Augmented Virtual Reality mode.

Vuforia have updated their Unity Plugin to V 5 so that mixed VR/AR  becomes a lot easier to achieve. The docs are here:
You will need to have at least Unity 5.3.1, but you don’t need to have the Google Cardboard Unity package as Vuforia supports it now.

Here’s what’s happening – using common or garden Vuforia frame markers I can print them to put over the walls and the marker has a mesh attached with a material so it looks like a glowy grid. The grid shows up when I get too near to the wall to stop me walking into it.  apparently Vuforia can track up to 256 frame markers with low overheads.

Frame Markers with 'safety grid' seen thru the Google Cardboard v1.
Frame Markers with ‘safety grid’ seen thru the Google Cardboard v1.

In the shot below a regular Vuforia image target is tracked and displays a motion capture sequence. Extended tracking is used so that the target can go out of shot for a bit. So now we can walk around the  sticky like figure and see the perspective correctly change and also not walk into walls.

Voila! position tracking in mobile VR.

Tracked marker on the floor displays 3d performer.
Tracked marker on the floor displays 3d performer (this is an Oskar Schlemmer-like stick figure – actually Ruth Gibson’s avatar)

Notes:

  • in these screenshots I’ve left the camera view on so that you can see the 3d content overlaid onto the real world — to show the set up. In practice you can turn the camera feed off, and just see the VR content.
  • Vuforia have done a good job of getting the camera feed to be in stereo and match real world, with no distortion. You can see from the screenies how much screen real estate is lost. This is because the camera doesn’t have a wide enough field for view to match the screensize.
  • This new version is heaps better that the long winded version I posted earlier – they are going for the digital eyewear market I guess …
  • Vuforia don’t seem to be supporting Cardboard 2 which in any case doesn’t have a hole for the camera lens to see through.

I wrote this post because amongst other applications I was thinking of integrating this into our MAN A mobile VR App. However we decided to just forklift update the App and add new scenes and audio for desktop VR.