kinect

Microsoft Kinect Game for Kids Ready to Go!

This has been one of the funnest projects we've ever had the opportunity to work on. It definitely got us in shape too! In fact, Nick, our lead developer owes his ability to shred the slopes in Colorado last winter to this game! 

The game is designed to deliver workouts to K-12 students in schools.  These workouts consist of various exercises (lunges, squats, jabs, and many others), a trail run, and even an obstacle course in which kids have to run, jump, punch, and kick their way to the finish line! The game can support up to 6 players at a time, so there is bound to be some healthy competition between the little athletes! 

Paired with a robust LMS, teachers will be able to track progress over time and determine how quickly they're able to ramp up difficulty and further tune fitness levels of their students. 

For more information and videos about this game, please click here.

Fitnexx Fit4Class- Kinect Fitness Game for Children

This is a project we're really excited to be working on.  We're developing the software for Fitnexx's Fit4Class. Fit4Class is a Kinect game to be played in schools by K-5 students. The video below is an early graphics test for an obstacle course in the game. 

 

 

Setting Up Virtual Reality in the Classroom (Part 2)

Choosing Computer Hardware and Optional Hardware

As we mentioned before in Part 1, the hardware requirements for virtual reality are pretty steep. Most classrooms in both schools and corporate environments are not outfitted with adequate hardware to run VR.

As of right now, the cheapest options retail for around $800 per PC. There are a handful of laptops that are ready for VR, and the starting prices for those are at around $1150 per machine.

Desktops

These are just a fraction of the options for PCs that are on the market now. They’re labeled as “Vive ready” or Oculus ready” but in reality, these machines will (in most cases) work for either headset.

Oculus Ready PCs

Vive PCs

You also have the option of building your own. Here are links to a couple of guides.

Less than $900

Moderately Priced DIY Option

Laptops

While there aren’t many laptops out there that can handle virtual reality right now, this article does provide some good suggestions.

Optional Hardware

Kinect+Adaptor

The Kinect is a full body motion tracker.  It’s perfect for fitness applications and other real world scenarios where physical tasks are a large part of the training experience.

Virtuix Omni

The Virtuix Omni is a 360 rotational treadmill.  This piece of hardware is exceptionally useful when moving through areas is a significant part of the training process.

Leap Motion

The Leap Motion is a small device that can be mounted to a head-mounted display.  The device tracks hand motions, and can be used for more realistic training when physical tasks are performed.

New Immersive Tech Series: A Look At Some Virtual Reality Input Solutions

Leap-and-Kinect-1  

I'd like to start out by saying that this post was written and scheduled to post BEFORE Valve's latest announcement (the new SteamVR hardware).  There will be another post talking about that exciting new technology soon! I just need a little time to clean up the drool puddles around here that were caused by the mention of a new Portal game demoed with it... (GLADOS is my hero)

Now that that's out of the way...

"Input is really important for virtual reality, and our approach is that anything that's important, we need to be working on," said Oculus Rift creator, Palmer Luckey.

The goal of virtual reality input methods are to achieve the look and feel of natural settings as realistically as possible. The various products, hardware and software, available to this point achieve this to varying degrees.

Here are just a few of the technologies that we're really excited about when it comes to developing training applications.

Kinect and Leap Motion Controller (on the market now)

Kinect for Windows

Pros/Features

  • Includes physical hardware
  • Motion sensing infrared
  • Input using the hands and voice
  • Has depth sensing
  • Allows the creation of specific hand gestures to affect responses
  • Interactive applications
  • Responsive
  • Stable product created by a stable company and has been on the market for several years
  • Single piece of hardware

Cons

  • lacks clear haptic feedback
  • somewhat limited when it comes accurately capturing more intricate motions

 

Leap Motion Controller

Pros/Features

  • Doesn’t replace the mouse and keyboard, but works in conjunction with them
  • Connects via USB
  • Motion sensor that can read the slightest motions
  • Can sense all 10 fingers at once
  • Takes up little space on desktop
  • Single piece of hardware

Cons

  • Doesn't replace the mouse and keyboard, but works in conjunction with them (pro/con depending on perspective)
  • Doesn’t have many applications to interact with up to now
  • Takes up little space on the desktop
  • Limits user to a much smaller space (compared with other technologies), and therefore limited in possible applications

Razer Hydra is a Thing of the Past

The now unavailable Razer Hydra was more suitable for gaming, but not for a comprehensive virtual reality experience. It was more of a controller in a traditional sense, similar to Nintendo’s Wii. Bulky and space intensive, it is now sought by gamers looking for a certain type of controller but will not be a model for future virtual reality input methods. It was a really cool idea though.

Promising Input Controllers (still in development)

Control VR

Pros/Features

  • Devices worn on chest, arms, and hands
  • Promises to allow professionals and gamers to interact with virtual reality via the hands and fingers
  • Reviews claim movements are accurately represented on screen
  • Not confined to a camera's sensor perception

Cons

  • Lots of cords to get tangled up or tangled in
  • Lots of pieces to keep up with

 

Project Perception Neuron

Pros/Features

  • Devices worn on the hands, arms and legs
  • Has a lot of cords
  • Boasts simple use and motion detection
  • 9 axis IMU

Cons

  • Lots of cords to get tangled up or tangled in
  • LOTS of pieces to keep up with
  • Company is still starting up and working out kinks

 

PrioVR

Pros/Features

  • Claims to have natural, full body interaction
  • 3 different packages offered range from 8-17 sensors
  • Senses without the use of cameras
  • Still starting up

Cons

  • Lots of pieces to keep up with

The future will belong to input devices that can accurately transform motion to digital representations, on screen, in an immersive environment, that also can give haptic feedback (such as resistance in the arms and legs, as if the user was lifting something heavy, etc). Many devices don’t need to use cameras to translate their movements through the lens, but few seem to offer haptic feedback and this is an area that developers will likely need to focus on to improve the VR experience.