I'm not surprised it didn't work out, but I never imagined we had the tech even for low-resolution tiny color LCD screens back then, or the "intertial measurement unit".
I mean, I lived through those years and now I kind of have to retroactively alter what I thought was possible...
The tracking is what surprised me the most. Watching the trade show videos in the article, it's amazing how good it was with what was likely just an accelerometer.
Almost reminds me of the Data Glove, the prototype idea for the power glove controller for the NES, using fingers and tilt sensors as button inputs to the console.
The idea was prototyped in a few days by an engineer by attaching drinkings straws from your wrist to the end of your finger, shining a light on one end, and having a photo resistor to read it on the other end to see how far you've bent a finger. Super cheap low latency finger movement detection. It was later replaced with fiber optics for reliability sake.
I think it might have made people sick.
However, a likely factor in the cancellation was feedback Sega received from the Stanford Research Institute, which warned of headaches, dizziness, and sickness, particularly in younger users and children. In an episode of Retro Gamer Podcast, former CEO of Sega of America Tom Kalinske confirmed these issues as major factors in the decision to abandon the project.
Very random Jaguar fact that I love: The plastic mold for the console was later used for a wall mounted dentistry tool, which used the cartridge port in some way.
> The tilt sensor includes a transparent gas and a transparent viscous fluid in a spherical shell, a light emitting diode (LED) mounted at the top of the shell, and four photodetectors mounted at the bottom of the shell. As the tilt sensor is rotated the path of the light cone emanating from the LED and refracting at the gas/fluid interface is altered, thereby altering the intensity of light incident on the photodetectors. The magnitude of the light incident on the photodetectors is processed to provide the tilt angles. A thin transparent disk floats at the gas/fluid interface to damp surface waves caused by reorientation of the device.
This is crazy
But TIL that the paths were prepared a long time in advance for this.
Motorola was rolling out their first product around that time, which was derived from military-grade hardware. That was for automotive use (airbag sensor).
It is incredible the amount of stuff he had to solve to be able to work at the end. I think that if it were me, I would have finished the project happily after I surpassed the first obstacle, calling it a day. Kudos to everyone involved on this, really nice write up!
Note also that you can use the 3DS emulator Citra with a head-mounted VR display, and apparently it's pretty great:
So for maximum nesting doll fun, it's likely you could run the Virtual Boy emulator under Citra, and view it all on your VR headset.
For creators, there's already amazing stuff like Tilt Brush.
Part of the issue is that VR is great with super high resolution displays and 120Hz low latency simulation response. The hardware is still catching up to the dream, but it's a lot closer. It reminds me of the dream of the 1984 Macintosh or the NeXT cube, or the 1993 Newton. Software graphics rasterization on 8 MHz 68k / 20mhz ARM cpus.
I've become somewhat convinced that the killer features of VR are in how it works for social games. The ability to socialize in 3d space with regular body language present (your head and hands are positionally tracked) is great. The sense of presence from being in an all-encompassing scene in VR makes your mind feel more involved in social situations compared to a standard voice call. Having positional audio and the ability to see where other people are looking makes it easier to follow the flow of conversations. Groups can smoothly reform and break apart into multiple separate conversations just as easily as they can in real life meatspace gatherings, which is something that's much less natural in voice calls.
I'd never thought of trying that game but now it makes PERFECT sense. Thanks!
It also puts them on a virtual desk in front of you, and I was having so much fun I tried to rest my elbows on the desk. The immersion of VR is the most unique aspect of the platform.
VR has been around for a while. Why hasn’t anyone built the software that skyrockets VR to the masses. Is it because it has no real value beyond entertainment?
For example, for me, having a huge workspace with infinite amount of displays is the way to go. It would be a killer app. Its availabe today for Quest, but I still havent made the jump. The reason being is that we seem to get closer to Mixed Reality devices and THAT platform seems to have no-brainer killer apps. Including pokemon Go.
I'm always sort of impressed that I am able to have this functionality using (literally) the trash of others.
Once the resolution gets high enough that I can read small text comfortably, I plan on removing monitors from my office all together and migrating to some sort of AR terminal multiplexer. The general idea being that I can throw the headset on and wrap myself in some sort of window manager. I use a whole pile of monitors during daily work and despite needing them all during certain development projects, 50% of the time, I've got 2-3 displays sitting idle which is annoying. Having a 3 dimensional bubble of monitor space would fix this nicely for me.
I know this is what work spaces are for, but I've never been very proficient switching between them. I prefer to have all my current projects visible if I look around me.
I use an old samsung galaxy for the ground station/dispaly. Works excellently for the purpose and cost me nothing.
For work I use a DJI mavic pro with updated firmware to remove some pesky restrictions and the DJI phone home functions.
If you really want a roll your own solution, check out Ardupilot with a Navio II flight controller. This will let you construct a full flying telepresence solution to your personal specifications. Embedded Linux and ROS built in too!
Beat Saber I think could sustain the Oculus Quest at this point on its own.
When Half Lyfe starts running natively on the Quest we will probably see another explosion.
And if they get Mind Craft running on Quest there will be millions of kids playing VR for hours every day.
Feels like it was made by Apple, the screen resolution is entirely decent, it's ready to use out of the box, no PC required.
I haven't even used it for games yet, but I've already been blown away by watching movies/TV in a virtual theater on it, using Google Street View (the Wander app), and exploring a handful of virtual environments.
I think when retina-level screens take off (~4-8x current resolution, so 1080p keeps its full glory), it's going to become the norm for watching TV/movies by yourself (instead of on your phone or laptop) and watching with friends remotely.
When on-device graphics compare with PC graphics cards it'll become the norm for gaming too.
As for productivity, when the resolution comes, the big remaining question will be lens quality. The further off-center you look, the blurrier it gets. But maybe?
One of the things that I really like is the head tracking in headsets. I don't really need to look at 6 monitors at once but I want them there in my peripherals so that I can easily glance back and forth.
Humans are good at making tools invisible or subconscious extensions of our physical selves, and there's this moat that VR gets stuck in I think on the way to true integrated physical extensions. i.e., a hammer becomes consciously indistinguishable from the carpenter's hand.
TV-based gaming consoles have had 4 decades of continually improving the screen and the input device. How invisible do the newest Playstation/Xbox/Switch (pro) controllers feel in your hands now?
VR can be immersive, but in the real world outside the goggles you're not yet transparently / invisibly integrated into the physical things you're near. So you kinda don't yet trust it, and some of the cables pull you out of the experience, and things are heavy etc.
When VR can live-integrate the world around you transparently into your virtual world, and the problems with things that pull you out of that subconscious human-tool melding are fixed, then I think there's going to be some really epochal things happening.
Until then AR seems to approach that integration moat from the other side and already looks to be making its way into everyday use.
VR headsets gives your eyes visual cues that don't necessarily match that of your inner ear and body positioning. Lag between your inner ear's sensation and what your eyes see also causes problems.
Additionally your eyes aren't just a pair of fixed cameras mounts in your skull. They constantly scan (saccades) a scene and change their focus and that's that's then constructed by your visual cortex. The world doesn't have a depth of field effect applied to it, your eyes do that for you. Forcing both eyes to focus on a particular focal plane causes a lot of strain in because your eyes are not identical.
Besides human sensory input the lag and lack of precision of the game's sense of your body really fucks with your proprioception. Using a traditional controller uses small muscles with fast reaction times and little of your large motive and balance muscles. You can split your focus easily on the events and visuals of the game and work the controls.
With VR you have to make a lot larger movements and use more of your muscles for balance. Most people are not highly trained athletes their game avatars are and do not have that level of coordination or muscle endurance.
VR basically short circuits a ton of your body's senses or gives them conflicting input. Some people can adapt, many can't adapt for long, and some can't adapt at all.
I think VR could spark a comeback for arcades with really expensive immersion equipment and infrastructure. Maybe they will be more like The Void.
Edit: I never knew only around a hundred of these were produced. How lucky I was to have one near!
A friend recently brought over his Valve Index and using it felt like it was actually approaching something I could see using more than to just show off a fun gadget (as you put it). Really the big thing is the screens finally felt good enough that I was able to occasionally forget what I was looking at was because I had two monitors strapped to my face.
That said, I think I'm probably going to wait one more generation before I spend the money on a new headset. Hopefully the improvements in gen3 will comparable to those between gen1 and gen2.
I like to think of products in terms of the ah-ha moments they can deliver, so here are mine:
- The sense of presence is incredible. When you slip it on, you go to another place. When you take it off, you are surprised you are still at home. Every time.
- The intuition of using your hands and body to interact with the world reminds me of the very first time I used an iPhone touchscreen. The best games let you pick up familiar objects and interact with them in expected ways without instructions or tutorials.
- The amount of information that can be displayed. A web browser the size of a room. A YouTube video the size of an IMAX screen. I am very interested in Facebook's Infinite Office app they'll be releasing for productivity work.
- Social experiences that are absolutely unlike talking on the phone or video chat and very close to hanging out in person. The social dynamics are also changed and people tend to be much kinder, less like they are screaming into the twitter void and much like they would be in person. I think this has the potential to save us from the social media death spiral and get us talking to each other again like decent human beings. I have witnessed several actual heartfelt apologies when people get offended and it gives me hope.
- The social experiences currently can work, but without eye tracking and facial expressions you need a good amount of distracting game or group activity to cover over the gap. I think the facial expressions could work on lower fidelity cartoon avatars just fine, sort of like Apple's AR emoji.
- The screen quality is pretty much there and the rendering quality from the mobile GPU could use a boost but it's also serviceable. The biggest issue is that the fresnel lenses currently used have too much distortion and blur and cause eye strain and make the headset fidgety and uncomfortable.
- The headset is heavy and awkward to wear and put on. It really needs to be closer to a pair of big sunglasses.
- The apps and games are still in their infancy, though I think this is largely a factor of # of units sold and the low amount of development dollars invested. Facebook and Valve have been making good contributions here but it will take more before there is a self-sustaining software ecosystem.
wptr++; /* Skip number of sprites in frame */
wptr++; /* Skip hotspot offset */
Yea... I wouldn’t have found that so easily I don’t think. I don’t just increment pointers like that, and trying to determine intent of someone else’s code where there are just two random increments... this guy must be a lot sharper than me!
Maybe it’s just me, but I rarely use ptr++ to jump over like that. I’m more likely to use ptr that isn’t “destructive” to the location you started with.
(Whether you want this or not, who can say! - though I claim you typically do.)
I believe VR is coming very close to going main stream, probably in less than 5 years from now. Oculus Quest 2 is IMO by far the best overall VR device ever, and things will only improve from here. That's why I've recently made a career change to work full time on VR application development, I truly think this is the next big computing platform.
A VR headset in 1993 for $200 USD!?
Other similar products include: Apple Newton, Microsoft SPOT Watch, General Motors EV1, Kodak digital camera, etc.
My question is, which products are out right now, which are way too head of their time?
Edit: lolokhn https://i.ibb.co/9VcJtCn/00-ACECC5-A03-F-4988-8286-99-E7650-...
I do use a lot of uBlock list that remove annoyance, but made some important content disapear sometimes...