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Insightful News


Insightful News


Insightful News

Disney experiment lets you catch real objects while in VR


We’re still getting used to the immersive magic virtual reality offers, but a new experiment from Disney Research pushes the technology into another realm: interaction with real objects while in VR.

A demonstration of the experiment was revealed on Monday via video (below) that shows a VR headset wearer accurately catching a real ball thrown at him. However, the VR headset wearer can’t see the real ball. Instead he’s reacting to a virtual ball that is tracked to correspond to the real-world object.


The tracking was accomplished using the OptiTrack Flex 13 motion capture camera, which tracked the ball as well as the catcher’s hands and head at roughly 120 frames per second. Although it’s not readily apparent in the video, the hardware is an Oculus Rift headset and the team used Unity software to render the virtual environment.  

“While small latencies exist in our system and objects such as the user’s hands are rendered abstractly, our system allows users to be quite adept at catching balls while in VR,” reads Disney Research’s paper [PDF] that lays out the details of the proof of concept. “Thus, combining virtual and physical dynamic interactions to enrich virtual reality experiences is feasible.”