There’s a lot of talk about virtual reality at the moment, what with Facebook buying out Oculus VR for a whopping $2 billion. But there’s a big problem with VR, and that’s that it’s still not that interactive. There’s a few companies that have tried to fix that, adding a sensor or two to your body, but none of them go as far as Survios, which combines several different motion tracking technologies together to create the most immersive experience out there right now.
Survios is a Frankenstein monster of a VR experience. It uses an Oculus Rift with some additional hardware attached, Move Motion sensor system from a PlayStation, a pair of Sixense motion controllers and a high-end headset, all hooked up to a laptop that you have to carry around on your back. However, what this gives you, is a truly mobile, non-tethered VR experience.
You can move your hands, open and close fingers, walk around the room and look around you, all in virtual reality and the real world, with 1:1 translation of your movements. This means that in the custom made game demos Survios has created, you get to shoot and hack zombies apart, fire guns and bows and arrows at targets and complete simple puzzles, all in full virtual reality without the need for a keyboard, joystick or traditional controller.
One of the biggest immersion breakers for first time Rift users, was that their hands were always stationary. While that was something you could fix with aftermarket solutions like the Razer Hydra, nobody has gone as far as Survios in creating a visual and physical feedback system into the game.
Unfortunately at the moment we have no idea what a Survios system would cost, but theoretically, it could easily cost more than £1,000. If you factor in the cost of the a basic two sensor Sixense kit and the new Rift Devkit 2, it’s over £400 already. Throw in the headset and move motion and you’re over £550. While you technically could have the laptop already, it seems likely that Survios will eventually sell fully functioning kits for the non-VR initiated. Which means we’re easily looking at a system that’s £1,200 or more.
As immersive as Survios is, there’s a lot of problems with it at the moment. The biggest is undoubtedly that it’s so bulky still. A backpack is a piece of tech that only a few small group of people are going to court around with them. While it’s likely to get smaller over time, the only way we’re going to see truly untethered and unweighted VR is if they can sort out incredibly fast wireless latency. No word on whether that’ll be possible any time soon though.
There’s also the problem of space. With the Survios you either need restrictive games or giant rooms to play in, as you could easily bump into a wall, a door or stub your toe without realising – which makes me think this type of gear would be best used in an arcade setting. In a space specifically designed with certain games in-mind.
And of course the cost could be problematic too, but until we know a solid price it would be unfair to judge it on those grounds.
I love the concept of the Survios. I think it’s awesome and could very well be the next stage of Rift development, but I don’t see it ever catching on in the home.[Thanks TechCrunch]