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  • Wed 31 Jan 2007

    Virtools VR Library 2.0.5

    Published at 17:14   Category VR Applications  

    An update of the VR Library (formerly known as the VRPack) is now downloadable.

    Read more…

    Sun 28 Jan 2007

    Atrium Experience in a HMD

    Published at 17:36   Category Game, VR Applications  

    The guys that made Atrium, Alex Bouchet and Lionel Dominjon, are very cool guys, they gave us the sources of the first VR only FPS! Geoffrey modified it to use the VRNR, Virtools VR abstraction, so that the game is abstracted from the knowledge of the devices/display. Thus it can run on nearly any VR hardware, simply by changing a few configuration lines. We’re thinking about including that with the VR library, what do you think? ;)

    This is what VR Geeks do when their day is off :

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    Related Posts : Atrium Experience, Virtools VRPack in action

    Sun 28 Jan 2007

    New multi-touch screen demo

    Published at 12:24   Category Tech, VR Displays  

    Just in case you haven’t already seen it this week.

    Jeff Han and Phil Davidson are back to demonstrate their multi-touch interface.

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    Thu 25 Jan 2007

    WiiRobot and a sword

    Published at 14:05   Category Tech, VR Devices  

    That’s pretty cool!

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    More infos at TechEBlog

    Wed 24 Jan 2007

    eMagin z800 price increased by 2.5, and some words about other HMDs

    Published at 18:36   Category VR Displays, Virtual Reality DIY  

    The eMagin Z800 was the closest thing to a good consumer HMD, at a somewhat affordable $599. The only reason why I didn’t buy it yet is that I haven’t been able to test it yet. But last week eMagin decided to increase the price to a much much less affordable $1,499.00, with the hardware being exactly the same ! ! !

    It seems that eMagin is much less interested in gamers than in commercial an military applications, although their webpage still puts a lot of emphasize on gaming.
    I’m really surprised and sad about that fact. Does it mean the market is still not ready? Will a price increase help the consumer market? Will the price decrease once the commercial market is good enough? Why don’t they make a commercial price and a consumer price, just like 3dConnexion Space Navigator SE?

    For the last two weeks I have been able to test a Virtual Research V6 (640×480) and a Virtual Research 1280 (1280×1024) both with a 60° field of view diagonal. And guess what? the V6 is much more comfortable to use! Even if you have big pixels, having a constant head movement (read, you’re not still) and putting some antialising gives a really great immersion feeling.

    This is due to the optic lens that stands between your eyes and the displays. The lens of the V6 is much more tolerant to where you put your eyes. Even if you’re not exactly where the eye is supposed to be, you won’t be bothered by the induced deformation. This is more a problem on the VR 1280, and much, much more a problem on the piSight Sensics.

    I’d still like to try the eMagin z800 though, but also the Trimersion HMD which seems to have a tracking option.

    Are they other options out there for an affordable 3D HMD, possibly with tracking?

    Fri 19 Jan 2007

    Mercedes and VR

    Published at 9:50   Category VR Applications  

    Here are some articles about the use of VR at Mercedes / Daimler-Chrysler.

    The first at CarAndDriver.com :

    Ride/handling simulators and virtual reality coves also advanced the design [of the 2008 Mercedes Class-C] to a very mature level as prototypes were built, allowing more time for actual road testing, according to Mercedes-Benz. And though we haven’t had a chance to drive the car itself—at least not in real reality (we did play with it in virtual reality, though)—the new C-class promises the kind of refinement, quietness, comfort and performance heretofore unseen in the C-class.

    Then two from FindArticles.com : VR Streamlines Mercedes’ Development Process (2001)

    [In April 2001] Daimler-Chrysler (DC) opened a new Virtual Reality Center at its Mercedes-Benz passenger car development center in Sindelfingen, Germany. (…) After only a few months of operation, this supercomputer-driven visualization facility proved so useful that the members of DC’S executive strategy board now approve designs using virtual images instead of physical properties. (…) When it’s not entertaining visitors, the Powerwall serves as the portal to DC’s CATIA-generated data bank. Car designers, fluid-dynamics engineers and ergonomics experts collaborate to solve problems well before the physical prototype stage. Rough concepts can be viewed in everyday traffic.

    The Cave

    (…) the viewer takes a seat inside an 8 foot open cube to be immersed in an holographic sea. A-pillars, the instrument panel and the external world appear as ghost-like, 3-D images. With each nod of the head or twist of the neck, the perspective changes convincingly. Though it lacks the fine detail of the 2-D Powerwall, the Cave is useful for ergonomic analysis and evaluating designs for manufacturing and service accessibility.

    They still had Silicon Graphics at the time !

    The next article is about Mercedes’ virtual reliance (Oct 2003):

    “Virtual reality is the backbone of engineering for us,” says Dr. Bharat Balasubramanian, vice president of development for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. (…) The importance of VR at Mercedes can be assessed from the fact that the VR center opened a mere three years ago in April 2000, but was doubled in size a year later. Now it’s a critical part of Mercedes’ ambitious plan to make twice as many new models in half the time it did just a few years ago. (Ten new vehicles in the four year period ending with 2005 is the goal.)

    Balasubramanian says the initial hurdle that VR had to overcome was convincing executives that were used to seeing and touching clay models that they could make design decisions based solely on 3-D projections. The development of the SLK, he explains, helped accomplish this in that the executives saw that their VR-based decisions were precisely reflected in physical models. Now every development program has a digital phase that simulates packaging, functionality, assembly and durability, and leads directly to the creation of a physical model.

    (…) Although a great deal of public attention is on the simulation of entire vehicles, 70% of all VR simulation time at Sindelfingen is centered on component-level work: checking the relationship of parts of one another. Ergonomic studies also consume lots of time in the VR environments known as “CAVEs” (Cave Automatic Virtual Environments), where full-size, 3D images are projected on three walls. For example, to test driver ergonomics, special interior bucks are rolled into the CAVEs that employ force feedback to combine with the VR images and create realistic driving experiences. Also, 800 Sindelfingen workers, who have been classified by height and weight and indentified as test subjects, “drive” the bucks to help Mercedes ensure that future vehicles can be operated by a wide range of people.

    (…) While reducing the time and costs associated with building physical prototypes are usually cited as the chief reasons (…) [Balasubramanian] expects that even with the extensive use of VR the development of all-new vehicles will still take between 30 and 40 months. And though this time is significantly shorter than in the pre-VR era and is the key to Mercedes aggressive new model plan, speed is not the main goal. “We are trying to achieve high product maturity,” he says, “We’re not trying to be the fastest.”

    Thu 18 Jan 2007

    Create your own Open-Source 3D Printer for $2’400

    Published at 20:22   Category 3d, Tech  

    Here’s a video of a project from Fab@Home, “a cheap self-assembly device capable of fabricating 3D objects” as described by News Scientist.

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    “We are trying to get this technology into as many hands as possible,” Malone told New Scientist. “The kit is designed to be as simple as possible.” Once the parts have been bought, a normal soldering iron and a few screwdrivers are enough to put it together.

    (…)

    Malone and Lipson hope Fab@Home will grow into a community of enthusiasts who share designs for 3D objects and even modify the machines for themselves. This will prompt the emergence of widespread personal fabrication, Lipson hopes.

    (…)

    “We think it’s a similar story to computers,” he explains. “Mainframes had existed for years, but personal computing only took off in the late seventies.” A cheap self-assembly computer called the Altair 8800, launched in 1975, sparked the rapid development of personal computing

    (…)

    Bowyer adds that (…) “I can imagine people swapping plans of things to make online, or paying to download them instead of going to the shop.”

    Wed 17 Jan 2007

    Fighting the Front

    Published at 19:16   Category Metaverse  

    Here are some pictures of the fight in Second Life to get the french extremist party Le FN out. Here’s a story where the pictures come from.

    Mon 15 Jan 2007

    Use of virtual reality spreading in business world

    Published at 10:55   Category VR Applications  

    Here’s a well written introductory article to what VR is today and how business is using it increasingly. There’s a small technological glitch in it, will you find it? ;)

    Read more…

    Sun 14 Jan 2007

    Wiirtools

    Published at 23:52   Category VR Devices, Virtual Reality DIY  

    At last, the use of a Wiimote inside Virtools! You don’t even need a specific BB, only read values from a virtual joystick or emulate keystrokes.
    Thanks to Carl Kenner for GlovePie and Deon van der Westhuysen for PPJoy.

    (Sorry for the darkness of videos..)

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    GlovePie allows you to emulate keystrokes, mouse movement and joystick movements depending on other devices input or events. For example if your Wiimote X acceleration vector is more than a certain threshold, you can script GlovePie so that it simulates a keystroke on the Left key. If your game uses the Left key, using the Wiimote will have the same behavior. Or move the mouse left …
    PPJoy allows the creation of virtual joysticks in Windows. You then script Glove Pie to map the Wiimote datas to this virtual joystick, effectively enabling the Wiimote in any joystick-based game. Or in Virtools, simply use a Joystick Waiter.

    The car demo shows the use of GlovePie to emulate keystrokes. The tilt and roll demo is using the values of the accelerometers to compute the tilt and roll angle of the Wiimote.
    Getting the yaw (heading orientation) needs the sensor bar. The translations are also kind of hard to extract, since you don’t know if an acceleration is due to a rotation or a translation (see Wiimote Motion Analysis for more on this). But David said he’ll give it a try, so let’s wait =)

    Here’s the Pie script for the Car composition (which you can find in your VRPack/Samples/Tests folder), the Pie script for the tilt/roll and the CMO.

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