When Kinect first came out, the gaming industry was overwhelmed by the weird and wonderful projects produced by the development community. Though Oculus Rift isn't yet widely available, Oculus VR has made units available to developers, and we're seeing a similar reaction as developers deliver new and interesting applications for this system. Today brings us another example of the awesome Oculus community, and this time they're throwing Kinect into the mix, too.
Oliver Kreylos has rigged up three Kinect sensors along with his Oculus Rift unit to create a 3D rendering of his body as he moves around in Riftland. The system powering this setup is a Linux machine powered by a Core i7 clocked to 3.5 GHz, 8 GB of RAM, and Nvidia's GeForce. It's connected to an external tracking server that monitors head position and wand position and orientation. The system receives raw depth and color image streams from three Kinects and drives an Oculus Rift and a secondary monoscopic view from the same viewpoint on the desktop display. As far as latency is concerned, Kreylos says that no one who has tried his system has noticed any disconnect due to latency issues. This is because his applications use raw depth and color video; latency is much lower than that of the skeletal reconstruction algorithm used by the Xbox. Even just watching the video, despite the low resolution and fuzzy nature of Kreylos' limbs, it's a trippy experience.
We've tried Oculus Rift a few times, and each time the only thing stopping us from completely losing ourselves in the virtual world created for us was the fact that when we looked down, it wasn't our own bodies that we were seeing. In fact, the first thing Chris, Marcus and I did when we tried Oculus Rift at CES was look down and try to move the virtual legs generated by the game. That one detail isn't enough to ruin the experience, but it's enough to tip your brain off that hey, this isn't real. When everything else is so immersive, that's a pretty big deal. With developers now working to overcome this detail, the future of Oculus Rift has never looked more exciting.