jDome – an interview of John Nilson

One day, John Nilson, a 38 years old swedish system engineer, decided he wanted to play in an immersive environment and that everybody should have the same chance. So he created the jDome:

And so as I’m in a big trend of making interviews, here’s his interview :

– How is the project born ?

I’ve always been interested in VR, I even wrote a paper on it back in 94 and thought we would all wear goggles by now. But that didn’t happen, because the tech doesn’t work for the consumer market at the moment, for a number of reasons, which the jDome solves – now.

My main inspiration has been visits to a local omnimax theater. When I’ve been watching the movies, I’ve thought – it feels like I’m here, flying over grand canyon; what if I try this at home? So I made a prototype out of regular printer paper (you can see images at gallery.jdome.com) and saw that it worked. I got some funding to make a better prototype and get a patent.

– What’s the material of the dome ?

It is a thin white plastic – almost like paper actually. It isn’t the finished material, though.

– On the video we can see that the material is not perfectly stretched on the sides, will you improve that ?

Yes of course, but I can assure you that it doesn’t bother you when you play, because that is in your peripheral view – all you need there is motion. (Watch other movies about the jDome and see what other people say)

– When do you think you’ll have a production line ?

We hope to get it out by next summer.

– What will be the launch price?

We are aiming for $200, but then there is the cost of a projector if you don’t have one.

– For the jDome to be successful, the targeted games should support a change in FOV (and as you say moving around the HUDs). How big a challenge is that ?

You can of course play without changing the FOV, it is as immersive actually. But when you have the chance to get near 180 degrees field of view, why not crank up the FOV in the game if you can? We don’t set it to 180, because that needs a special driver/ option in the game, but we can set it to 125 and the game still works great and the objects you see in the corner of your eye is actually to the left or right in the game world.

As far as the HUD elements are concerned, it depends on the game – Call of Duty 4 for instance, has the compass (where you’re supposed to go next) in the center of the screen, and that’s all you really need. There is plenty of ammo to go around and if you ignore the effect of your eyes popping out when you get hurt, you always get messages in the center of the screen when you should get to cover.

We don’t have any plans to change any games – we feel that enough games work “out of the box”, at least as far as PC-games are concerned.

If the jDome takes off, the modders will want their games to work with the jDome, and we think that applies for the game developers as well.

Thanks for your time John and hope to have that with stereoscopy and tracking at home for $200, say for next christmas?  :p

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5 Comments

  1. On which aspects did he get a patent?

    We also have an older eLumens visionstation here in the office and it’s pretty much the same concept except his material is flexible and he doesn’t use a fish-eye lens…

  2. Hi, sorry I didn’t get back to you earlier – I didn’t see the comments 😉

    I have patent on a foldable domed screen in conjuntion with a projector.

    However – the product needs further development, which inclines new patents we need to file. We are not after stopping others to do domes, but we want “fredom to operate” as the patent mongers call it 🙂

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