REAST Members learn about Virtual Reality

Ian Mackintosh Explaining Virtual Reality (Photo VK7TW)

It was standing room only and we had a visitor in VK2 Bob VK7BS who has moved down here and is about to become a member of REAST.

The room was setup in a theatre of the round configuration with a big table in the middle with three different Oculus Rift headsets (DK1, DK2 and CE1), computers, high power video cards, controllers and cameras.

Ian then took the audience through the video games that pioneered 3D and VR with Doom and Quake. We started to see standardised 3D gaming engines that most manufacturers adopted.

Ian Mackintosh started with a presentation on Virtual Reality (VR) Archeology. Starting in 1965 with Ivan Sutherland and Ian took the audience through the development of computer graphics and specifically three dimensional computer graphics. The VR boom took off in 1970-80s with Atari with arcade games which overtook the military applications and development. The game that took Atari to another level was Star Wars with vector graphics and Ian bought along service manual for this game. The 1990 saw NASA put resource toward VR along with Nintendo Virtual Boy and SEGA cockpit arcade game. But unfortunately each manufacturer would custom build and develop the hardware and software. Most of these were commercial failures. Ian then went through the VR Recipe including 3D hardware, multi-thread multi core processors, six degrees of freedom, 3D audio, etc.

An Oculus VR Headset setup (Photo VK7TW)

Pose estimation was then explained with cameras looking at the headset with infrared LEDs being picked up by the camera and the in headset sensors.

Ian then went into the Oculus development kits DK1 & DK2 and the Consumer Edition 1. There are sensors available for virtual rooms which enable free roaming. There are eye tracking headsets that track your eyes and know where you are looking.

We then went into questions and then into the demonstrations. Ian had compiled the same VR experience in all three Oculus Rift models and this gave an idea of the improvements over the development.

The audience then was able to run around through the VR world in each of the demonstrations.

REAST Member Alan experiences VR! (Photo VK7TW)

What a fantastic presentation and a huge thank you to Ian for all the work that went into setting this demonstration and presentation. Linda VK7QP ALARA President was heard to say whilst she was in the virtual world that “she was sliding down the banister of life” HIHI!

The presentation and demonstration was recorded and will be on the REAST Channel on Youtube video very soon and is well worth a look.

(73, Justin, VK7TW)

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