Using a Kinect 2, French firm Dassault Systemes has recently demonstrated a solution to some of the problems associated with the isolating nature of modern VR headsets. The company has prototyped a system that not only allows you access to a basic visual representation of your surroundings, but also lets you highlight a specific area around you for the purpose of preventing collisions with the real world.
Do you live in constant fear of accidentally knocking over drinks while in VR? Well, a project from the ‘Passion for Innovation Institute‘, an R&D lab within Paris based Dassault Systemes, is prototyping solutions to this very issue with the help of a Kinect for Windows v2.
The system is called ‘Never Blind in VR’ and offers a few benefits that may help you avoid crying over spilt milk altogether, as well as letting you know when you’re about to bump into friends in Meatspace.
VR segment starts around 2:08
‘Never Blind in VR’ allows you to superimpose either a third person or ’emulated first person’ real world view over your virtual surroundings, albeit the sort of grainy and imprecise images we’ve come to expect from the Kinect’s image-based 3D reconstructions. But the most outstanding feature is the ability to create a sort of ‘real world distance fog’, relegating the draw distance of the Kinects’s imaging data to a predefined bubble around you—and when it comes to knocking over beers onto expensive mechanical keyboards, we’ll take all the help we can get.
As the puzzle pieces come together, systems like ‘Never Blind in VR’ give us a peek into what the future of full-body positional tracking may hold. Despite any misgivings regarding image quality, it’s good to see researchers prototyping forward-thinking solutions to problems related to the future of both seated and standing experiences in VR.