I’d been wanting something more durable to carry around & demo some of the Cardboard stuff I’ve been working on & opted for the Freefly VR. It doesn’t include any Cardboard style input (either v1 magnet or v2 button) but I’m planning to get a Bluetooth remote & use it to trigger the same events as screen presses would. More thoughts on this headset in this thread on /r/GoogleCardboard, but in short I’m quite happy with it.
As promised, a video showing excerpts of people taking part in Mirrorshades user studies! Once again this is in St Salvator’s chapel in St Andrews, with the participants comparing what the chapel looks like today against a virtual reconstruction of what it looked like in 1450.
For those that haven’t read previous posts about it, Mirrorshades is…
…a hardware & software platform which allows its user to observe & move around their real world environment whilst wearing a wide field of view, stereoscopic 3D, head mounted display which allows them to alternatively view an immersive virtual reality environment from the equivalent vantage point.
This is achieved by combining an Oculus Rift DK1 with the IndoorAtlas indoor positioning system & the Unity game engine. The user places the Rift on their head & wears a satchel containing a laptop & other accessories over one shoulder. An Android smartphone held in one hand determines their position via IndoorAtlas, such that as they walk around the real environment their position within the Unity environment moves accordingly, while an Xbox controller held in the other hand lets them trigger transitions between real & virtual visuals.
In the first stage, participants had 3x different transitions to play around with, mapped to the [A] & [B] buttons & the right trigger. Pressing the [A] button would instantly switch the visuals of the Rift from real to virtual;
Pressing the [B] button would fade the visuals from real to virtual over the course of about a second;
While pulling the right trigger would fade the real visuals by an amount that depends upon how far down the trigger is pulled (so pulling the trigger all the way displays only virtual, releasing the trigger displays only real, pulling the trigger 43% of the way displays a 67/43 real/virtual split, etc.);
Next, participants still had the same 3x transitions available to them, but their view would momentarily switch to virtual for a fraction of a second every 3 seconds;
Finally, participants had only the [B] button transition, but the base view was changed to a 75/25 real/virtual split & then a 50/50 real/virtual split (here visualized using the [A] button transition instead);
There are a lot of questionnaire & log data to work through, as well as interview transcripts & videos to analyse, but there are a few opinions that seemed to stand out (& will probably be backed up by the data).
Of the 3x transitions, people definitely seemed to prefer the right trigger one that let them control exactly how fast they switched from real to virtual & back again, plus choose any intermediary position to linger at. The momentary switch to virtual every 3 seconds was almost unanimously disliked. Preference between the 75/25 & 50/50 splits is less clear, with some participants saying that they didn’t like the 50/50 split because they couldn’t see enough of the real environment to feel safe walking around while others preferred the 50/50 split as it made switching fully to virtual more comfortable & encouraged them to switch to virtual more often.
Back with another video from St Salvator’s chapel, this time with some willing volunteers to try out the platform so I could film & then combine the video from the camera with the video captured on the laptop. I’m definitely going to be changing the lerp on the VR movement so it is nowhere near as fast/sudden as it is atm!