Summer Scholars Experiments

Experiments is a very, uh, strong word. I basically had a summer to play around with learning how to VR development, and I took some videos during the process. I played around quite a bit with Leap Motion's hand tracker, the HTC Vive, and Unity. Here's an album:

At the end of the summer they had us throw together posters for an end-of-the-semester academic poster session. Here's what I ended up with:

Here's the full text:

Summer Scholars XR

Alina Christenbury, Andy Novocin

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Delaware

Goals

The project’s objective was to explore various facets of Mixed Reality (XR) as a medium. This involved time looking at what other people have already made, learning basic game development, in-Virtual Reality (VR) content creation, and constructing an Augmented Reality (AR) headset from scratch.

Hand Tracking Applications

Part of the summer was spent working with a hand tracking device, which uses infrared cameras to build a skeleton of hands it sees. This can be used in AR and VR, and adds a lot of possibilities for human-computer interaction.

Some of the prototypes worked on over the duration of the project involved using hands as a mouse emulator, controlling a first person shooter, and a gesture- based spellcasting demo.

Augmented Reality Headset

Time was spent building a North Star, an open source AR headset. The plans were published by Leap Motion in early June 2018, and work on 3D printing parts began immediately.

Future Developments

There is a vast amount of potential for mixed reality to impact the way we live our lives. For example, AR-backed music skills training will be able to help people learn how to play guitar, piano, or other instruments on the fly, and could even help explain complex 3D mathematics with interactive virtual graphs.

But it doesn’t stop at interactive skills training. Mixed reality applications will bring all of the power and information computers currently give us directly into our hands.

Content Creation in VR

Building 3D models while in virtual reality is a unique experience. I spent time working in Google Blocks and Tiltbrush, and was able to turn and use those pieces in prototypes rather than using traditionally created models.

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Check out the repo here:

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