me think about all the different things that go into actually creating virtual reality. I think the hardest thing would be to get the correct point of view in an environment. It would be hard to portray what we see with our eyes through a screen. The entire 360 view would be recorded and pieced together. Last week, we went to the Planetarium in our Interactive Storytelling class. It was interesting to see the fish eye point of view that surrounded us. I think the same recording settings would probably have to be used to create virtual reality. One very cool element about VR that was shown in Placeholder was point of view from different animals. Since we do not know the actually viewpoints of an animal, I do not think that we will ever actually get a correct POV but we can get close. I think that many of the techniques used in Placeholder and technology such as head mounted displays and motion tracking is all still used today. The only difference is that there is higher definition and more improved technology.

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