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pfschuyler

Room Scale VR - the HTC Vive

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I've posted along these lines before, but never received much enthusiasm.  Some of you may be aware of recent developments in VR (Virtual Reality).  A lot of that attention focuses on Oculus and its products.  But if you like 3d design, you ought to consider trying and understanding what "room-scale VR" is.  Room Scale VR is, for the foreseeable future, the exclusive domain of the HTC Vive, something no other technology can duplicate (including Oculus).  It is the King of VR, and you can buy and install it today.  It allows you to walk around in true real-world physical space (up to 5x5 meters), and have that become a virtual environment, with zero nausea.  Its shockingly close to a holodeck-like experience.  As an example, the other day I exported a kitchen model to the Vive from Unity.  Not only could I get down on my knees and look under the virtual counter tops, and walk around the kitchen island, but I even used a step stool and got to look on top of them!   

 

Most of the HTC Vive apps out there are gaming related.  However Sketchfab has a nice plugin which is still in development. You can view scanned environments, characters, and models, and its a glipse of the future.   Viewing models in the Vive is possible today...but would be easier with some plugin.

 

Much more important, Design.  Google's Tilt Brush is a great example of what is possible for design within VR.  When you try Tilt Brush, I promise your view of 3d design will be forever changed.  FormZ must grasp and pioneer this revolution because if you don't, someone else will.  And I want FormZ to flourish.  In short, after working with Tilt Brush you may come to realize that all 3d application UI's are awkward 2d interfaces that absolutely encumber design.  All that work on interfaces is going to disappear once it becomes practical to design in Room Scale VR.  Designing in true physical 3d is like nothing else...it will make all existing 3d software interfaces instantly obsolete.  ZTech, please run, **do not walk** and setup the HTC Vive in an empty room at your office, and you'll see what I'm talking about. 

 

And drag Chris Yessios into that room, until he's tried it!  ;-)

 

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Google%27s+Tilt+Brush

 

Paul Schuyler

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by pfschuyler

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Agreed. I used the HTC Vive at the latest AIA convention 2 weeks ago with IrisVR's implementation and it was mind-blowing. IrisVR also is working on a tilt brush-like setup for the Vive that I was able to try in person, and it was amazing to say the least. They also mentioned they are going to be working on getting that in-vr created geometry back into the modeling environment for later use. 

 

We also have Lumion and an Oculus Rift here at the office and this is definitely the year for VR. 

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Awesome, yes I have experience with the Rift and GearVR, too (& Lumion).  I just want to point out for those unfamiliar with VR products, some of the differences:

 

HTC Vive- Full room-scale, walk around in a real 3d space, high end VR experience (i.e. Holodeck) with tracked controllers.  Can be full Room Scale or seated experience and the controllers allow you to manipulate objects interactively. 

Oculus Rift- High-end VR headset.  Touch controls coming later this year.  Comparable to the Vive in most respects, but its a seated experience only.

Gear VR-  Mobile VR using high-end Samsung phones.  Great Visual experience but no tracking of one's position or hand controllers.

Google Daydream- New VR platform for Google Phones coming later this year.

Sony Morpheus- VR headset for Sony Playstation 4.

 

I mention this so that FormZ users understand the critical differences.  The ultimate is the Vive that tracks everything in a room with extreme accuracy (like tie-your shoe laces kind of accuracy).  Second is the rift, which is equivalent visually but is a seated experience, so you have to use controls to reposition yourself.  Room Scale is an important distinction for what I'm proposing and what I think will eventually become standard.

 

FormZ is developing a nice Ipad viewer for FormZ files.  Try to imagine instead your models floating in front of you in your room, and the ability to walk around them, reach in and sculpt them.  Or to experience them in full 1:1 3d, like walk around in the room you're designing.  That's what's entirely possible today and in 2-3 years will be quite common.  Today you could publish your models from FormZ to Sketchfab and experience them in Room Scale in the Vive.  That alone is amazing.  IrisVR and InsiteVR are companies developing a fast and direct means of doing the same thing.  But the ideal for FormZ even beyond that would be an actual interface that you could design with...which is where things will be in a year or two.  The mobile experiences are great too, but because of processing issues are mostly limited to high-res VR panoramic stereo still images.  The real time rendering program Lumion can currently batch-produce stereo still images, which is a great start.

 

Some of you may think, why develop for a elite new platform?  When you folks try it out you'll understand...its compelling enough that you'll drop your old methods in a heartbeat, and run out and buy what is necessary to work like this.  I'd love to see FormZ on the cutting edge of that evolution.

 

 

 

 

Edited by pfschuyler

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Well Hololens is another ball of wax entirely.  Augmented Reality (Hololens), and Mixed Reality devices like Magic Leap are fascinating.  But...they've got quite a challenge on their hands.  In the case of the Hololens, its a $3000 developer prototype with a very fixed field of view...a quite narrow FOV which is limited technologically to being increased.  So how that will fare as a consumer product is another challenge, but certainly its potential is fascinating in its own right, and I've heard great things about it.  Magic Leap is a big mysterious promise that's even more compelling than Hololens, but its role or emphasis on design is uncertain.  In the case of either Hololens or Magic Leap the computer has quite a bit of extra work to do beyond VR...the computer must observe and interpret the real physical environment and also generate computer content to interact with it, all in real time.  Eventually I'm sure these devices will all be related, but in terms of technological challenge VR (Virtual Reality) is easiest to achieve, followed by AR (Augmented Reality), and then finally MR (Mixed Reality).   But its all new territory and the tools for that are being built now.  The Vive you can order today and receive within a week as a shipping consumer product.  But I'm not trying to push any particular device, the Vive is the current state-of-the-art of VR, and my interest here is that it's arrival and features show in a practical way where things are going, and fast.  Regardless of how it all evolves, it would just be nice for FormZ to be the innovator and leader in these emerging areas, on that I'm sure we all agree.  3d Design will sure be interesting in 5-10 years.

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