Oliver Kreylos, a researcher at University of California, has combined three Microsoft Kinect devices with an Oculus Rift headset to import a graphical 3D representation of himself into a virtual reality. Thus the first Star Trek ‘holodeck’ is born.
The process is made by merging the Kinects’ video stream before feeding it into the Oculus headset, thereby giving the impression of a solid 3D object. The test object is Mr Kreylos himself, who can be seen sitting in a virtual office. Well, if you were working on this wouldn’t you want to put yourself right in the action first?
Because the technology is an early prototype, it suffers from low resolution and it is prone to glitches. The three Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect’s that were used for the process, are positioned in an equilateral triangle to precisely capture the subject. The image of the subject is then beamed into the Oculus Rift headset.
The technology allows the user to be able to control the camera in such a way that he/she can see themselves in both a first and third person perspective. Unlike any ordinary 2D camera, the Kinect is equipped with a 3D camera. This provides the missing pieces of information that is necessary for a 3D reconstruction.
Mr Kreylos said in his blog that even though the images are low quality, it still feels very real. “I believe it’s related to the uncanny valley principle, in that fuzzy 3D video that moves in a very lifelike fashion is more believable to the brain than high-quality avatars that don’t quite move right.” Hopefully, this issue will be overcome soon. I can’t wait to see where this kind of technology will be in a few years.
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[Image via en.memory-alpha]