I’m a French video game designer student. I love video game and new technologies. But most importantly : I have a real passion about Virtual Reality. So here we are ! I’ve decided to open a small blog about Virtual Reality ! I will talk about all of its aspect : his application (games or business), but also how the experience are build (from a design standpoint) while addressing their technologies ! I will also write about Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality.
Speaking of Augmented Reality, I recently tried an AR headset called Aryzon. It’s very cheap and aimed to be used with “every smartphone” and easily. Its principle is the same as the Google-made cardboard.
First of all, I was very excited about it then I tried it… And it was a huge turn off ! Firstly, the IPD (InterPupillary Distance) is so much off! Really : I was seeing only double images. I would guess there is an option to modify it but unfortunately I did not find it. that’s weird, because on Cardboard google it works perfectly without modifying that value !
But what is an IPD , you may ask ? as its name suggests, it’s the distance (generally in millimeters) between your eyes. But why that value is important for VR and why we use it ? Imagine you have your headset on and we know where that headset is positioned. Where do we place the two virtual camera (one for each eye) ? We use the IPD to position the cameras to be where your eyes should be ! But why do we see “double images” ? Well, when the IPD is a little off ( a few millimeters) we see blurry or we have some eye strain, but when it’s way more, you will see double images. The brain transforms the two image of the eyes into one image with some “depth view” (we can tell if an object is near or far away by looking at it). If you want more information about that, ask your optician or ophthalmologist, I am persuaded that they will be delighted to answer you. (and give you a much more accurate answer)
Also the other main problem was the tracking. When I tried to move or even turn my head, the virtual object move with a huge delay and not in the correct position !
Then after that disappointment, I thought, “why not using my smartphone without a headset ? I want to try ARCore by Google !”
So I downloaded Unity3D project on their website, installed a demo app on my phone… and then again… It didn’t work ! Am i cursed?
Then again, I thought : “maybe my phone is not AR ready !” And what did I find ?
Those are really recent phones ! Maybe that’s why the Aryzon didn’t work : my phone was not powerful enough to run AR app. (the gyroscope and the camera more precisely)
That made me understand the reason why AR headset is so much… “new” ? Why does the AR industry seem so much behind its VR counterpart ? Here is my thought about it :
AR is way more technology dependent than VR and the technology behind it is also more advanced than the one for VR. Let me explain my points in two steps.
- Positional tracking
It’s not “optional and highly recommended”( like for VR) but that required. Why ? For instance, just imagine what the GearVR would be like if it was AR oriented. Imagine a simple app where you can see a cat in AR. What is the more intuitive thing you want to do ? Move around the cat! what happens if you try doing that in AR ? The cat will “move with you” whereas the real world will not! That why it’s important : because it’s “Augmented”, it uses reality as his main support. Therefore, if you can move in the real world, you have to be able to do it in AR.
- Understanding of the real world environment
In one word : depth view. The Application needs to know how is the environment around it. Why ? It depends on the first one : if you move, the app needs to know how to place the virtual objects. Because the virtual object must be “attached” to the real world, they need to behave like their real-world counterpart. For example, if there is a virtual glass next to a real one and then you move. The virtual one need to be in the exact same position. The virtual objects convince you that “they are here” even if they’re not !
In a nutshell, I would argue that AR is more about the “outside” than VR :
In VR it’s all about you : you need to be immersed. You need to be present in the virtual world. While in AR, it’s about the object : they need to be “present” in the real world. You need to think they are present.
Thanks you very much for reading my post! Don’t hesitate to give me feedback about it.
Feel free to comment ! I would love to talk about the subject of that post !
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