So it was interesting hearing you guys take on VR and AR, but it was very limited in scope and felt like something from the 90’s. To be clear, I am not exactly a VR or AR expert but over the last 30 years I have dipped my toe in and first been excited and then disappointed. That may soon change but let me give you a little run down of my experiences.
Hot on the heels the ST:NG holodecks a flood of 3D products made their way to shelves.
The Sega VR Headset
The Virtual I/O i-Glasses (you can see which marketing came up with that name.)
But the one I had, and for the life of me I cannot remember where or why I bought it, was the Forte VFX1 3D-headset
This was quite an adventure, even though you looked a bit of a dork playing with it.
It was a surprisingly sophisticated device that as well as having a proprietary ISA card that hooked into your video card and the controller and would take any image and make it stereo by off setting things to individual screens on the headset. It had head tracking in so much as the pitch yaw and rotation could all be detected and a really nifty and I think clever design for and input controller called a Cyber Puck.
This was remarkable effective as it too could detect movement and so you would hold it in your hand almost like a joystick and be able to turn the wrist and move around. I so want a wireless version of this but I guess it was patented because I never saw one.
I did manage to decode it’s inputs though and was able to use it in Linux as a regular 3 button mouse, but it turns out sitting down and using it was not as nice as standing and using it.
I made some headway on getting the video translation card to be recognised and could throw command sequences at it and try and get things to work, but the company Forte would only send me user manual and not anything I wanted with regard to the hardware. Then the company folded and well I just lost interest.
That was until Oculus came around. Back in the early days of their formation, they were all about open source and Linux and actually had a SDK for use with their product. So at the time I was less about gaming and more about trying to help out a family member with poor vision. So I bought the Rift dev kit which came in a really nice case and had all I needed to develop on.
Being able to customise a field of view was very important in being able to make things easier for them to see things with limited sight.
When I wasn’t doing that though, I was playing Half-Life 2 with it, and it was AWESOME. Playing “We Don’t Go To Ravenholm” was super creepy and really disorientating, and really did feel like you were being chased by zombies.
I was really enjoying it, right up until the moment they SOLD OUT to facebook. (not, got bought by) and I knew the writing on the wall. When the community heard about the sale we pressed Oculus on if they would continue to support Linux and lying Lucky Palmer said sure, why not? He then, flat out, went back on his word as soon as his bonus for FB was cashed.
I was disgusted and swore off Oculus forever more. It was such a stab in the back, and I was furious and swore I would never buy another VR or AR device unless it was properly supported by Linux.
And so today I have not bought any more VR kit…
… However, I have become really excited about one product and I cannot believe you did not mention it as it will be availible really soon.
They are doing something incredible that really has to be seen to be believed. It is all the brain child of an absolutely awesome lady whose resume would make most geeks blush but actually has made her into this force of nature with a passion that is really just stunning.
Jeri Ellseworth is just such a pioneer. I could wax lyrical about how it all works, but I will just point you to the video that I saw which changed my mind and back it wholeheartedly.
So yeah, who wants VR or AR when you can have table-top holograms instead This is where augmentation needs to go, a shared user experience and not just a single person shooter one.
EDIT: A new podcast interview has landed, going into more details for people to learn more.
EDIT2: Found a new video demo that really gives a feel for what it is.
EDIT3: A Good explanation of why Tilt Five is very different. Old video