VR hardware designers are doing what they can to ensure that VR is safe for the person in the headset, but what about the creatures you may have running around your house that don’t understand that you can’t see them?
You effectively segregate yourself from your environment, including the people and animals around you, when you put on a VR headset. HTC, Oculus, and OSVR offer perimeter-sensing safety measures to keep you from slamming into walls or tripping over furniture, but those systems don’t warn you if a curious animal wanders into your play space. For that, you’d need some kind of animal tracking system. Fortunately, a solution might not be far off—at least for Vive owners.
HTC recently started to ship Vive Tracker devices to select VR developers who have interesting ideas for its use. Unseen Diplomacy creator Triangular Pixels is one of the lucky developers that received an allocation from the first 1,000 units, and the developer is putting its tracker to use with a pet (and “small child”) tracking solution.
Katie Goode, Triangular Pixels’ Creative Director, took on the VR-tracked pet idea as a side project so she could see her pet cat with her Vive headset on. The project has two facets--the code that makes the solution work, and product development to create a comfortable and safe pet harness for the Vive Tracker. Goode said the early prototype “seems to work great,” but there’s still plenty of work to be done. In a blog post, Goode highlighted the challenges that Triangular Pixels is up against:
“We need to make sure the device can be removed very swiftly from not so patient cats/dogs, and safely come off if it gets really caught – but at the same time, stay on for the average rolling around and sleeping a pet may do. Fortunately, the tracker itself is VERY light, so is perfect for this kind of fabric hacking.”
Triangular Pixels didn’t say when it expects to release its VR-tracked pet solution, but the developer has plenty of time to refine the system, because HTC hasn’t yet set a consumer release date for the Vive Tracker.