Wearing glasses isn’t the only thing in VR or Metaverse!?-What VR newbies need to know-CNET Japan

With the advent of Oculus Quest 2, everyone can easily enjoy virtual reality, and the virtual reality industry has attracted attention so far, but Facebook changed the company name to “Meta” and focused on building the metaverse. be used more often, and it attracts more attention. People who bought a new VR headset and jumped around the world came to see it often.

On the other hand, people often ask “what should I know first about VR” and “where should I start?”, and even people who have never been interested in VR have started to ask. interest in it.

Some people understand the basics of technology, but for the vast majority of people, new technologies are difficult to understand. Even if you’re familiar with trendy devices, it’s not uncommon to have trouble understanding VR concepts and terms.

So this time I want to cover the basics of VR. Explains VR concepts, terms, basic devices and more. If you don’t know where to start in VR, let’s try to get a rough idea this time.

What is Virtual Reality?

VR, which stands for virtual reality, translates to “artificial reality” or “virtual reality”. This includes meanings such as “actually not real, but essentially real”, and it is possible to get a “realistic experience” through virtual reality. When we talk about virtual reality, we associate it with a head-mounted display (HMD) that attaches a device to the head, but it can also include entering virtual space with a smartphone or desktop computer. .

A device called VR glasses, HMD, consists of a screen (or two display panels, one for each eye) attached to a frame (or headset) attached or strapped to the head. A pair of lenses are usually attached between the panel and the eyes, completely blocking out the outside world and making what you see through the helmet look like your whole world. It is one of the real pleasures of immersing yourself in the virtual world using HMD in VR.

It is also important that the headset follows the movements of the user (tracking) so that the displayed screen is adjusted accordingly. Head, body and mouth movements on the real side are tracked and reflected in virtual movements. However, the range to follow varies depending on the device and the environment.

In many cases, virtual reality makes it possible to control and choose elements in a virtual environment. You can use a controller for each hand, or you can pick up the movements of your hands and fingertips and operate them freely in a controller-less virtual environment.

Basic Virtual Reality Terms and Concepts

Here I will explain terms and concepts that even beginners should keep in mind.

Field of view (field of view)

This is called the “field of view”. Field of view in the context of virtual reality refers to everything you can see at any time in the virtual world when using the headset. The VR headsets available to users today are basically a field of view or narrower than what you can actually see. That is, when using a helmet, it does not correspond to the actual field of vision of the eye.

When using VR there is often a black “border” around the lens you are looking at. This is the space around the lens inside the helmet. However, if the headset’s field of view is wide enough, it’s easy to forget that there are restrictions, as the bezels can make it look like you’re looking at a virtual world through a pair of glasses. Field of view can be measured in different ways, and device manufacturers may not accurately represent what they see compared to other headsets.

Degrees of freedom

One important thing is the “degree of freedom” when it comes to movement and tracking in VR. This is called “DoF”. The more degrees of freedom, the more physical movement is performed by the headset and reflected in virtual space.

Two common terms for degrees of freedom are “3DoF” and “6DoF”. VR headsets that only offer “3DoF” only track head movements, not positions in space (x, y, z coordinates). On the other hand, “6DoF” can track both head movement in physical space and its coordinates.

I think the following GIF is easy to understand.

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Newer VR headsets offer 6DoF position tracking. Older devices are already obsolete or will be phased out in the future, eg Google Cardboard, Google Daydream, Gear VR, Oculus Go, etc. use 3DoF.

monitoring

VR headsets have a way of tracking the movements of the user wearing the system.

Today’s mainstream tracking formats typically rely on the helmet’s built-in camera to track movement from the inside to the outside of the helmet. Advanced Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) algorithms detect features of the physical environment surrounding the user wearing the headset. Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift S, HTC Vive Cosmos and Windows Mixed Reality headsets (Samsung Odyssey, Lenovo Explorer, Acer HMD, etc.) use this system.

controller

There are several ways to work with virtual content.

Headsets such as the Oculus Quest 2, HP Reverb G2, and HTC Vive Cosmos all come with two controllers, one for each hand, and are tracked with 6DoF.

Quest and Quest 2 include hand tracking which eliminates the need for a controller in certain situations. In other words, it can be operated by hand without using a controller. With this Quest update, the built-in camera is now able to fully track hand and finger movements with fairly high accuracy. Hand and finger tracking has yet to completely replace the controller, but this technology could have been a catalyst for new sensations in many applications. I look forward to the future.

Movement in VR

VR has several movement options. It is also because it is considered that the user using the VR headset may cause “virtual reality sickness” in a specific movement.

For example, a method of displaying a marker at a destination in VR space and teleporting to that location is a general movement method. And it is the most comfortable option for many. Normally, teleportation is invoked by pressing a button on the controller, and the user can move through space simply by selecting a destination that can be teleported. However, of course, teleportation is not yet possible in the real world, so some users complain that this method of movement called teleportation, which is unique to VR, “breaks the immersive feel”. In response, motion types similar to traditional video games that push the stick and “move” in the direction the stick is pushed may also be offered as options. However, this method of movement may be offensive to some people, and some users will experience nausea a few seconds to minutes after launch. If you feel sick, stop using the VR headset immediately and take a break. In many cases it is possible to change the method of movement in the settings, so in this case we recommend that you move by “teleportation”.

VR isn’t just about wearing glasses!?

Virtual reality can be broadly divided into “people”, “virtual people and world”, and “virtual world”.

First of all, people are close to the fields of psychology and cognitive science. Explore the sensations and cognitive functions that people originally have. Realize more natural sensations for humans with virtual reality and use virtual reality to study human cognition that has not yet been discovered. To give you an easy thing to understand, there are a lot of people who get drunk while wearing VR, but such research on “virtual reality sickness” may apply here as well.

Then, concerning the human and the virtual world, it is perhaps the image of VR that we generally imagine. However, virtual reality is not limited to HMDs. Here we think about what kind of stimulus should be created for humans and how to replicate reality with human senses, how comfortable it is to wear a device and how virtual reality fits into the society.

A study reported by a research team at the University of California, San Francisco, which has recently become a hot topic, is “treatment-resistant depression (TRD: anti-depression), in which a neurostimulator is integrated into a region of the brain linked to the symptoms of depression to give electrical stimulation The field of brain-machine interface (BMI), such as the development of five-sense presentation devices, electrical stimulation and the movement of robots based on brain information, as in the case of the proof of principle of new treatments of “depression that does not respond to depression” is also taken up.

Moreover, the existence of “avatars” is indispensable in VR, but “avatar research” is also included in VR. (* Reference: Published on November 17, 2021 “Metavers – Aggregation of virtual spaces and expansion of the digital world”)

For example, it has been reported that when a person with low self-esteem used the Einstein avatar to work on a task, cognitive task performance improved compared to using an avatar. normal. (Banakou D, Kishore S and Slater M) These are also called “Proteus effect” and “ghost engineering”.

Finally, the “virtual world” is a bit blurry and is an image of “the environment created by VR”. Digital twins, sound systems in virtual environments, projection mapping and environments to realize a “virtual world” would be applicable.

Virtual reality is deep!

Generally, the image of “VR = glasses” is strong, but VR is broader and deeper than the general image, such as VR’s influence on people and society, cognition research and sensation. Virtual reality and brain science research is still in development, so I look forward to future developments. The buzzword “Metaverse” has caused a lot of controversy about “virtual reality is popular and not popular”, but I’m even more excited about the future of “2D Internet will become 3D” approach. to big steps.

Hiromasa Saito

CEO of Steins Inc. and CTO

Master in Physics from TalTech University of Technology, National University of Estonia. Starting a business in a local co-ordinating business while attending school. At the doctoral school, engaged in research on the numerical analysis of literature and the research and development of small artificial satellites. He has received numerous awards at hackathons in Estonia and has taken to the stage. We focus on art-related VR/AI activities such as VR museum. Former tennis coach.

Twitter @T_I_SHOW

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