When Oculus Rift was first announced it was met with a wave of excitement and skepticism. It promised so much but it still seemed almost too good to be true. Soon after a virtual reality omni-directional treadmill was introduced, the Virtuix Omni. The Virtuix was met mostly with sighs of annoyance due to the fact that it looked ridiculous. In reality, I think people were dreading getting their asses off the couch. Rightfully so, but nonetheless the magnitude of sheer laziness of our community is irrefutable. Then came the Tactical Haptics’ Reactive Grip which makes one feel the haptic feedback of, say, hitting a tennis ball with a racket in Wii tennis by stretching your skin on the palm of your hands in a specific way to imitate weight.
Now comes another addition to the breathtaking, yet horrifying future of virtual reality! The PrioVR! This recently launched Kickstarter project with current fully functional prototypes will allow systems to track movements with higher precision and lower latency than any previously marketed motion technology could. The PrioVR tacks motions of one’s hands, legs, torso and head by placing multiple sensors on them. It already perfectly translates walking, sword-swinging, punching, kicking and crouching into the virtual realm. Coupled with the Oculus Rift and maybe even Virtuix Omni the trio will become a conduit into virtual reality that us mere non-DARPA mortals have never even come close to experiencing.
The Kickstarter project launched a week ago at the time of conjuration of this article and has collected $42,502 out of the $225,000 goal with still 37/44 days to go! Of course while the technology is exhilarating there is the question of support. It is remarkable as a tech demo but seeing how little hardcore support from developers things like Kinect and PS Move get it is hard to imagine than independent hardware which is not pushed by the likes of Microsoft and Sony will gain any true traction.
The sensor sets will come in two versions, the Lite and Pro, the only two differences being one less sensor on each extremity and a $175 difference in price between the $450 Lite version and the $625 Pro version. Coupled with the Oculus Rift which costs $300 and the Virtuix Omni which is predicted to be sold at $500 the entire set-up for virtual reality excluding any game systems or games will be around $1500.
Personally, I am looking forward to seeing this project come to fruition and flood the market with its potential awesomeness but I remain skeptically optimistic on the whole affair as I’m frankly too afraid to fantasize of the possible giant leap in gaming that this could represent in case it goes under and the general public will have to wait even longer for accessible VR. Do you think that VR is something to be whole-heartedly embraced? Do you think that it is the furthest push into the uncanny valley of games since the creation of 3D models? Let us know what you think in the comments below!