Got to try it at Maker Faire NY. It was neat. But I am still not understanding why it’s a better option than:
- traditional displays
- VR glasses such as Occulus Rift
- tablet-like touch surfaces
Traditional displays and touch surfaces don’t adjust what you see when you walk around them, so aren’t capable of creating true virtual 3D objects such as those shown in the video.
Occulus Rift blocks your view of the room you’re in, so if you were to try walking around a virtual object you’re likely to end up hurting yourself. You also can’t interact directly with and alter the 3D graphics (as shown in the video with the wand and miniatures).
I guess my question is, what does walking around (literally) a virtual object accomplish, that spinning around a virtual object on a 2D computer monitor does not? Or, full on stereoscopic display, whether it’s a computer screen, or VR goggles?
Methinks you just answered your own question, since what you described is exactly what a 3D VR/AR system does.
Its advantage over the Occulus etc. is that you can share a 3D simulated space, in augmented-reality mode, with other users – the gameboard demonstrations are an illustration thereof. And it’s a fairly inexpensive way of achieving AR/VR.
Touch surfaces only allow 2D input. This package is giving you an input device more closely akin to the Polhemus “space mouse” – though I’m not sure they can deliver the orientation information needed for full six-axis control. (On the other hand, folks have gotten better at deriving cues for that from camera info, so maybe.)
Traditional displays are 2D output and require that you interact through another device, which may be nonintuitive/counterintuitive for the interaction you’re trying to perform. Of course their wand isn’t going to be right for all interactions either, which is why they also designed in the RF transponders; see previous paragraph.
Whether it’s “a better option” depends ENTIRELY on what you want to do. But you could say the same about color monitors.
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