Tracking Firm Promises VR Play Without ER Stay

A new virtual reality headset technology might stop you tripping over furniture, without the need for external hardware. Occipital says its approach includes live tracking of the surrounding room to cut down on embarrassing tumbles.

To date virtual reality systems fall into two category. Some, like the Oculus Rift and Vive, use separate devices to track the room and warn the user when they are about to collide with something. Others, like Microsoft’s virtual reality and augmented reality systems, build the room scanning into the headset itself, but have arguably required a compromise in precision to do so.

Occipital is a specialist in 3D scanning and depth sensors and already works in fields as diverse as home architecture and construction and modelling for prosthetics. It’s adapted its software so it can work with any virtual reality headset that includes a motion sensor and stereo cameras (though can be adapted for a single camera), and says its easy to integrate into existing systems.

According to CNET writer Scott Stein who has tested the technology on a modified VIVE headset, the key is that the Occipital software is constantly scanning and remodelling the room, meaning it can cope with rapid movement. It appears it’s able to overlay the mapping of the real world objects onto the virtual reality visuals that is effective without being obtrusive or breaking the illusion.

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