Anyone who has seen Avatar or the The Lord of the Rings films understands how far motion capture has come, especially in such a short space of time. The technology has also begun to steadily infiltrate other spaces such as interactive entertainment, being seen in the PlayStation exclusive The Last of Us to capture the performance of actors.
Now, players may begin to put on the suits themselves in order to be fully realised in digital worlds.
Researchers from the Emily Carr of Art and Design University in Vancouver have created the Very Immersive Virtual Experience (VIVE), a device that uses a motion capture suit and the Oculus Rift to transport players to a virtual environment.
"The initial goal of this project was to use passive optical motion capture to track an Oculus Rift to create an immersive virtual experience," the researchers explained.
"The physical Oculus Rift is motion captured and in real time with low latency the data is piped to unity to drive the virtual Oculus Rift. The output is wirelessly transmitted to the device. This results in an untethered virtual experience, which can include hands, feed or even a full body avatar."
Of course, the setup is wildly expensive, as motion capture technology is still relegated largely to professional use. Here is a breakdown of the technology involved:
- Motion Capture: A 40 camera Vicon system to gather movement data in real time;
- Rendering: The Unity Pro engine for rendering on the fly;
- Video transmission: Paralinx Arrow wireless HDMI transmitter and;
- Custom code to facilitate communication between the Vicon system and Unity.
Obviously, these are highly expensive technologies. But, slimmed down versions are likely at some point in the future. One only need look at the Oculus Rift to see how a once expensive technology can become cheaper and easier to access for consumers.