Virtual reality hardware can be used to modify the real world too. Two artists have made use of a HTC Vive’s tracked controllers for realtime projection mapping on real world objects, letting them create customisable projection screens on any surface, 3D models and even a movable companion cube.
Traditionally the HTC Vive’s controllers are used to track gestures and allow interaction within the virtual world for those wearing a HTC Vive headset. However the controllers utilise a similar tracking system to the tracking puck accessories HTC recently announced. That means that when placed on a surface, APIs like OpenVR know exactly where they are. When combined with some clever software and an artist’s ingenuity, some interesting projects emerge.
Harvey Moon posted a Youtube video of what he and a colleague were able to do with that technology and the results are impressive (thanks Redditor friendshipcastle).[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gkidC6hTlY’]
The controllers can be used to manually control a PC-connected projector, changing colours and the size of the projection, but it’s the automated projection mapping that is so impressive. In one example it is used to create a companion cube and another, a 3D model of the Statue of Liberty.
Moon hasn’t detailed exactly how this was achieved but said that it was quite simple and used: “some rubber bands and a calibrated projector,” which lets the controller “allow physical interaction with projected surfaces.” He also told Redditors that they used the Valve developed, open source API, OpenVR, to translate tracking data into something that the projector could understand and react to.
Right now the artists don’t have a standalone tracking puck the likes of which HTC and Valve will release later this year, but they hope Valve will send them one in the near future. Perhaps after seeing this project in action.
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KitGuru Says: I was already excited by the possibilities of extra trackers in VR, but it seems like they can have some use outside of it too.