Virtual Reality with a Pico Projector

Although virtual reality was the wave of the future in the early 90’s, it hasn’t really taken off the way we would have liked. Sometimes a great idea just takes time for the technology to catch up to it (Aeolipile anyone?). Now that tiny projectors, realistic FPS games, and eye tracking systems have come down in price, this head-tracking projection system engineered by students at University of Texas at Austin could be the start of something really neat.

Although we’ve seen some cool FPS/pico projector hacks before, most of them use the “gun” as the controller. This approach offers a a different experience as one isn’t required to carry a “gun” around. It simply tracks one’s eye movement and moves the projector automatically. Check out the video after the break to see this device in action.

Comments

  1. Hackerspacer says:

    Sounds a bit like a C.A.V.E.

  2. blarghmaster says:

    soo… your focussing on a moving object… which is moving cuz your focused on it… which changes as it moves… which makes you focus on it… which moves as you focus on it… which is moving cuz your focused on it… but your focused cuz its moving… which is~ *headasplode*

    Nice idea… but i think the projected image needs to be considerably bigger before it could be used as a good VR platform

  3. This seems a bit more like augmented reality tech than virtual reality tech. Putting virtual components into the real-world space, instead of immersing a real person into a virtual space.

  4. svofski says:

    If there is a screen anyway, why not just project image on the entire screen instead of making your head explode?

  5. TeiSinTai says:

    Actually, if you overlap this tracked pico-projection over less bright, less-detailed, but large projection of entire field of vision, including peripherals, it can be neat.

  6. zing says:

    This has the advantage of not requiring half a dozen high-res projectors.

    It’d be nice if they had a second projector with a shorter throw to provide a larger lower-res “peripheral vision” around the high-res area.

  7. C says:

    I see this as a way to get a multi monitor setup with one projector. You see the part of the screen you are looking at.

  8. Drackar says:

    The pico-projector is just a gimmicky part of this…the interesting part is the eye tracking software…

    now compbine that with a bloody set of HUD goggles. The point of looking at a curved display is being able to see the entire surface at once.

  9. Rog says:

    How about 2 micro projectors attached to either side of the head, polarised filters, simple polarised glasses and ir head tracking?

    Just paint a room white for full 3d VR.

    Whaddya reckon?

  10. Johan G says:

    I think TeiSinTai and zing nailed it. AFAIK at least some very high-end military simulators uses exactly that technique: A wide low res projection and a high res projection that follows the line of sight and the foveal field of view, the small area in which most humans have sharp vision and see colours.

  11. pRoFlT says:

    When do we get a holodeck! I want full 3D emersion already!

    I do like the gun mounted projector design better though.

    I want to see pico projector run from iphone or android phone. using gyro compass etc.. to get position. Then run a FPS game with it! Maybe mount the phone and projector to something like a toy gun. Smoke filled room and its game time!

  12. Chris says:

    Here is an update on the project

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