You know, it’s moments like these when I realize how much of a superhero I am.
Many people have heard of the Oculus Rift and seen its capabilities (if not I highly recommend visiting their website and successful Kickstarter page). The Oculus Rift was built originally for Virtual Reality gaming and wasn’t intended to run Augmented Reality, but with their growing developer community, someone was bound to make it happen. . . .
Meet William Steptoe, a post-doctoral research associate in the Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics group at University College London and creator of the AR-Rift.
Yes, the AR-Rift. Because the Oculus Rift is a VR system it was developed without the optical instruments needed to provide a live feed of the real world that augmented reality relies on. That’s where Steptoe comes in; he’s mounted two modified Logitech C310 cameras onto an Oculus Rift to create a new system capable of switching between virtual and augmented reality simply through the press of a (virtual) button.
I’ll leave most of the technical information and explanations to Steptoe’s website, but essentially the two Logitech cameras take in visual information at the same eye level the Oculus Rift provides its video. This allows the Oculus Rift to play back the video with an incredibly low latency (for both wired and wireless connections) for an impressive visual display of your surroundings. But before it reaches the Oculus Rift, Steptoe takes that video and develops his augmented experience.
Using two separate hand sensors (the Panel and the Manipulator), Steptoe is able to create and manipulate the virtual objects he casts out into the real world. His demonstration includes 3-D capsules, balls (that also bounce with gravity), and cubes along with movable web screens and virtual avatars. He doesn’t stop there though; Steptoe also includes a VR mode that transports all of the active augmented content into a virtual environment.
Steptoe’s project has pretty much blown us away. For more information feel free to check out Steptoe’s thorough documentation on his website and watch his video demonstration below. We’re really excited to see what else Steptoe can do and where he goes with his technology.