Real-time 3D position in Virtual Reality


One of the most compelling aspects of the VRCade is the ability to track a player’s 3D position and convert it into in-game coordinates. This expands the gaming potential tremendously, but like all things, it needs to be done right in order to have the desired effect. There is a fine line between a hopeful vision and solid execution.

Triangulation has been around for a while. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, essentially it means that data is sent to a target and it bounces back to the source. This happens from three points at once (TRI-angulation). Depending on how quickly the data returns, the system can tell how far it traveled before it hit its target. Done three ways, the 3D location of an object can be found.

Where the challenge for the VRCade came in was that, for most applications, latency and so-so accuracy were fine. For example, if a hospital needs to know where a patient has wandered off to, a simple system would do fine.

What we needed was a system that had FAST and ACCURATE response. Every system that was NOT optical that we looked into had some sort of disadvantage, usually around response time and accuracy. The solution became clear recently; we would need an optical tracking system.

We originally ruled out optical tracking due to occlusion problems and the fact that the area of coverage was relatively small compared to the scope of what we wanted to do. In addition, the motion capture of players would require suits that were worn over and over by sweaty people in multiple sizes with different marker configurations for each person.

However, if the only job the optical system is doing is tracking the x, y, and z position of the players and blasting that data immediately to their machine, you can get a 5 ms reaction time from the point when you move in real life to the point where the system moves your character. And the accuracy is sub-millimeter and rock solid.

Looking back into optical tracking, new advancements have been made. The cameras are expensive, but they are robust, ridiculously powerful, and sleek. They are the exact tracking tool that the VRCADE needs. In addition, the capture space is a whopping 75′ by 150’…plenty big for 4 on 4 death match.

The cameras return an incredible frame rate, giving us tons of data to work with. And, as an added bonus, it can work outside, meaning we can take the VRCADE on the road.

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