Let’s face it, there’s a large proportion of people reading this post that hold a secret (or not so secret) desire to kick Imperial ass using nothing but the Force and a Lightsaber.

Well a hacker named Benjamin Teitler just uploaded a video of him living out that fantasy courtesy of some a custom Oculus Rift based setup and what looks to be a slightly disturbing looking motion capture dungeon.

The video features Benjamin donning a DK1 fed by a wireless HDMI feed, a super long USB cable for head tracking and a customised motion captured lightsaber stand-in. Although the video shows only a glimpse of the in-Rift results of Benjamin’s saber-twirling, it looks extremely responsive. The below video below however does show a closeup view of what looks like a custom application featuring a training drone, much like the one seen in the original Star Wars movie.  Motion capture duties are provided by 12 Optitrack Flex 13 Cameras, a serious set up and no mistake. We can’t help feel a little jealous.

We’ll see if we can find out more on the project and report back.

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded RiftVR.com to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • sponge101

    Really impressive. The upcoming Star Wars films should incorporate this in some of their marketing messages. “You too can be a Jedi.”

    The enemy of vr has and always will be cables. Wonder how soon we can cut the cords?

    • Druss

      I think components (batteries, circuitry, chips, cpu’s, etc.) using graphene will do it.

    • bteitler

      You can absolutely do wireless Oculus Rift already with various techniques, though you have to make some minor trade-offs for each, The biggest problem is there aren’t great consumer products available to do it out of the box, even though the technology exists already to do it. Here are the techniques I’ve tried:

      The easiest is a laptop in a backpack (I have 4.5 pound gaming laptop that works pretty well), but you pay the penalty of having a large weight on your back + rendering limitations of mobile hardware. Streaming position from the motion capture system can be done however you wish (I just use my home 5GHz router) as position is low bandwidth and you are way less sensitive to position irregularities than head tracking angles.

      The second way is to use a wireless USB product for head tracking, but you can (or at least I can) only find 5GHz or lower products right now for USB and they typically have interference issues in most common home environments (it’s complete crap in my apartment). It also doesn’t feel as good because the Rift’s tracking software does not expect the packet loss and latency that you get with even a fairly solid wireless connection, so additional filtering is likely required to make it a good experience. I’d really like to see a 60GHz Video + USB product, as the HDMI product I have is solid as a rock. 60GHz just bounces off everything so you’ll never have interference from neighbors or anything like that.

      Last technique is just to use motion capture for head tracking so the only communication you need is the wireless HDMI at 60GHz. The problem here is that (cheap) optical systems are jittery so some heavy filtering + predictions tricks or a really really solid calibration of the cameras is required. Even then, it will be super hard to compete with IMU tracking at 1000Hz sampling rate. For example, the cameras I have are 120 frames a second. I have yet to get this working any where near satisfactory yet, but I’m going to keep working on it.

      • Paul James

        Thanks for the update Benjamin – great system you have there.

        Can I ask – what do you do for a living that you have such an exotic setup?

        • bteitler

          I have a full time software development job (not in the games or VR industry, although I want to someday work in one of those). The price of these things has come down tremendously though, so it is certainly not out of reach of serious hobbyists with normal jobs. People spend way more money than I did on things that are no use to me like sports cars and beer. I’m hoping a STEM system with multiple bases (I think they say 3 will be supported in their FAQ) will allow more people to have a system like this for a lot cheaper, but we’ll have to see how much magnetic warping there is in common environments and how that effects you when you are moving around quickly.

          • Faxvoice Romulator

            will laptop in a bag work with the STEM? I would imagine it would not, since the base is also moving (positional problems)

            i’m okay sitting down for now. if i want to upgrade to something more mobile i imagine razr will have drummed up a solution by then (blade, or something)

          • bteitler

            STEM will absolutely work! The STEM base(s) are stationary and the controllers are wireless. As far as I can tell, you won’t even need a second computer for this setup. It’s actually the super ideal solution to the problem as you don’t have occlusion issues or require complex calibration like you do for optical, assuming the field warp from your environment is acceptable (the big unknown at this point – they are working on IMU + magnetic right now to help with this). It almost certainly won’t be as precise as optical, but it may still be a good experience for 1/20th the cost of optical.

      • snake0

        4.5 pounds is heavy? pffft, do you even lift brah?

  • Chris Given

    That has the makings of my dream VR title… I would like to see a Jedi Knight game where you have to use a lightsaber like you would in real life and your force powers are controlled with hand gestures!! Then…. Only then…. A Jedi will you be!!

  • bteitler

    Here’s the in game render that goes along with the first video (they aren’t synced perfectly so you”ll have to offset a few seconds to watch together): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5gBoa3oS5E

    Latency of the 60GHz HDMI transmitter is unnoticeable so everything feels true 1 to 1.

  • Vae

    Nice work, Benjamin…I look forward to your progress.

  • Tuji De Assis Moreira

    Guys, how does he transmit the usb sigal from the oculus to the computer ?