Thanks to Ros at Digilab http://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/using-the-library/students/initiatives/digilab/ for inviting us over and showing some of her new interactive teaching and research equipment. Couple of VR/AR items and a discussion on how they would solve understanding scale and context issues for visualisation of large volume data sets.
HoloLens One of the early UK released versions of Miicrosoft HoloLens (top right image) was available and impressed due to its response and quality. The demonstrator was a game allowing you to blast holes in the walls of the room, where large robot insects would emerge and then attack you. Is a very immersive experience of Augmented Reality and worked extremely well with rapid head movements as well as correctly obscuring the right parts of the real world – so was absorbing. Discussed science based planning exercises where;
- Items on the floor – could be marked up as discovered; geology pointcloud mark-ups.
- Volumes could co-locate with real objects and be cropped/clipped on demand (“shot at” metaphor)
One key failure in this version was the small field of view – as had to move your head often and setting up the glasses on your head was an issue as took a few attempts to see most of this small FOV. This in future versions will improve – just needs more compute power and resolution!
ROVR An add on movement system (top left image) – relatively cheap one – was shown by http://www.wizdish.com/ the ROVR. A simple idea so while you are standing in a slippery bowl with slippery (low friction) shoes you can use standard VR headset and slide your feet (like walking on skies without lifting your feet). This feeds back via USB forward speed and rotational direction for very intuitive movement. Played a immersive pacman running game and again experience was great – not needing the main protection bars once sussed out balance. Highly impressed as allows:
- You can travel distances and appreciate the distance; say along a feature in a visualisation.
- Comprehend scale and distance – for example travel to a location and see scale of fature in 3D volume set – eg cavity.
Will be tricky to move from first or third person mode for viewing as not directly connected to the framework for context but worth watching and programming for.