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Laptop + Wiimote = 3D VR Display

Laptop + Wiimote = 3D VR Display

There are alternatives to looking like a dork in a silly hat. Try the silly glasses instead.

If you’re looking for an incredibly cool toy to play with over your Christmas holidays you could do a lot worse than checking out Johnny Lee’s Wiimote VR Head Tracking Display.

Using an LED array – as found in the Wii Sensor Bar – and a Wiimote, Johnny Lee has been able to track the movements of his head. Which doesn’t sound like a big deal, until you see the video of the technology in action. Go ahead, visit the link. I’ll wait.

While everyone who is able to access YouTube goes and drools at the video, I’ll explain for those of you who might be behind a firewall: by placing the Wiimote below the TV and wearing the Sensor Bar (or home-made IR LED array) on your head, a laptop is able to track your position and viewing angle in relation to the display. It then takes this data and alters the viewpoint accordingly. As Johnny Lee puts it, the display actually becomes “a window onto another room.”

And blow me down if it doesn’t. A basic 2D image suddenly jumps out in ways that inventors of shutter glasses always planned, only this technology doesn’t give you a headache.

Things move completely convincingly as your perspective changes. If you’ve got a second Wiimote and Sensor Bar you can even play a simple Wii Play-type shooting game.

If you have a Wii and a PC with Bluetooth capabilities, you owe it to yourself to download the demo. It is truly amazing, and Nintendo needs to get this guy a job stat. I personally can’t wait for a first-person shooter to come out featuring this amazingly simple and yet incredibly effective technology.

Give it a go, and let us know how you get on via the forums.

26 Comments

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DriftCarl 24th December 2007, 08:29 Quote
I want one, whatever that guy produces commercially, I am buying it.
This cheap Wii that so many people critisized(including myself) before it came out has turned into one of the best consoles ever in terms of innovation. The possabilities of this technology could revolutionise gaming.
MaximumShow 24th December 2007, 08:31 Quote
Brilliant
CanadianViking 24th December 2007, 09:14 Quote
Simply amazing!
oasked 24th December 2007, 09:20 Quote
Isn't there a similar thing already out - TrackIR?

That demo was awesome though. :)
Bladestorm 24th December 2007, 09:22 Quote
Awesome.
Stelph 24th December 2007, 09:36 Quote
Was just thinking that If/when there was a linux version of the programs (rather than windows), I would have thought I could use my PS3 to run the programs!

That would be the ultimate in cross console support..... :-)

The head tracking was brilliant
p3n 24th December 2007, 10:09 Quote
If only the wii could handle a proper 3d environment :)
ElZog 24th December 2007, 11:48 Quote
This guy really gets the new technology and is doing so many interesting things, he's thinking out of the box (monitor) and turning it into a cube.
yodasarmpit 24th December 2007, 13:35 Quote
That is very innovative, science fiction is quickly becoming science fact.
Marquee 24th December 2007, 13:44 Quote
Dam he is good. This guy is bright, wondering if google is looking into hiring hi. Or even Intel, the are trying to do something like this right with high end cameras and motion detection. Summing up this guys work all into one word would be like, "Brilliant".

Good luck to him, and thank you youtube.com wOOt wOOt.
genesisofthesith 24th December 2007, 14:46 Quote
very cool
DXR_13KE 24th December 2007, 15:45 Quote
I've been seeing what this guy has been doing for some time..... i really hope Nintendo uses this, it is cheap enough to be bundled with a game and it is pure awesome for hardcore gamers.... you would effectively be playing with 3 inputs.... imagine this in a game that has bullet time or time freeze.
Tyinsar 24th December 2007, 15:48 Quote
http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=144199 <- previous thread

What I posted there:

For a functioning PC device (more than a tech demo) try this: http://www.naturalpoint.com/trackir/
Sadly though the list of games supporting this is relatively short
Captain Slug 24th December 2007, 16:32 Quote
I know him better for this project, which is also really awesome: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/projects/thesis/
EmJay 24th December 2007, 18:01 Quote
This guy has an interesting combination of abilities. He has the creativity to come up with the idea, the technical/programming skills to make it work, and the communication skills to present it clearly. You can make a living off of one of those skills, you can get top marks at any college with two. All three... if he's not getting job offers yet, I'll eat my hat.

Yeah, very very impressive.
chrisb2e9 24th December 2007, 18:08 Quote
that is awsome. really cool.
Cptn-Inafinus 24th December 2007, 19:17 Quote
Woaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah............
mctigger 24th December 2007, 20:04 Quote
awesome
MonkeyNutZ 25th December 2007, 03:07 Quote
Gah, why didn't I ask for a bluetooth card for Christmas!

:(
outlawaol 25th December 2007, 09:50 Quote
This guy is a true innovator. Taking what already exists and making something really freaking cool. It was crazy how that head tracking demo looked that 3D even on a silly youtube video. I have a bluetooth adapter and will try this out for sure in the near future.

Nintendo, HIRE THIS GUY!
Mattakadeimos 26th December 2007, 02:11 Quote
For the first time in about ten years of 'technology progress' this is the very first thing that has made me go "Whoa!"

Its a very cool concept, easy to install, doesn't require expensive third party hardware.

There really is only one hurdle to seeing this in my home. That is the developers of games. I don't think it'll get much recognition in the pc gaming world (terrible shame) but I can see it being a win-win situation for ninty. I hope that in 08 we see some clever use of this in wii games.
xion 26th December 2007, 12:55 Quote
My god, get this man a job stat! Tyhis is the first "proof of concept" that i can actually see not only working but becoming mainstream in its implementation. Johnny Chung Lee - you good Sir - are a genius!
Stickeh 26th December 2007, 21:08 Quote
This would be so easy to implement on a wii....place the wiimote near the screen, place on glasses, hold other wiimote in other hand
OMG FUN TIMES.

Also that guys thesis is crazy cool, hes a very clever chappy!
completemadness 27th December 2007, 01:36 Quote
wow, this is an awesome idea
knuck 27th December 2007, 03:14 Quote
I am extremely impressed by all his videos so far ! Genius !
xion 27th December 2007, 14:59 Quote
The vr-head-tracking demo seems like it could be a massive boon to the gaming industry, however I cant help wondering if this will mean a heafty boost in horsepower required to run it? with all graphics cards using early z occlusion culling, would this have to rethought, or just rendered on-the-fly as in current games?

I could really see this kind of tech used in arcade games soon, iirc - there is already a boxing game that uses rudimentary head tracking (camera and white backdrop) but no adjustment of POV...
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