3D, Virtual Reality, And Immersive Technology At The U Of OIT

Fewer than four years have passed since 3D Blu-ray technology was first made available. Before that, the only stereoscopic movies you could buy included a handful of anaglyph (red/blue) DVDs. And true 3D-capable televisions were not really available in the consumer space. Although it's true that the new media format didn't explode like some anticipated/hoped it would, at least 3D aficionados now have fairly mainstream access to hardware and content that most people didn't even dream of in 2007. That was the year I wrote my first stereoscopic 3D article, Wall-Sized 3D Displays: The Ultimate Gaming Room. In order to put that piece together, I used a 1024x768 DLP projector with an 85 Hz refresh rate. It was completely reliant on eDimensional's extremely buggy drivers to play games, and those were about all the setup could handle; there simply were no 3D movies to buy. Now, 3D Blu-rays discs are on the shelves at Wal-Mart and the Oculus Rift is nearing consumer availability.

Back in 2007, 3D was in the hands of hardcore fringe enthusiasts, and reliable information was very had to come by. My research always led me back to the forums at Meant To Be Seen (mtbs3d.com), an organization that claims to be the world's first stereoscopic 3D certification and advocacy group. MTBS was started and presided over by Neil Schneider, a gentleman who is tenaciously passionate and driven when it comes to immersive technology. In an indirect way, he had a hand in the Oculus Rift story. John Carmack (co-creator of the iconic Doom PC game franchise) first contacted Palmer Luckey (the Rift's young inventor) on the MTBS forums.

I contacted Neil by email once when I was researching an article, and was immediately impressed with his breadth of knowledge and willingness to share it. We keep in touch and occasionally discuss developments in 3D and virtual reality hardware. Neil is now the manager of immersive technology services at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and he gave me a standing invitation to drop by if I was ever in the neighborhood.

Was I interested in a personal tour of new cutting-edge immersive technologies such as the Oculus Rift, Epson's Moverio augmented-reality glasses, and the Virtual Reality Cave? Would I like to check out what students in the Game Development and Entrepreneurship program come up with? For a 3D geek like me, all of that sounded like a rare opportunity. I gladly took Neil up on his offer earlier this year during a business trip to Toronto.

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18 comments
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  • xkm1948
    Hopefully the development of neuroscience will help sending signals directly to one's cortex without being processed by vision system. It is already doable in auditory system, although it is still indirectly stimulus of cortex. With a better understanding of cortex mapping, we may finally be able to get signals directly into brain without all the sensory organs!
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  • clonazepam
    baby steps... baby steps. I dont see how that's possible without destroying healthy brain tissue during the learning process, so it'll never happen. Maybe some lab rats might get to enjoy some corridor run-throughs from the latest ID software, Quake 37 or something, but that's about it.

    I like the idea of several companies coming together to build a market to share with each other. That'd be nice. I've got a 3D Vision ready monitor and glasses. I messed around with it some when I first got it, but the quality of the experience from one game to the next was anything but consistent. Longer play sessions were interrupted by having to recharge the glasses too.

    I'm still hopeful that we get there someday. It's nice to know there's a group of people out there to decide where "there" is, and help define it as we move toward it.
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  • etaxdoa
    what do I do with my vuzix 1200 wrap once Rift hits retail?
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  • piklar
    Bunch o Chickmagnets.... things will get interesting when Occy R goes retail , cant help but think they will be hard pressed to keep up with demand "how could you NOT want one?" exciting times ahead..
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  • bystander
    Quote:
    Hopefully the development of neuroscience will help sending signals directly to one's cortex without being processed by vision system. It is already doable in auditory system, although it is still indirectly stimulus of cortex. With a better understanding of cortex mapping, we may finally be able to get signals directly into brain without all the sensory organs!

    While that may be interesting, and very useful for the blind, part of the experience we have with 3D is processing it in the same manner we do in real life. Through our eyes.

    I am a big fan of 3D Vision myself. I really wish all the poor versions of 3D never existed, so people would stop calling it bad or a gimmick, because in the right games, it is truly awesome. 3D Vision has a great mod community that fixes a lot of games too, using the Helix mod, for those into 3D, it is a must to use their mods.
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  • sebkow
    we had a blast having you at our school
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  • sebkow
    Though it is UOIT and not U of OIT :)
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  • bnot
    "Back in 2007, 3D was in the hands of hardcore fringe enthusiasts, and reliable information was very had to come by." ?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtuality_(gaming)

    Virtuality is a line of virtual reality gaming machines produced by Virtuality Group, and found in video arcades in the early 1990s.[1] The machines deliver real time (less than 50ms lag) gaming via a stereoscopic visor, joysticks, and networked units for multi-player gaming.
    Initially introduced in 1991, the systems were developed for industry, where the first two networked systems were sold to British Telecom Research Laboratories to experiment with networked telepresence applications. Many other systems were sold to corporations including Ford, IBM, Mitsubishi and Olin. Professional virtual reality systems included the launch of the Ford Galaxy in virtual reality and a virtual trading floor for the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (LIFFE).[2] However, the users' thrill of talking and mutually interacting with each other as virtual characters refocused the company's direction.....


    http://www.cybermind.nl/Our%20Products/VR%20LBE%20Systems/visette_01.gif
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  • Shankovich
    Wat UOIT is doing this stuff? LOL wow I should go visit. When I was applying to university 4 years ago they were offering insane entering scholarships because they were so new, $8000 a year if you had an average above 90%. Glad to see they're doing so well!
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  • Verrin
    I went to UOIT for nuclear science. It's a neato school, the high costs of tuition is because you're renting a laptop with expensive software suites on it (cost is more for the software than the hardware). I sort of cringed everytime the author said "U of OIT". No one calls it thaaaaaat. It's UOIT.
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  • cleeve
    I know it's UOIT guys, but it's not exactly a common acronym like MIT.

    I added the flourish so that people would infer that it's a university, sorry if it stepped on some sensibilities, not my intention. :)
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  • TeraMedia
    U of OIT helped clarify for me that it was a university, indeed.

    Cool stuff guys. This is the first time I've ever even contemplated going back to school for something.
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  • cleeve
    154230 said:
    "Back in 2007, 3D was in the hands of hardcore fringe enthusiasts, and reliable information was very had to come by." ? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtuality_(gaming) Virtuality is a line of virtual reality gaming machines produced by Virtuality Group, ...



    Your response has absolutely nothing to do with my statement. I never said virtual reality never existed before 2007, I said "3D was in the hands of hardcore fringe enthusiasts, and reliable information was very had to come by".

    It was.
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  • wip99gt
    I've found Tridef and Vorpx to be much better drivers for the rift than Vireio. I do like that Vireio is free though and the first time I tried it with Dear Esther was my first holy s**t moment with the rift. Now I just need to wait for an omni.
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  • Enterfrize
    Just a heads-up that Vireio Perception 2.0 is out on November 28th, and it's eons apart from the first release. Also, when this article as published, MTBS has a MAJOR server crash. It's finally up again - sorry for the inconvenience.

    Regards,
    Neil
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  • wip99gt
    That's great. The more support for VR the better.
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  • velocityg4
    I didn't see any 3D equipment in the article. Everything is 2D simulations of 3D that trick your eyes into seeing 3D. It's not true 3D where you can move around and look at something from any angle. That's what I am waiting for.

    Also all the 3D tech I have seen gets choppy and disorienting during any action fast action. I find that when I'm stuck watching something in 3D I just cover one eye to get rid of all the choppy screens and blurriness. Frankly with current tech I get a mild feeling of nausea and vertigo viewing 3D. I absolutely hate that to watch a movie on a large theater screen I'm stuck with 3D if I want 2D I have to view it on a small theater screen.

    Also the 3D never looks quite right. More like 2D objects placed at varying distances.
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  • bystander
    112024 said:
    I didn't see any 3D equipment in the article. Everything is 2D simulations of 3D that trick your eyes into seeing 3D. It's not true 3D where you can move around and look at something from any angle. That's what I am waiting for. Also all the 3D tech I have seen gets choppy and disorienting during any action fast action. I find that when I'm stuck watching something in 3D I just cover one eye to get rid of all the choppy screens and blurriness. Frankly with current tech I get a mild feeling of nausea and vertigo viewing 3D. I absolutely hate that to watch a movie on a large theater screen I'm stuck with 3D if I want 2D I have to view it on a small theater screen. Also the 3D never looks quite right. More like 2D objects placed at varying distances.


    What you want is not practical. To have some form of holographic space you can move in and look at from all angles would take enormous amounts of space. You'd have to dedicate rooms to it.

    However, the Oculus Rift does come close, as it allows you to turn your head to change the view. You get depth from the stereoscopic 3D.

    The "3D" you consider acceptable is not practical due to space requirements.
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