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VR Trends Digest #3

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Published by admin
25 August 2020

A finger motion tracking algorithm in VR

You have to use controllers to interact with objects in VR/AR environment. Arizona State University researchers have introduced FMKit, an air-handwriting/tracing tool. 

Next time you start a VR session and a dialogue pop-up appears with the necessary authentication, you can use in-air handwriting instead of typing with FMKit. Applying 3D in-air hand gestures is another step to improve fine motor skills tracking to interact with virtual objects as well as to input information. It is designed to apply for user authentication, user identification, and word recognition, and preliminary baseline performance.

An individual finger’s path is recorded in 3D space and compared against four data sets of handwriting samples Python libraries and a data repository collected from more than 180 users is applied. Two different types of devices are involved to capture hand movement: the Leap Motion controller and a custom made data glove with an Inertial Measurement Unit at the tip of the index finger. Comparing accuracy, as a user identification system, FMKit achieves 93% accuracy with Leap Motion and nearly 96% accuracy with the glove. Leap motion shows better results in handwriting recognition, with the whole system reaching 87,4% of the time. Still, the system needs to be developed and it cannot replace voice input for dictation. FMKit is an open-source project including the library and dataset for other researches that can contribute to system development.  

Moreover, FMKit allows developing business applications. Fostering corporate security for digital content with highly personalized protection, a system is applied when employees draw a special signature to unlock a secured XR headset or individually secured app. As an alternative, a common passcode system can be applied that uses symbols or other distinctive markings rather than typing numbers and letters.


Set free your creativity - create your VR game 

Media Molecule, the creators of the platform Dreams for PlayStation 4, announced an update allowing VR users to create games in virtual reality. As the digital playground was designed for Playstation 4 community to Play, Create and Share, introducing easy-to-use editor tools is a logical step forward.

Media Molecule equips all Playstation 4 followers with a manual explaining in detail how to create your own VR games. When a new VR game is ready, users will be able to test it immediately. Furthermore, in order the global community can play your game, you can upload it into a playlist. In this case, it will be rated based on quality and comfort. 

Dreams allows to experience your own VR world and invite your friends! Providing freedom to VR users is another step to creating personalized content in VR. So, in the future, VR training development might be possible in-house. 


Facebook VR Glove System   

Facebook is working tough on virtual reality projects. This time the social media giant has registered a patent for a future VR Glove System with its breakthrough in hand tracking. Now it is possible to use millimeter-wave transponders instead of motion tracking or optical motion capture methodologies. Radio sensors (that are transponders) are located on each finger and allow to determine VR users’ hands' position more accurately. At the same time, the patented invention can be used for user input, so that the system recognizes the known gestures and responds accordingly. 

This system is capable of providing haptic feedback. So a VR user can feel an object is in his hands as he gestures to pick up and grab an object in a VR scene. The system tracks the user’s motion and provides tactile feedback. Tracking hand motion allows us to have an insight into users’ actions in VR to provide more personalized VR experience in the future.

Mercedes-Benz with an AR Head-Up Display

The automotive industry goes all-digital and has already applied immersive technologies as, for example, in the product development process. This is how companies save costs by reducing the number of prototypes and speed up the launch of new models to the market. This time Daimler AG goes further and introduces its Mercedes-Benz W223 S-Class sedan equipped with AR Head-Up Display (HUD).

This unique high-tech feature provides support for navigation and driver assistance functions. As it is seen from video presentation the HUD is projected onto W223 S-Class sedan windscreen and will display indicators, alerts, notifications in real-time. It is worth mentioning that the digital instrument cluster offers three-dimensional effects without the necessity to wear 3D glasses. This is achieved due to the Mercedes-Benz User Experience system has an aperture angle of 10 degrees horizontal and 5 degrees vertical, and can project the colored information, virtually, up to 10 meters ahead.

Mercedes-Benz plans to start sales of its flagship sedan in 2021. 


Stylish Etee controllers for sophisticated VR users 

Etee is third party controllers developed by a London-based TGo Kickstarter. It is designed to execute grasping movements in virtual reality with smooth control from every finger. The device is minimalistic and smart, light. It weighs about 120 gram. The controllers are without any buttons. They track the movements by monitoring the points of finger contact, their proximity to the body, and pressure. Thumbpad is with full thumbstick functionality. Etee’s long battery life lasts up to 6 hours of continuous use (14 hours standby). The developers include embedded haptic feedback. Etee is sweat, water, and dust-resistant. It can easily be wiped down between users that is a well-thought feature in the COVID-19 times. It is connected wirelessly. TGo Kickstarter develops the hub EteeConnect for controlling the functionality of Etee in Windows. So the hub is used to connect the controllers, calibrate them, and tune the sensitivity. 


What is really unique about this controller and that many VR gurus get excited about is that Etee is user-friendly. There is no need to introduce control buttons as it is enough to grab Etee and it starts immediately working due to sensors. The design concept presupposes the controller's usage in gaming, but we see a lot of opportunities for this device in VR training, rehabilitation, etc. 

Anna Metsik
Virtual Reality Consultant
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