After I got to check out the forerunner to PrioVR, Yost donned the PrioVR prototype to demonstrate its capabilities. They haven’t yet integrated it into the Unity or UDK demos, but they did have it running with their internal Mocap Studio software. Rigged up to the tracking points was the upper body of a human skeleton (remember, the PrioVR prototype I saw was only upper body).
As expected, I saw Yost’s actions mirrored on the screen by the skeleton. The demo uses a similar kinematic walking model as the Unity and UDK integration, but because it was only an upper body, I watched as Yost caused the skeleton to walk around using only it’s hands — it was pretty creepy.
Beyond seeing a creepy skeleton run around on its hands, the demo showed me something impressive. I had Yost sit down in a swivel chair to see how the system would handle repetitive spins in multiple directions. This is exactly the type of scenario where I would expect to find accumulation errors from a purely IMU based system — where small errors add together to reveal large drift. To my surprise, PrioVR seemed spot on as Yost swiveled in the chair and always ended up facing back where he started.
Though I was initially skeptical of an IMU-based system, I came away quite impressed with PrioVR — it seems like an entirely viable option for VR motion tracking.
After spending the day with Yost and Morrison and hearing them talk tech, I came away with the realization that these are some very smart folks.
Yost told me that he started his career in academia but was frustrated by producing exciting research the ended its life as a publication rather than a product. He co-founded YEI Technology so that he could see his work put to use — and it is — the company is responsible for AI technology that’s being used in the healthcare field, among other projects like 3-Space. They’re also running their own manufacturing operation for their products.
I get the sense the YEI Technology is pursuing PrioVR not because they have to, but because they want to. And for that reason, I have little doubt that they will pull it off.
Full Disclosure: YEI Technology is running a PrioVR ad on Road to VR.