In the past year my primary goal was to achieve full body tracking with only 3 trackers each supporting 6 degrees of freedom. I can state now that I have reached this goal and I am so excited that I want to share this with everybody. However, my conservative side tells me to finish InstantVR v2 completely first before showing anything. My excitement won my internal battle though and therefore I present you the InstantVR v2 Preview!
In the past year I have done lots of demos using InstantVR and my work before that. Although I received a lot of positive comments I always had to instruct people to stay at the starting position. This is incredible difficult to do while in VR, so almost in every case I had to literally push the people back to their starting position. The consequence of this physical drift as I call it, is that the hand tracking will be off by every centimetre they have moved. Their virtual hands often moved into their body or outside their view. Of course, this did no lead to a great experience.
The obvious solution is to have a body tracker which registers where the body is, but I never actually believed this was necessary. The head position should have enough information about where the body is. For example: when the head moves 1 meter forward horizontally, you know this cannot be done by bending forward: it is necessary for the avatar to walk forward. InstantVR builds on this idea and shows that it is indeed possible to determine the body position from the head position.
It seems that this approach now becomes my signature of how to deal with avatar movements. Earlier, in my virtual time travel period, I already wrote about determining the body rotation from the hand positions and bending forward from the hand positions (which should not be used any more now that we have positional head tracking!). Raw tracker information proved to contain a lot of information.
Besides correcting physical drift, this algorithm also gives us something else: physical walking. With current Rift and Hydra this is not of much use: the wires severely limit the distance you can walk. However the upcoming Sixense STEM is wireless with a range of 8 foot (radius) gives more space to walk around in. WorldViz for example offers a wide-area walking system which could be supported by this.
InstantVR version 2 has not been released yet. It needs a lot of testing and it contains some issues which I want to remove before releasing it. However, from today I have a preview demo which shows you what it can do using the Oculus Rift DK2 and Razer Hydra. Try it out now and be just as exited as I am!