‘DiamondFX’ – Baseball
TrinityVR’s DiamondFX is a virtual reality platform for baseball batting training and data analysis that’s aimed squarely at the major league. The company has created a mount that attaches the Vive tracker to the bottom of a regulation baseball bat.
While we’ve seen and enjoyed virtual reality baseball games in the past, there’s nothing like gripping a real bat and swinging its full weight through the air. Not only is it more immersive, but for professional data capture and analysis, players can’t be swinging with anything but the real deal.
Aside from being a little worried that I was going to seriously harm someone in the busy conference area where I was testing the system, using the bat added significantly to the experience. Because I was holding an actual bat, my swing was… well, exactly like my swing would be in real life. The proper weight (and weight distribution) ensured that my form was accurate to my actual form, rather than a parody of it (had I been mocking a swing while holding a Vive controller).
In the experience the pitcher threw balls to me (no doubt significantly slowed down for us amateurs), and after a few
misses practice swings I managed a couple of shots up the first base line (a sign that—as a right-handed batter—I’m swinging too late). DiamondFX’s slow-motion replay—which showed me the exact trajectory of the prior pitch and how I swung at it—allowed me to make some adjustments and get my hits a little closer to center field.
The cool part is that this practice can directly translate to hitting a real baseball because the essential elements are replicated 1:1 between virtual reality and actual reality, thanks to DiamondFX and the Vive Tracker.
Flaim – Fireman
Flaim is a virtual reality system designed to train firefighters. The system uses the HTC Vive Tracker as an attachment to the end of a real fire hose nozzle (where it blends in quite well), allowing the nozzle to be tracked inside the simulation. The hose is attached to a motorized reel which simulates the reverse forces that come with shooting water forward at a high pressure.
With the tracked nozzle you can put out fires by aiming and varying the water pressure. The force-feedback reel is strong enough to knock you down if you don’t brace yourself when you go full blast. Flaim also has a real firefighter’s jacket that’s equipped with heating elements that get hotter as the flames grow around you.
Training like this could work with just a normal VR controller, but the Vive Tracker opens the door to using a real hose nozzle so that you aren’t just learning the strategy of putting out a fire, but also how to operate the nozzle at the same time—once again allowing for a direct translation of the most important elements of training into the real world.
From entertainment to sports data analysis to learning how to fight fires, these uses are just a glimpse of what people will be able to do with VR when it’s easy to track any object.