Large-scale VR Application Case: the Holodeck Control Center

The AUDI Holodeck

Our large-scale VR solution allows any SteamVR-based (e.g. Unity, Unreal, VRED) Virtual Reality software to seamlessly use the HTC VIVE headset together with most large-room tracking systems available on the market (OptiTrack, Vicon, ART). It enables easy configuration and fits into the SteamVR framework, minimizing the effort needed to port applications to large rooms.

One of our first users, Lightshape, have recently released a video showing what they built with our technology.  They call it the Holodeck Control Center, an application which creates multi-user collaborative VR spaces. In it users can communicate and see the same scene whether they are the same real room or in different locations. The installation showcased in the video is used by German car maker Audi to study cars that haven’t been built yet.

Our technology is essential in order to get the best VR experience possible on the 15m × 15m of the main VR surface, combining optical tracking data and IMU measurements to provide precise and responsive positioning of the headsets.  Please have a look at Lightshape’s video below.

Ready for the HTC Vive Pro

In the near future, this installation will be updated to the HTC Vive Pro which our software already supports. The increased pixel density of this successor of the HTC Vive will make the scenes look even more realistic. The resolution is high enough to actually read the various panels once you are in the drivers seat! Besides that, we are also busy studying applications of the front-facing cameras of the Vive Pro in order to improve multi-user interaction.

Optical-Inertial Sensor Fusion

Optical position tracking and inertial orientation tracking are well established measurement methods. Each of these methods has its specific advantages and disadvantages. In this post we show an opto-inertial sensor fusion algorithm that joins the capabilities of both to create a capable system for position and orientation tracking.

How It Works

The reliability of position and orientation data provided by an optical tracking system (outside-in or inside-out) can for some applications be compromised by occlusions and slow system reaction times. In such cases it makes sense to combine optical tracking data with information from an inertial measurement unit located on the device. Our optical-intertial sensor fusion algorithm implements this functionality for integration with an existing tracking system or for the development of a novel system for a specific application case.

The graphs below show two examples of how the signal from an optical positioning system can be improved using inertial measurements. Slow camera framerates or occasional drop-outs are compensated by information from the integrated inertial measurement unit, improving the overall tracking performance.

Combination of Several Optical Trackers

For a demonstration, we combined three NEXONAR IR trackers and an LPMS-B2 IMU, mounted together as a hand controller. The system allows position and orientation tracking of the controller with high reliability and accuracy. It combines the strong aspects of outside-in IR tracking with inertial tracking, improving the system’s reaction time and robustness against occlusions.

Optical-Inertial Tracking in VR

The tracking of virtual reality (VR) headsets is one important area of application for this method. To keep the user immersed in a virtual environment, high quality head tracking is essential. Using opto-inertial tracking technology, outside-in tracking as well as inside-out camera-only tracking can be significantly improved.

Our VR Headset In The News

Our booth caught TIA's eye.

Our booth caught TIA’s eye.

Tech in Asia Tokyo 2016 is over but we still get great responses from the fair. It was such an amazing day, thank you once more! Moreover TIA reported on us again, this time in their round-up of interesting booths. It was our new Virtual Reality headset that caught their eye because it made our booth “more attractive and interactive”. Indeed, many visitors were eager to get their hands on it.

If you would like to know more about how we use sensor fusion for VR headset tracking, watch our demo video over here. This is a just a preview, we will give you more updates in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, read the round-up coverage on the Tech in Asia blog over here.

Sensor Fusion for Virtual Reality Headset Tracking

In order to test the functionality of our sensor fusion algorithm for head-mounted-display pose estimation, we connected one of our IMUs (LPMS-CURS2), a Nexonar infrared (IR) beacon and a LCD display to a Baofeng headset. The high stability of the IR tracking and the orientation information from the IMU as input to the sensor fusion algorithm result in accurate, robust and reactive headtracking. See the figure below for details of the test setup. The video shows the resulting performance of the system.