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Thread: Oculus

  1. #1
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    Default Oculus

    I've had an Oculus Developers' Kit for a couple of years, (I use it in my work). I recently upgraded to the consumer version and have really been enjoying it. First, for you cynics, VR is not all about shoot 'em up games or porn. There are many really worthwhile applications in it and most are free after you have the hardware. A couple of my favorites are an exploration of the ISS and an exploration of the solar system (both free). The ISS app puts you inside the space station and you feel like you are floating and you use grab bars to push off and propel yourself thru it. It is HIGHLY realistically detailed and has information video tutorials by some of the astronauts and has exercises such as using the joysticks to control the Canada Arm to retrieve and dock a cargo module. You can also make your way to the EVA module and then exit to an exterior exploration of the entire station, again very highly detailed as you float above the earth. Believe me, it is friggin' breathtaking.

    The pics from Saturn in another thread lead me to post about Oculus. In the solar system app, you get into your own personal space ship in a space port hangar and then fly out to any body you choose in our solar system. Of course there is cheating on the speed limit and worm hole shortcuts, but each body is modeled using the latest and greatest real photos of the planet or moon's surface. The navigation system is genius for finding the various planets and it really gives you a feeling of the scale and layout of our home system. You can fly thru the rings of Saturn and visit the moons. You can fly to Pluto and see the shiny ice volcanoes. Both of these apps are highly educational in that you come away feeling like you have actually been there and you will have a much better understanding of these places

    There are many more free apps, including 360 degree photos of hundreds of breathtaking places on this planet. There is also a Google Earth app, and hundreds of other apps, some free, some for $30-$50. Oh, and MS Flight Simulator has been ported to it.

    I have no financial interest in Oculus and no gain from recommending it. But it has gotten so much better and is somewhat reasonably priced these days. Here is what you need and what you need to spend:

    1. You need a somewhat modern desktop PC, with an i5 or better processor and reasonable ram and storage (not anything abnormal). Laptops will not work, and Macs won't work (that I know of yet).

    2. You need a high end video card that will set you back another $200 (altho my nVidia GTX 770 works fine and can probably be found for $100).

    3. Oculus, the current consumer version which includes headset, two hand controllers and two sensor cameras. The kit retails for $399 but can be found on sale occasionally for $350 (probably soon now that Christmas is past).

    That's it. For $500 - $600 USD you won't be sorry. I apologize for my enthusiasm, and I know that many wooden boaters are traditionalists at heart and recoil at stuff like this. But if you are at all curious, check it out, you might like it.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Oculus

    Here is a video of the Mission ISS. This is actually what it looks like, except you are inside and controlling it.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Oculus

    Thanks for the heads up, Ron. My attention has been drawn to be equipment lately as an upgrade to the architectural design software I use will now support vr walk-throughs. It's good to see the technology moving into more productive and educational areas.

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    Default Re: Oculus

    I've been interested in this for a while. Can it be used as a head-mounted static display as well? I most often use my home machine from a recliner, and it seems to me that a head-mounted display would allow me to recline further.

    What are you doing about it?




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    Default Re: Oculus

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike J View Post
    Thanks for the heads up, Ron. My attention has been drawn to be equipment lately as an upgrade to the architectural design software I use will now support vr walk-throughs. It's good to see the technology moving into more productive and educational areas.
    My interest is also in the architectural uses of the technology and the reason I was involved in the early developers kit. However as I've aged past retirement now I have slowed down my interest in developing the actual tools. There are some good ones being developed by others now including IrisVR Prospect. What software are you using with VR?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Oculus

    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Orca View Post
    I've been interested in this for a while. Can it be used as a head-mounted static display as well? I most often use my home machine from a recliner, and it seems to me that a head-mounted display would allow me to recline further.
    I don't think that would be the best use of it. There are certainly programs that allow you to use your desktop and all of your programs within the Oculus, but resolution is a bit of an issue. Consider that the field of view is huge (actually 360 degrees in all directions altho only 110 degrees is visible at one time as you turn your head). But the entire pixel count has to be spread over the 110 degree FOV leaving too few pixels for an individual app running on the desktop. Plus altho the newest headset is quite comfortable, it is not something you want to have on and be cut off from the real world for hours at a time.

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    Default Re: Oculus

    Okay I have to admit that I'm surprised there is not more interest in this here. I know the OP is long, maybe people don't know the word Oculus and see the length of the OP and pass it by. But it's about science and space exploration. I thought at the minimum Sharpiefan or Hadfield would check in. Or maybe I just have always underestimated the apathy towards VR in general. It's something that has fascinated me since the early 90s and I guess I expect others to be equally fascinated by it.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Oculus

    Quote Originally Posted by ron ll View Post
    Okay I have to admit that I'm surprised there is not more interest in this here. I know the OP is long, maybe people don't know the word Oculus and see the length of the OP and pass it by. But it's about science and space exploration. I thought at the minimum Sharpiefan or Hadfield would check in. Or maybe I just have always underestimated the apathy towards VR in general. It's something that has fascinated me since the early 90s and I guess I expect others to be equally fascinated by it.
    I'm interested, I play games like Star Citizen (in alpha) and they are reported to be integrating VR into the game. I also like the Idea of Universe Sandbox with one of these. There are also some really great 3d art applications that could likely see an explosion with the advent of AR (Augmented Reality), Think Pokemon Go on Acid.

    I am, however, waiting the 2nd gen on the various VR sets and I refuse to buy anything that Facebook or Google owns. The last thing I want to be is an unwitting guinea pig or for them to sell where my eye tracks to. I'm all about tech but if my eye strays to some virtual cleavage or even a McDonald's logo, no one needs to know that.
    In the US this perverted idea of “blood and soil” over “constitutional principles” is the most radical and anti-democratic and anti-Conservative idea I have heard in my lifetime.

    ~C. Ross

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Oculus

    I agree about being reluctant to support Facebook. But I was involved with Oculus long before they bought it so I'm snared. But like many of our other trade offs these days, I think this one is worthwhile. I would never have had this level of understanding of the ISS even watching Chris Hadfield's wonderful youtubes or by reading his book. I would never have had this much understanding of the layout of the solar system even by seeing the great pictures from Cassini. The educational value of this technology is a quantum leap over Google and Youtube.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Oculus

    I used to work in VR. Really.

    One of my very good friends still does, and my Oldest Son is an avid hacker and gamer. I have had the great and horrific experience of wearing the oculus rift helmet thing.

    Whoa.

    I think of inner space applications for this type application, as well. Real time 3D imaging of the body a surgeon is operating on? Whoa!

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: Oculus

    The technology is fascinating. Another aspect of VR is supported by Google's TiltBrush system. I saw a video of it in action and it just blew my socks off.
    "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed." William Gibson

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    Default Re: Oculus

    "subscribed"
    One of the most enduring qualities of an old wooden boat is the smell it imparts to your clothing.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Oculus

    This seems to be a hard sell around here. But just for drill, take a look at the video in post #2 above. This is NOT a photograph of the real space station but a highly detailed 3D model built for Oculus. While in Oculus, you can explore this model both inside and out at your leisure.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Oculus

    I'm moving over slowly to Chief Architect from a patchwork of Autocad Lt, Sketchup and cabinet design software called Mozaik. I'll be setting up a tutorial session with CA this spring to get up and running with the vr support coming out in version 10. I'm looking forward to no longer having to create fly-throughs and just let my customers look at what they want.

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    Default Re: Oculus

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike J View Post
    I'm moving over slowly to Chief Architect from a patchwork of Autocad Lt, Sketchup and cabinet design software called Mozaik. I'll be setting up a tutorial session with CA this spring to get up and running with the vr support coming out in version 10. I'm looking forward to no longer having to create fly-throughs and just let my customers look at what they want.
    There are several software packages now that allow a realtime walk thru of buildings with VR goggles. My focus has been on being able to "design from within". In other words, being able to move components (walls, doors, windows, ceiling heights, etc) with one's hands while inside the space. We are getting closer. For instance in the Mission: ISS app (video above) it is possible to grab onto tools and packages and move them where you want. It's a relatively small step from that to being able to move the walls in real time while inside the space.

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