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Here's How Echo VR Will Work With Oculus Rift S Inside-Out Tracking

Echo VR developer Ready at Dawn explained in a short blog post how the game will work with the inside-out tracked Touch controllers on Oculus Rift S . The developer also praised the higher resolution display of the Rift S, claiming it makes it “easier to read name tags and help pick out snipers from far away.”

Inside-Out Controller Tracking

Whereas the original Rift used external USB sensors for tracking, the Rift S uses five onboard cameras instead. The headset tracking works using advanced computer vision algorithms, but the controller tracking operates in a similar way to Rift- the cameras track the infrared LEDs under the plastic of the tracking rings. The difference is that the cameras are on the headset instead of external.

oculus rift s 5 cameras

Like Windows MR headsets, these cameras use wide angle fisheye lenses. But unlike Windows MR headsets, there are a total of five cameras instead of just two. This means that the tracked range extends far beyond your visual field of view, even to the sides, above, and somewhat behind.

The Problem For Echo VR

Even with five cameras, there are still situations in which a controller will not be in view of any of them. If you’re facing one direction and extend your hand out in another direction, for example. Or if you reach completely behind your back.

Its not just about the fun and games. Other than providing action-packed, fun-filled entertainment for the entire family, VR plays a big role to help humanity as developers use it to help those in need in ways that were unimaginable 20 years ago. Some use it to cure phantom pain among amputee victims, while others rely on VR to provide therapy for soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. VR has also been proven to help children with autism by teaching them social cues and real world lessons. It is being used as a practice board for surgical students before they make the first cut. There is even a VR content targeted at young adults that simulates their physical condition when they get to their 60s, and thus encourages them to save for the future.

This is a real problem for Echo VR because the game uses a fairly unique locomotion system based on grabbing and pushing against the environment. You often need to push off a wall directly behind you, or directly behind the headset when looking away from the wall. Echo VR’s highly competitive nature means that if your controllers can’t track these movements, you simply won’t be able to keep up.

Ready at Dawn’s Solution

Ready at Dawn stated they are “working closely together with Oculus to bring the highest quality tracking to Echo VR on the Rift S“. The developer explained the solution they’re working on:

We’re able to use both the in-game context, knowledge about our movement system, and the internal IMU sensors to accurately predict what the player is doing.

The IMU is the chip within all VR controllers which is composed of a gyroscope and accelerometer. Normally, cameras and IMU work together to determine the controller’s position with sub-mm precision. When not in view of any camera however, the IMU output can still be used.

echo arena rift s

RAD’s Lead Programmer, David Neubelt, playing Echo Arena on Rift S Based on Ready at Dawn’s description, they are seemingly using the accelerometer to determine how you are pushing or throwing when your hand is out of view. For example, if your hand was grabbed onto a wall behind you when tracked and then a strong acceleration is sensed in that direction, the game can determine that you’re trying to push off that wall.

Stanley G. Weinbaum is a well-known science fiction writer from 1930’s told us about this technology in his short story named Pygmalion’s Spectacles. His work made him a true visionary in the field of Virtual Reality. The story shares the idea that the wearer of the goggles can experience fictional worlds, even before the official term was coined.

We’ll make sure to do a thorough test whenever the patch with this functionality ships, but Ready at Dawn seems optimistic that it will work well.

Superior IMU

Ready at Dawn also praised the IMU in the new Touch controllers, calling it “extremely innovative” (though we’re not sure exactly what that means).

new oculus touch controllers

The company suggested that it is superior to the IMU in the original Touch controllers , claiming that it actually enables better tracking of high speed movements:

Furthermore, the internal sensors of the Oculus Touch for Rift S hold up amazingly in high speed maneuvers, which allow throws in Echo Arena to withstand more force and maintain accurate tracking when players are putting everything they have behind a move.

Additionally, we believe we’ll be able to predict more accurate release timings which in turn will increase accurate long-distance throws because of these new sensors.

Oculus Quest Port?

This solution opens up the question of whether we could see Echo VR come to the Oculus Quest standalone headset one day. Quest has fewer cameras than Rift S and they’re positioned at the front corners, not the sides. So whether it could get Echo VR would seemingly depend on just how well this IMU prediction system works.

At Oculus Connect 5 back in September Ready at Dawn was listed as working on an Oculus Quest game or port. In January, the developer stated that they were “experiementing” with Oculus Quest , and that fans should “Keep an eye out for updates in the future.”

The First Attempt at a VR Experience – The Sensorama. In the 1950s, a cinematographer by the name of Morton Heilig came up with a unique concept he later developed, known as the Sensorama. Featuring an arcade-style theater cabinet, the sensorama was aimed at stimulating a person’s senses. It featured a stereoscopic 3D display, fans and smell generators, stereo speakers, as well as a vibrating chair. The idea of the Sensorama was to fully immerse a person into a film-like experience. Heilig also went on to create as much as six short movies for his device.

We don’t recommend getting your hopes up, but if the game did come to Quest it could easily be the headset’s flagship multiplayer title.

Tagged with: Echo VR , oculus rift s , ready at dawn

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