Posts with «virtual reality» label

Drag:on varies air resistance for VR feedback

As seen here, “Standard controllers for virtual reality (VR) lack sophisticated means to convey realistic, kinesthetic impression on size, resistance or inertia.” To overcome these limitations, André Zenner and Antonio Krüger at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) have come up with Drag:on—a haptic feedback device that changes air resistance and weight distribution using a commercially-available hand fan.

Drag:on uses a pair of MG996R servos to actuate the fan, shifting its weight and air resistance as needed to simulate a virtual environment. The assembly is attached to an HTC Vive tracker, and an Arduino Nano provides control and computer interface via a USB serial link.

Drag:on leverages the airflow occurring at the controller during interaction. By dynamically adjusting its surface area, the controller changes the drag and rotational inertia felt by the user. In a user study, we found that Drag:on can provide distinguishable levels of haptic feedback. Our prototype increases the haptic realism in VR compared to standard controllers and when rotated or swung improves the perception of virtual resistance. By this, Drag:on provides haptic feedback suitable for rendering different virtual mechanical resistances, virtual gas streams, and virtual objects differing in scale, material and fill state


More details on the project can be found in the researchers’ paper here.

VR boxing robot actually punches back

VR environments are meant to be immersive, but if you’ve ever thought what was missing is being actually pummeled by robotic fists, then James Bruton’s newest project could be just the thing. 

Bruton recently teamed up with students from Portsmouth University to build a robot that works in the real world, and coordinates its movements with a virtual setting displayed on the human’s headset.

The robot itself is controlled by an Arduino Mega, and features a differential (tank) drive with encoders for feedback. Shoulders can tilt from left to right, and the actual punching motion is handled by pneumatic actuators built from modified bicycle pumps. Robo-fists are covered by boxing gloves to keep humans relatively safe, and flesh-based competitors are given a small shield and sword-bat with which to fight back!

I worked on this project with final year degree students in Computer Games Technology at Portsmouth University CCI faculty. The robot hardware is controlled over a serial interface, the team built an VR game which controls the robot, so when you get hit in VR you get hit in real life! The robot is tracked back into VR with Vive trackers so it stays in sync.

Arduino Blog 15 May 23:25

Relativty is a low-cost VR headset you can build yourself

While you’ve been hearing about virtual reality for the last 20 years or so, today the hardware required to build such a rig is finally to the point where it’s within the reach of consumers. As seen here, Relativty is a SteamVR-compatible headset that can be made for around $100.

Relativty uses a 3D-printed frame to house its 2560 x 1440 LCD screen, along with a pair of 80mm Fresnel lenses to properly focus the image. Control is accomplished via an Arduino Due and an MPU-6050 accelerometer, which feeds head-tracking info to an external gaming system. 

At this point, the device is clean though fairly basic, and will hopefully be the start of a truly excellent open source project as features are added.

FacePush adds extra realism to your VR experience

Haptic feedback is something commonly used with handheld controllers and the like. However, in a virtual reality environment, it could also be used with the other interface surface attached to your body: the VR headset itself.

That’s the idea behind FacePush, which employs an Arduino Uno-powered pulley system to place tension on the straps of an HTC Vive headset. A corresponding pushing force is felt by the wearer through the headset in response to this action, creating yet another way to help immerse users in a virtual world. 

Applications tried so far include a boxing game, dive simulator, and 360-degree guidance You can check it out in a short demo below, and read more about it in the full research paper here.

We Couldn’t Afford An Oculus, So We Built One

Like a lot of 16-year-olds, [Maxime Coutée] wanted an Oculus Rift. Unlike a lot of 16-year-olds, [Maxime] and friends [Gabriel] and [Jonas] built one themselves for about a hundred bucks and posted it on GitHub. We’ll admit that at 16 we weren’t throwing around words like quaternions and antiderivatives, so we were duly impressed.

Before you assume this is just a box to put a phone in like a Google Cardboard, take a look at the bill of materials: an Arduino Due, a 2K LCD screen, a Fresnel lens, and an accelerometer/gyro. The team notes that the screen is what will push the price unpredictably, but they got by for about a hundred euro. At the current exchange rate, if you add up all the parts, they went a little over $100, but they were still under $150 assuming you have a 3D printer to print the mechanical parts.

The system uses two custom libraries that you could use even if you wanted a slightly different project. FastVR creates 3D virtual reality using Unity and WRMHL allows Unity to communicate with an Arduino. Both of these are on the team’s GitHub page, as well.

There was one other member of the team, their math teacher [Jerome Dieudonne] who they call [Sensei]. According to [Jerome] he is “… the theoretician of the team. I teach them math and I help them solving algorithm issues.” He must be very proud and we always applaud when someone takes the time to share what they know with students.

We don’t know what’s next for this group, but we will be keeping an eye on them to see what’s next. Maybe they’ll work on smell-o-vision.

Interact with the virtual world in a whole new way

As reported by the Creative Applications Network, “Tangibles Worlds explores the effects of tactile experience as a catalyst for full immersion in VR.”

The project by Stella Speziali takes the form of three separate boxes, along with an Oculus Rift headset. When a hand is placed in one of these boxes, the user is virtually transported to another dimension of sight and sound, controlled by IR distance sensors, flex sensors, capacitive wire, and several other devices interfaced with an Arduino Mega.

Each box contains an IR distance sensor, which detects when a hand is inserted and display the virtual world attributed to the box. This new virtual world surrounds the user. A sensor is placed on each wall within the boxes, this sensor recognizes the hand and activates an animation inside the virtual world. I tried to map the sensors in the virtual universe so that a little clue is given to the user and will lead him to trigger the animations.

The idea behind this installation is to go beyond “traditional” VR controllers for entirely new level of interaction. The video seen here gives an excellent preview of the strangeness of this type of interface, though using it with a headset and sensors would likely be an altogether different experience!

Control a tracked robot with your mind (or joystick)

Whether you choose to control this vehicle with your mind or a joystick, the camera mounted on it will give you a new view of the world.

Maker “Imetomi” was inspired to create a tracked robot after he was able to salvage a camera off of a cheap drone. This became the basis of his FPV setup, which he fitted onto a little tracked vehicle. Although this would have been enough for most people, in addition to building a joystick-based controller, he also made it work with a brainwave headset.

Imetomi now has something that he can drive around virtually, spying on passersby, as long as it stays within the VR transmitter’s 50-meter range. Be sure to check out the video below, where the small bot shows of its impressive all-terrain capabilities, and read his Instructables write-up here.

 

Revealed: Homebrew Controller Working in Steam VR

[Florian] has been putting a lot of work into VR controllers that can be used without interfering with a regular mouse + keyboard combination, and his most recent work has opened the door to successfully emulating a Vive VR controller in Steam VR. He uses Arduino-based custom hardware on the hand, a Leap Motion controller, and fuses the data in software.

We’ve seen [Florian]’s work before in successfully combining a Leap Motion with additional hardware sensors. The idea is to compensate for the fact that the Leap Motion sensor is not very good at detecting some types of movement, such as tilting a fist towards or away from yourself — a movement similar to aiming a gun up or down. At the same time, an important goal is for any added hardware to leave fingers and hands free.

[Florian]’s DIY VR hand controls emulate the HTC Vive controllers in Valve’s Steam VR Tracking with a software chain that works with his custom hardware. His DIY controller doesn’t need to be actively held because by design it grips the hand, leaving fingers free to do other tasks like typing or gesturing.

Last time we saw [Florian]’s work, development was still heavy and there wasn’t any source code shared, but there’s now a git repository for the project with everything you’d need to join the fun. He adds that “I see a lot of people with Wii nunchucks looking to do this. With a few edits to my FreePIE script, they should be easily be able to enable whatever buttons/orientation data they want.”

We have DIY hardware emulating Vive controllers in software, and we’ve seen interfacing to the Vive’s Lighthouse hardware with DIY electronics. There’s a lot of hacking around going on in this area, and it’s exciting to see what comes next.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, Virtual Reality

Building a VR automatic camera tracker

Light graffiti, virtual reality, and motion control combine to make one amazing robotic sidekick.

Film making has advanced in a staggering way over the last 50 or even 10 years, but what if you were to augment your filming rig with a VR headset and add a camera that automatically tracks where a VR controller is? Jaymis Loveday did just this, and in the video below, you’ll see a very interesting result–he’s painting with light in thin air.

If you’ve ever tried light graffiti, you’re familiar with what he’s doing. The problem is figuring out what and where exactly you’ve painted, and his system seems to solve this.

Later in the video, he interacts with a virtual world while the real world is still in the shot, for a kind of mixed reality filming experience. The possibilities for this kind of interface are staggering, so hopefully we’ll see even more strange art in the future!

… it’s a project I’ve had in my mind since I first used the Vive over a year ago, at PAX Prime in Seattle. As soon as I waved the controller in front of my face and noticed the tracking speed and accuracy I started mentally designing camera tracking systems. I wanted a VR system in my life because I love games, but I needed a Vive for filmmaking science experiments.

You can see more about this rig on his website here or on the project’s Reddit post. You can also check out Loveday’s previous video tracking only version here.

The Oculus Cardboard Project: DIY Virtual Reality Gun with Tracking

I always wanted to shoot things in virtual reality but I'm broke so I did what I could. This is my attempt at an Oculus Rift style experience with Google Cardboard. This is actually a really fun project and its extremely easy to replicate. The parts cost around $15 total and will take about 45 minutes if you are new to Arduino.

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