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Nowadays, you can play the fighting or martial art games in VR where you can play it alone by yourself. Unfortunately, playing alone does not make it feel real because you don’t feel the impact on your body or face. The most that you can get is the vibration on your controllers or perhaps the body pad with stimulator. But, imagine one day if you can feel the real punches and kicks on your body while having martial art tournament in VR. Well, the day is coming guys 🙂
Recently on 14th May 2019, James Bruton announced his work together with University of Portsmouth student where they create a VR fighting environment complete with a real robot. The robot will react by fighting you too by mimicking the action of your opponents in the game. At this moment, it is only limited to the punching action. Perhaps, the kicking part is save for the future release 🙂
Who is James Bruton anyway? Well, he is a robotics engineer from Southampton, UK and he is also the Creative Director of the XRobots. Besides, he is also a Youtuber of the XRobots Youtube Channel. It is worth to mention that XRobots is his personal project website. He registered the “XRobots.co.uk” domain in 2004 to display updates on his ongoing projects. Super cool dude. You can read more about him here.
James Bruton with his mechanical, fighting robot…
For this project, he worked closely with the Computer Games Technology student from the university mention previously and they are the Final Year Degree students. They are Michael, George, Stephen and Boyan. Michael is focusing on the coding & VR hardware stuff while George looks into the environment art. And both Stephen and Boyan work on the character design & animation. In terms of the headset, the team is using HTC Vive while the VR environment is created by using the Unreal 4 engine.
For this project, James Bruton built a robot that can be controlled using serial commands or interface. James used the woods as the base of the robot. The robot is mounted on the wooden CNC base. There are three wheels at the bottom of the robot. Two of them are from the wheel chair and one looks like it came from a trolley. The wheels can provide some movement to the robot for some exact distance. Nice!
As for the upper part, James use two pneumatic cyclinders. Originally, the cylinder comes from the foot pump. To make the shoulders of the robot move up and down, he used the wind shield wiper motor. It also use a car-size battery to power the robot where it is placed just above the wheels. To avoid unfortunate injury to you or surrounding, the robot wears some kind of boxing gloves. Well, at least some kind of protection. We don’t know what will happen when it get smarter, rite? 🙂
To sync the movement of the mechanical robot to the virtual opponent, the team use the HTC Vive tracker to perform it. The tracker will track the robot’s arm and also the user headset and bat. They used the Arduino Mega interface to control the robot. Arduino Mega is a microcontroller board where this board is programmed in Arduino IDE software.
Below is the video showing the high level process from creating the robot, interfacing it with the system and its integration with the VR environment. A very cool 14-minutes video!!
Robot vs Human Combat | James Bruton - YouTube
If thinking about it, it seems similar like how Ip Man, the legendary martial artist, practised his Wing Chun kungfu with the wooden dummy during the good-old days. It is because of the action and reaction involved during the practise.
Ip Man practising his Wing Chun with the Wooden Dummy (From the “Ip Man” movie).
Only this time, the setting is more complex and advanced. And sooner or later, we will be dealing with a smarter and intelligent version of ‘wooden human’. Perhaps one day we can see this kind of setup at the martial art places and dojo or being commonly installed at home.
The latest iteration of Glass features an improved camera and a more powerful CPU for $999.
Earlier today, Google announced the latest addition to its Google Glass hardware line-up with Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2. The company promises the new AR headset will help businesses increase the efficiency of its employees by offering them hands-free access to a world of information in real-time.
Available exclusively for enterprise use, this newest iteration is built on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR1 platform and features a new AI engine, offering users a noticeably more powerful hardware experience. This has resulted in considerable improvements to power and performance—including an improved camera for higher quality video streaming and collaborative features—and opens up the possibility of computer vision and advanced machine-learning.
Glass Enterprise Edition 2: A hands-free device for smarter and faster hands-on work - YouTube
To help protect all the delicate technology stuffed into the sleek device, Google teamed up with Smith Optics to create a set of Glass-compatible safety frames capable of withstanding the harsh conditions of working environments such as manufacturing floors and maintenance facilities.
Here’s a detailed spec breakdown of the Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 headset:
SoC — Qualcomm Quad Core, 1.7GHz, 10nm
OS — Android Oreo
Memory & Storage — 3GB LPDDR4 / 32GB eMMC Flash
Wi-Fi — 802.11ac, dual-band, single antenna
Bluetooth — 5.x AoA
Camera — 8Mp, 80 DFOV
Display — 640×360 Optical Display Module
Audio Out — Mono Speaker, USB audio, BT audio
Microphones — 3 beam-forming microphones
Touch — Multi-touch gesture touchpad
Charging & Data — USB Type-C, USB 2.0 480Mbps
LED — Privacy (camera), power (rear)
Battery — 820mAH with fast charge
IMU — Single 6-axis Accel/Gyro, single 3-axis Mag
Power Saving features — On head detection sensor, and Eye-on screen sensor
Ruggedization — Water and dust resistance
Weight — 46g (pod)
Image Credit: Google
Thanks to multiple improvements to hardware, Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 allows employees to collaborate remotely in real-time via live video streaming, reference helpful documentation, and safely access specific applications using hands-free voice commands.
Those interested in bringing incorporating this technology into their own workplace will be delighted to hear that Glass Enterprise Edition 2 features a much simpler development process; due in large part to an Android foundation and support for Android Enterprise Mobile Device Management.
Piano Genie distills 88 notes on a piano to eight buttons, which you can push to your heart’s content to make piano music. In what Jesse calls “an initial moment of inspiration,” someone put a piece of wire inside a piece of fruit, and turned fruit into the buttons for Piano Genie. “Fruit can be used as a capacitive sensor, like the screen on your phone, so you can detect whether or not someone is touching the fruit,” Jesse explains. “They were playing these fruits just by touching these different fruits, and they got excited by how that changed the interaction.”
Wayne Coyne, the singer of The Flaming Lips, noted during an I/O panel that a quick turnaround time, plus close collaboration with Google, gave them the inspiration to think outside the box. “For me, the idea that we’re not playing it on a keyboard, we’re not playing it on a guitar, we’re playing it on fruit, takes it into this other realm,” he said.
During their performance that night, Steven Drozd from The Flaming Lips, who usually plays a variety of instruments, played a “magical bowl of fruit” for the first time. He tapped each fruit in the bowl, which then played different musical tones, “singing” the fruit’s own name. With help from Magenta, the band broke into a brand-new song, “Strawberry Orange.”
Brush up your Beat Saber skills; you’re going on a Quest.
The long-awaited mobile Oculus Quest headset is launching in only a matter of days. This is a major deal to many folks, for whom this will be their first advent into the wonderful world of VR. The release of the Quest is also a development that we at VR Fitness Insider broadly believe will lead many new players into the realm of active VR gaming.
Likewise, Beat Saber, an active VR game, is inarguably the highest-impact title for new players entering the platform. That’s why I came up with this quick list of seven ways to really get out there and juice Beat Saber to its max potential with the added versatility afforded by the cable-free, fully mobile Oculus Quest headset.
1. Find the Biggest Open Area You Can Comfortably Play In
No longer needing to consider the size of your apartment or gaming room, you can literally take your Oculus Quest to any well-lit location where you feel comfortable having your vision occluded. This can be anywhere from your living room, to the locker room at your local gym, to the cockpit of a space cruiser. There’s really no limit here; the more open the area, the more room you have to maneuver freely. It may be unwise to take your headset out into a sunny area in broad daylight, however, as the sun can both interfere with tracking and cause serious damage to the display.
(Note that you also need to set up a new ‘Guardian’ boundary whenever you settle into a new area.)
2. Experience All 360 Degrees of Movement
This tip may not result in fantastic scores on Expert and Expert+ modes, but you might as well enjoy the fact that there are absolutely zero cables holding you down. Spin all the way around or just groove with the music however you’d like. You’re free to do exactly as you please.
The audio straps built into the Quest won’t provide you with a good auditory experience out of the box, which is a real shame, seeing as how rhythm-centric Beat Saber is. That said, you will certainly appreciate having a nice pair of AUX-connected headphones over your ears when playing Beat Saber or any other rhythm game in VR. My personal pick is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, but you don’t need professional-level headphones to enjoy Beat Saber. Stick to your budget, but apply the following rule: The wider the audio range, the better.
4. Get Yourself a Nice Powerbank
If you’re satisfied after two hours of consistent play between a fresh charge and no charge, ignore this tip. If not, consider getting a powerbank that can charge your Quest headset when the battery runs low. Keep in mind that you get a six-meter USB-C charging cable and a compatible wall adapter out of the box, but it seems sort of counterintuitive to have your Oculus Quest plugged into a wall while you play. Instead, you should find a portable powerbank that outputs 3A and 5v. If you’re strapped for cash, 2.4A powerbanks are also fine, but will not charge as quickly while you play.
5. Show Off for Friends and Family
Like the Oculus Go before it, the marvel of the Oculus Quest exists in the breadth of experiences you can pack into its internal memory and carry around with you to virtually any location. Unlike the Oculus Go, or any other 3DoF headset, the Quest gives you a pair of hands and a staggering amount of things to do with them.
Beat Saber is a fantastic first VR game, but more importantly, anybody can jump in and have a wonderful time playing it. If you’re taking it for a spin, most people will enjoy laughing at how goofy you look while playing. And then, when it’s their turn, you’ll get an opportunity to laugh right back at them. Remember that a VR headset is far from an isolating piece of tech when you can pack it up and share it with the special people in your life.
6. Show Off for Friends and Family—With the Power of the Internet
You can currently stream Oculus Quest gameplay to the Internet through a number of different outlets. Though some of those outlets involve wiring your headset to some other device, here are three ways you can do it wirelessly: through Facebook, through your phone, and through a Chromecast device. I’d like to plug David Jagneaux at UploadVR for providing this really well-written guide on all of the available streaming options.
OCULUS QUEST: 90 Minutes of Standalone Roomscale Gameplay - YouTube
7. Slap on a Weighted Vest and Build Some Muscle
Beat Saber will make you sweat, move your body and burn some potentially serious calories over the course of your total playtime. You may as well augment that playtime by adding resistance and converting Beat Saber from just a game that you like to play, to a legitimate full-body workout routine. Lucky for you, I wrote a guide on exactly how to do that.
Are there any tips that I missed? Let me know in the comments.
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I have some exclusive news on the Vive Cosmos, one of the most awaited headsets of 2019, that I want to share with you. Fasten your seatbelts and read this article.
As you may know if you follow me on social media, last week I spent my whole time in Taiwan, at first in Kaohsiung and then in Taipei. It has been a really interesting experience, and there I watched breathtaking landscapes, I ate delicious food (included the “Best dumplings in the world”, as Viveport’s Steve Wang says) and met fantastic VR people.
One of the most amazing moments of this trip: watching the sunset on the seaside of Kaohsiung
I will tell more in a future summary article about my experience there, but for now, just let me tell you that among the fantastic people that I met, there have been the guys and the girls at HTC’s headquarters in Taipei.
Last Thursday was a rainy day in Taipei and I dressed super elegant for the occasion: I mean, it doesn’t happen every day to visit the HQ of a major VR company. I entered the building with my Chinese assistant Miss S… and I have to say that that place is very beautiful… all white, with an enormous white hall (shared with Google!) and a big artistic Vive logo made with headsets attached to a wall. It’s very modern and clean.
Me under the Vive logo in the big hall of HTC headquarters in Taipei
After the check in, I started various meetings with some HTC’s engineers and project managers where we talked about HTC’s VR devices and SDKs. Of course we spoke in English, but sometimes I also tried to say some words in Mandarin, just to feel more local and make them more confused than ever with my terrible pronunciation. People there have been very kind with me and I have been able to feel their strong desire of improving their products: they were very interested in listening to every critic (even the harsh ones) about their devices. I really appreciated this attitude, that I think that every company should have.
In all these meetings, of course, I also tried to get some secret info about the future plans of the company. And you know, I am really excited about the mysterious Vive Cosmos, so of course, I tried to get some new info about it.
Actual photo of the Cosmos with its controllers (Image by Upload VR)
Unluckily, HTC is still not ready to disclose all the details on this device, so during our talk, its employees have been quite tightlipped about its most important features (like for instance field of view and resolution). Every question that I tried to make in this sense, got as answer always “Sorry, but I can’t tell you this”. Needless to say, I expected that: people working for corporates are always very attentive about what they can disclose and what not, because there is always a precise regulation on this side.
So, I tried to ask directly what are the information they could disclose to me apart from what has already been revealed during the CES, and all the speculations that have been made on it starting from the Qualcomm’s reference design presented there (if you want to read everything we officially know about the Cosmos until now, please read this article). I explained that we people of the VR communities are really excited about the device and so we crave to know everything about it, and at the same time we are also a bit worried by all these months of silence. I told them that every new info can make us feel a bit better 🙂 . And it seems that these reasonings have convinced them to tell me something new to share with you all (yay!).
Qualcomm new reference design headset plugged into a Snapdragon 855 phone. According to some rumors, this is the reference design the Cosmos is based on. (Image by Road To VR)
One of the most important missing pieces of the Cosmos puzzle is knowing when we can expect it to be released, since we all thought that it should have already been launched. One HTC spokeperson told me that he couldn’t reveal a release date, but they should release the device around Q3 2019. He explained that yes, they are a bit on a different schedule than the one announced at CES and the reason is that they are continuously improving the device. He told me that they want to really surprise us all, they want the Cosmos to be really a top-quality headset that we all could love. I admit that I was a bit hyped by this sentence, but at the same time, I am a very difficult person to surprise, so I was at the same time even more curious to try it to see if this claim was real.
There was some fear in the VR communities that the project was abandoned and a source of mine also hypothesized that the Cosmos were just a fake shell that HTC was using to hype the community (this would have explained why no one has been able to try it). No one of these claims is true: the Cosmos is going to be launched soon, most probably in Q3. The man I talked to also disclosed me some non-public details that made me understand that there is already a working version of the device, so the rumor of the “fake shell” is confirmed to be false.
Then I started talking about the connectivity of the device. HTC has teased that it will be able to connect with a PC and also with a phone through a USB-C connector. I asked so if the Cosmos will support VirtualLink and the answer has been positive. Regarding connection to the PC, the protocol will be DisplayPort, exactly as happens with all the newest high-resolution headsets. I had no further details on how the device will be able to connect in these different ways (will there be an adapter? Or the cable can be changed?), but at least now I know that HDMI ports will be useless.
I also asked about support for Mac: HTC Vive and Vive Pro are the only headsets on the market that can work with a Mac, through an external box. I wondered if the Cosmos would have the same superpower. The answer has been: “probably, but we can’t confirm it now”.
The HTC wireless adapter, positioned over the Vive Pro headset. It is one of the reasons people stick with the Vive Pro, according to some redditors. (Image by The Verge)
If there is a feature that everyone loves about the Vive Pro is its wireless adapter: I’ve tried it myself in Beijing and I can tell you that having a super-high-quality headset on your head, with the computational power of the PC and no cables is a fantastic experience. It works incredibly well. HTC has told me that the Cosmos will have a wireless adapter as well. This means that it will be possible to enjoy wireless virtual reality with amazing graphics with the Cosmos as well. I haven’t got if it will be a new wireless accessory or if it can be the same of the Vive Pro, though.
Then I asked one of the big questions: HTC is abandoning Valve’s amazing outside-in tracking technology to use its proprietary inside-out one. This makes the setup easier, but at the same time reduces the possibilities of what can be done with the headset. Vive is a device that all makers love because it is an open platform and thanks to the Vive Trackers it is possible to make the VR player interact with the physical world around him. But the Cosmos uses a new tracking technology that doesn’t allow the use of Trackers, and this means “game over” for all people that want to create crazy stuff in VR. This could also limit the use of the Cosmos in enterprise applications. I so asked HTC what was its take on this issue. I imagined at this point the usual Oculus-style talk about the usability and the compromises that a company has to do to make a VR headset more affordable.
HTC instead answered that they have a solution for the Cosmos that can somewhat substitute Trackers. I was in awe: “Oh what? Really? How is it? How does it work? Tell me everything about it!”. Unluckily, apart from these few words that have hyped me, I got no more info about it. The guy I was talking to had promised me that the Cosmos would have surprised me and it already managed to do this. If HTC really manages in the mission of creating something that can somewhat substitute the trackers (maybe using some light-based trackers that the headset can “see” with the cameras), the device will preserve all the hackability that has made the Vive so great. Add to this the Mixed Reality features that have already been teased, (probably with color RGB front cameras, as a source of mine says). Add the fact that all of this may work in full portability, with the headset connected to your Snapdragon 855 phone (still to be confirmed). What you obtain is a device that is really a Vive 2 on steroids, that is easier to use, preserves all its best features… and adds some new exciting ones! Imagine creating a mixed reality app in a warehouse that works with the headset connected to your phone in the pocket and that lets you wander in the whole environment and also interact with real objects… according to the info I got, it would be possible!
Vive Cosmos Teaser Video at CES 2019 - YouTube
I insisted to know more, but with no luck. I just got again the answer that the device will be launched soon and that it will be full of features (like this one) that I will love.
At that point, I had to leave the building, even more intrigued than before: the Cosmos is an alive project and it will probably be the first inside-out headset to track external objects! :O
I can’t wait for Q3 to discover more about it… and you?
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