In a YouTube video posted on January 19, CloudGate Studio demonstrated an experiment in full-body virtual reality tracking with the HTC Vive.
With two controllers in his hands, and two more strapped to his feet, CloudGate CEO Steve Bowler demonstrated some amazing live tracking of his body in a 3D VR environment, using two of Valve’s HTC Vives. He posted a link to the video on Twitter:
— Steve Bowler (@gameism) January 19, 2017
Bowler first showed off the function of virtual hands in the game, but said that it’s something “everyone’s [doing].” Then he displayed unfinished virtual arms, saying “we’re not going to ship this yet,” but “it’s getting there.” But CloudGate wanted to “do more than just this … like, a lot more.” So with the aid of four total motion controllers in addition to an HTC Vive headset, Bowler showed what he called “a pretty good facsimile of a human body in VR.”
He then demonstrated the ability to look down at his virtual body and make contact with it in a way that mirrored the contact he was making with his own real-world form. He touched his toes, then his head and shoulders. The shadow of his form mimicked his real-life motions, even to the point of dancing and crouching, despite a lack of hip tracking. Bowler said that while right now the simulation is effectively guessing at the position of his hips, with a dedicated hip tracker it would look even better.
He concluded the video by demonstrating interactivity in the environment, able to “kick all the things.” He proceeded to do just that, showing how objects in the environment reacted to his motions because he “had a body” in VR.
But according to Steve himself, this was just a “hack,” with a better realization of the concept being adapted to the new HTC Vive trackers announced at CES 2017.
@nuclearfossil it's a "hack" using two Vives so we could get 4 wireless controllers. Now that it's proven will move to Vive Trackers later.
— Steve Bowler (@gameism) January 20, 2017
The possibilities for this development are thrilling. Full-body tracking in VR could provide endless application in entertainment and social spaces alike. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on further developments from CloudGate Studio and other virtual reality pioneers, as the emerging technology finds its place in the global market.
Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.