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* Posts by Jim84

41 posts • joined 20 Mar 2012

Look out, bankers! It's Lily Cole and her (Brit taxpayer-funded) WISH-PRINTING ATM

Jim84

BBQ.com

I think this is the twenty teens version of BBQ.com being valued at millions of dollars by investors at the turn of the century..

I can understand that government run funding schemes can occasionally fund rubbish ideas like this. But... surely there have to be some criteria that have to be passed before money is handed out?

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Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'

Jim84

Re: Still got no proper depth of field

Seereal technology have some tech for producing a pseudo holographic display. But you would need some way of turning an LCD or OLED display into a lightfield display. They proposed having tiny half oil filled cells in front of the pixels.

Whether anyone could make that work at a reasonable price in the near future is unknown.

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Where the HELL is my ROBOT BUTLER?

Jim84

I think you can view this future already

Upper middle class and Rich families in California all seem to have Mexican nannies/housekeepers.

Robots will perahps eventually do this job, and will be cheap enough that even the 'poor' have them. This will be a big change for society. Probably as big as everyone being able to afford cars in the 20th century.

Chuck in cheap Liquid Fluoride Molten Salt reactors for much cheaper energy (if the Chinese can get them working) and extended healthspans and lifespans (if Aubrey de Grey can get his SENS program working) and you have a very different future.

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Facebook swallows Oculus VR goggle-geeks. Did that really happen?

Jim84

Carmack now works for Zuckerberg

If you had said that two years ago you would have been laughed at.

Also, Facebook have overpaid for Oculus, it would not have taken them $2 billion to develop something superior to what Oculus have now. And Oculus don't have any patents or even a monopoly on the tech. Sony are doing it. Valve are doing it. Microsoft can't be far behind. This is shareholder value destruction.

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Microsoft Australia slashes price of Surface Pro 128GB by $AUD400

Jim84

The Surface 2 is still a stupid compromise

The Surface 2 has horrible thick edges, so that the keyboard cover can be attached to turn it into a laptop.

The surface should have been designed as a tablet first, with thin edges like the iPad and google/Samsung Nexus 10, instead we have something blocky and ugly. Microsoft should have done what google did and cloned the shape of the iPad (as much as their lawyers thought they could get away with) then tried to add extra features to win users away from Apple's camp. For google the value add was a 300 pixel per inch screen beating that on the iPad 4 and iPad mini.

Having a keyboard is a value add for the customer. But the extra thick square edges and weight more than detract for it.

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Nokia gobble: Microsoft can't get free of red-tape bondage 'til April

Jim84

Why not just Borg the android runtimes?

Blackberry OS 10 has done this (I assume successfully). It is the thing that is making me think of getting a blackberry with a proper keyboard and optical trackpad for my next phone.

Is there any reason windows phone can't do this to run Android apps?

I think one of the reasons that iPhones are easy to use than android phones is that Apple control both the hardware and OS. So I'm surprised Sony, Samsung, LG etc aren't moving in a similar direction. Or does having someone else's runtimes mess this up a bit?

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Virtual reality? Two can play THAT GAME, says Sony: New headset revealed for the PS4

Jim84

Today's gaming rigs aren't powerful enough

Sony is probably dreaming if they think they can get a 2 x 1080p at 60fps on the PS4. And Valve are talking about 120fps being necessary for a good experience. And Oculus are talking about going to 1440p or higher resolutions.

I think that the first Oculus Rifts will run well on 2015's or later beast gaming rigs.

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BlackBerry brings back call, end keys, touchpad to Q20 keyboard cutie

Jim84

Pardon my ignorance

But why can't Blackberry make it so that you don't have to sideload an app like snap first before installing Android apps??

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Jim84

They haven't dealt with the other problem that El Reg identified

Everyone is now used to context sensitive on screen keyboards, and a physical keyboard can't do this... unless they somehow used white LEDS for the regular symbols and UV LEDs and had 'blacklight' secondary symbols on the keys that are normally black and invisible (I don't know how this would work).

Also the screen is still tiny compared to Android/iPhone due to the physical keyboard taking up so much space. Whatever happened to the idea of a decent slider?

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SpaceX set to try HOVER LANDING for re-usable rockets on March ISS mission

Jim84

Skylon or Beamed Proplusion

I still suspect Skylon or that beamed propulsion research NASA are working on will be better in the long term as you would have only one stage, not a vehicle that breaks into 3 or more parts which all return separately.

But in the short to medium term this could be fantastic.

The only problem with this working is - will we get stuck with this 'old' Spacex technology for another 60 years rather than going on to make Skylon or laser beamed propulsion work?

Admittedly the NASA beamed technology spaceplane glides back to earth like the space shuttle, and both Skylon and the beamed propulsion vehicle are useless for landing on Mars, which is what Elon ultimately wants to do. They might be better technologies for earth however.

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Wii got it WRONG: How do you solve a problem like Nintendo?

Jim84

Losing the magic

Totally agree with the author that the Wii was an aberration. I think it succeeded because the TV ads promised one to one control of an onscreen avatar with the wii-mote. Once anyone used the thing for more than 5 minutes they realized this wasn't the case. But this bait and switch combined with a knock down price was decisive. Microsoft repeated the trick with Kinect, but most consumers are warier now.

The other reason was that Nintendo had built up a lot of goodwill with great games on the N64 and Gamecube (even if the gamecube came 3rd equal with the Xbox). But contrast Mario Cart 64 with Mario Cart Wii. Nintendo horribly compromised the controls just to shoehorn the wii-mote into it.

Also, you can't keep churning out the same games forever, no matter how fun they are. People got sick of guitar hero. They'll eventually get sick of COD multiplayer. The next big thing will be something slightly evolved and different. The more processing power you give developers, the more chance they have of improving things.

I think Nintendo's days as a hardware manufacturer are now numbered and it will go the way of Sega sooner or later.

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First man/machine nerve grafts restore amputee's sense of touch

Jim84

Chainsaw arm

The next experiment definitely needs to be attaching a mind controlled touch enabled chainsaw. Just like Ash in Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness.

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BlackBerry makes its devilish Android trickery official in OS update

Jim84

Regular Home Sceen

Does BB10 have one of these now?

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Smog-hit Beijing shows sunsets on a giant TV to remind people what the sun looks like

Jim84

They are going to need to do something drastic soon perhaps. They should spend a bit more of that 250 billion on accelerating research of small modular nuclear reactors, or thorium molten salt reactors which can then be put into coal power stations to replace the burning of coal.

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It's true, the START MENU is coming BACK to Windows 8, hiss sources

Jim84

How about one version of windows

With an option to turn a windows 7 style start menu or modern interface on and off, and another clear option to turn automatic updates on and off.

And make it work across ARM and Intel chips.

I'm no expert, but I don't see why this is so hard to do? The only logical reason I can come up with is that Microsoft wants a large library of touch based apps for its windows 8 ecosytem, but is afraid that if they allow a windows 7 style interface on desktops and laptops no one will bother to create these. A better strategy might be to get loads more windows 8 phones and tablets out there in peoples hands by creating (or getting Samsung or some other OEM) to create a heavily subsidized 'hero' phone and tablet that they make little margin on, much like google did with the Nexus 10 tablet.

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Valve pal iBuyPower touts cut-price Steam box as powerful as PS4 or Xbox

Jim84

What PC games apart from FPS will actually work well on steambox?

I know that Valve are aware of the problem that a lot of PC games are click fests as they have designed a fancy new controller to enable this in front of the TV but... I just don't see their touch pad controller working anywhere near as well as a mouse.

Also, if I am going to be clicking on small objects on the screen, I prefer to be sat in an upright position with my face about 1.5 feet from the screen, not leaning back on the couch a few meters away.

I think I will always play PC style games at a desk, and console FPS, third person shooters, and driving games on the couch in front of the TV.

I'm happy to be proved wrong by Valve, but this device looks like falling between two stools.

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Beyond: Two Souls - the game that thinks it's a Hollywood blockbuster

Jim84

Systems aren't there yet

I think Cage wants to create an interactive drama. But computers and AI can't yet understand a conversation (either spoken or written) anywhere near well enough to enable this kind of game. So instead we wind up with this 'choose your own adventure' style game, but without as many choices.

In a book the author can just describe a new outcome. In a game someone has to create the art assets, record the dialogue, create sound effects etc. Which is why the player just ends up getting funneled down one path. Perhaps in the medium term with a more simulated environment Cage will be able to create better stories. At the moment the best simulated environments/story generators are GTA V and Xcom. And they can only simulate action, not dramatic dialogue.

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Valve aiming to take the joy(sticks) out of gaming with Steam Controller

Jim84

Wrong solution to the right problem

So Valve are trying to replace a mouse and keyboard with trackpads so that you can play RTSs and Diablo and other PC games in the living room?

And they've taken inspiration from Smartphones, just like the Wii U did.

But... a mouse and keyboard aren't just superior for 'clicking' games because they are more precise than trackpads. The position of the users body sitting at a desk with the screen 30cm away and his elbows and forearms rested on the table is a big part of the useability. This is the reason why people don't just use a wireless keyboard and mouse in their living room.

The problem is that we currrently have one computer (a laptop/desktop) on a desk in our study/bedroom/kitchen table for work and PC style clicking games, and another (a console) sat under our TV for games not involving precise clicking that benefit from the larger screen.

I thought Valve got this, and were going to come up with some solution to use the steam box to power both screens from the one processor. Maybe some special lag free wifi (if such a thing is possible?) or some extended HDMI cable that is easy (without a professional install) to plumb through from your bedroom/study wall to the living room wall behind your TV(again if this is actually possible?).

That way when you want to play Diablo/Rome Total War/World of Warcaft you just use the screen, mouse, and keyboard sat on the desk in your bedroom hooked up lag free to the steam box under your TV, and when you want to play a console style game on your bigger TV screen you do that on the couch in your living room with a Xbox One controller.

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Full Steam Ahead: Valve unwraps plans for gaming hardware

Jim84

This is really stupid

So Valve have decided to bring out a Linux microconsole. Except that there won't even be a standard hardware spec.

Shugyosha is completely correct in that one of the big selling points of consoles is that they just work with no messing about. Trying to judge weather your hardware can run a new game in a decent state because everyone has different hardware is just a headache.

What value does a linux console offer over the PS4 or Xbox One that the PC doesn't already offer?

I can sympathize with Valve's dilemma in that every operating system is now shipping with it's own app store that cuts Steam out of the picture.

But to beat the incumbents they are going to have to do something radical. Apple did it to the smartphone market with the fully touchscreen iPhone and Nintendo did it to Sony's Playstation with the Wii motion controller. A simple 'me too' console product will wither and die.

The only radical things I can think of (which are probably rubbish ideas when you dig into them) are to cool the console with mineral oil rather than air allowing massive overclocking of the current chips, or to somehow keep the simplicity of the console but make it upgradeable once or twice in it's lifecycle like Nintendo tried to do with the memory clip in module for the N64. Perhaps with a plug in memory module and second processor to be released in 2 years time.

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Surface Mini on shelves NEXT YEAR – and it will run Windows RT

Jim84

The maddness continues

I don't know why Microsoft won't follow the Reg's suggestion and just have two operating systems - Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8?

Both Google and Apple have a mobile operating system that works on both phones and tablets. I don't see why Microsoft can't manage this too?

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Microsoft to unveil new Surface slabs at September 23 event

Jim84

Why don't they follow the Reg's plan?

And have two operating systems - windows phone 8.1 for ARM devices and windows pro 8.1 for x86 devices?

Also that kickstand sucks and means that the tablet is a horrible blocky shape. Why can't they have a bit of plastic (or metal) that can be pulled out of the back of the keyboard so that it doesn't fall over when the screen is attached? That way they could have a slimmer curved tablet. It's like they are channeling Nokia when they insisted on designing horrible blocky Lumias.

Also I suspect the tablets will only be 1080p when their rivals have already moved beyond that.

Once again Surface will be a day late and a dollar short compared to other offerings.

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Elon Musk unveils Hyperloop – the subsonic tube of tomorrow

Jim84

Fatal flaw, hyperloop is DOA

This thing is a city to city system with no stops along the way in the San Joaquin Valley, meaning that they will see no economic benefit, meaning that this Hyperloop is Dead On Arrival. Musk is a perhaps a bit disingenuous when he states that Hyperloop will be a "statewide mass transit system".

One of the reasons that the proposed high speed train is so slow and costly is all the stops and stations in the valley. An ideal futuristic system would allow fast LA to San Diego transport, but would allow people to get on and off along the way, perferably with the 'train' not having to stop at each station. Something like that proposed docking trains by Priestmangoode:

http://www.priestmangoode.com/transport/

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Wii U sales plunge: Nintendo hopes Mario and Zelda will shift some kit

Jim84

Underpowered, and with a gimick that's not fooling anyone

The Wii was underpowered, but cheap and with a gimick (control an onscreen avatar 1 to 1) that looked amazing on TV spots.

The Wii U is underpowered, and it's gimick doesn't look interesting on TV spots (what is interesting to joe public about 2 screens?). And it is not as cheap as a Wii was due to the cost of that second screen.

Releasing a console only as powerful as a PS3 or 360 was a huge mistake too.

Ninty can't go ahead and release a new more powerful console (or could they?). I think Ninty have painted themselves into a corner this generation, and need to just hang on until the next hardware refresh.

Microsoft is making the same error with Kinect 2, most of the public expect it not to work (and if it is not allowing 1 to 1 tracking with no perceptible lag, then it isn't working). Luckily Sony have learnt the lessons of 'gen 3' and look set to clean up in 'gen 4'.

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Typical! Google's wonder-dongle is a solution looking for a problem

Jim84

Why own two devices?

I think Chromecast has a more basic problem as well for a lot of people. As a console owning gamer I will always have a console in my living room. This throws up videos onto my TV nicely, in addition to playing games. So I have no interest in Chromecast, even if it is free.

It's like digital cameras and mobile phones. Every mobile now has a camera in it, so I won't bother to own and carry a separate digital camera.

Chromecast does do one new thing, it lets you stream video from your mobile to the TV more easily than current solutions, but I don't store that much video on my phone. It sits on my laptops hardrive.

The Reg is spot on in predicting that this will be another flop. I don't know why Google, Microsoft etc don't hire you guys as consultants to give the thumbs up or down on their proposed new devices/services?

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Bill Gates' nuclear firm plans hot, salty push into power

Jim84

Why isn't this being done in the UK?

It seems George Osbourne wants to spend money on expensive offshore windmills instead. Even with the R&D costs these molten salt or travelling wave reactors would probably work out to be way cheaper. And a working prototype was already built and tested in the middle of last century. Energy policy in the UK boggles the mind.

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BlackBerry's retro-look QWERTY Q5 mobe: Resentment by design

Jim84

Why can't Blackberry produce a landscape qwerty slider like the old sidekicks?

I know that the portrait sliding torch didn't sell very well, but firstly it was a portrait slider, and secondly its keyboard was rubbish compared to the bold.

The loss of the trackpad on such a phone where you are supposed to actually want to input text is a huge loss. As you rightly point out it makes editing text super frustrating.

The other thing that never seems to get mentioned, but was super important, was that with BIS sending an instant message on BBM was like sending an instant message on a computer. You knew that the other person you were chatting with was getting your message instantly. With text messages or OTT messaging apps there is a delay most of the time. This impedes communication. Proper instant messaging was one of the reasons that BBM was better than any other mobile social network. Now that is gone. Foolish.

I thought Blackberry's CEO understood this when he said Blackberry devices were about being more than consumption devices. But failure to address the above three points shows that he doesn't.

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BBC abandons 3D TV, cites 'disappointing' results

Jim84

Re: Pseudo Holographic TV - No glasses needed

On a 120hz screen 60 frames are used to project the image to the right eye and the other 60 frames are used to project the image to the left eye.

For two views you need a 240hz screen to give each of the 4 eyes a 60hz image. 4 people requires a 480hz screen etc.

You've got to have some device that converts a regular LCD screen into a 'lightfield' screen for any form of holographic TV. The Seereal demo unit that BBC Click and Edge Magazine looked at was just a high res Visio medical monitor with a lenticular screen slapped on it. WIth a lenticular screen there is only a narrow 'viewing cone' or cones. So you could not really move your head from right to left to look around any displayed objects from different perspectives.

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Jim84

Re: Pseudo Holographic TV - No glasses needed

Looks like Holografica are trying to display true holograms (that is pump out the correct image in all directions at once) on there website they are bringing out a 91 megapixel screen (even 8k UHD screens will only be 31 megapixels).

I don't know how they are dealing with the computational requirements for generating such an image in real time.

I can't see any prices quoted on their site for the systems.

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Jim84

Pseudo Holographic TV - No glasses needed

Seereal technologies has developed a pseudo holographic television system. It cuts down the incredibly high pixel density needed for a true holographic display via an eye tracking camera and only projecting an image onto your left and right eye. Although the resolution still needs to be about 10 times that of a standard 1080p display.

In order to control the direction of the light rays coming through the LCD cells, they've proposed putting a half oil filled half water filled cell in front of each pixel. Although no one has built a working prototype of this system. So that is the first stumbling block to this becoming a reality.

Microsoft is taking a different approach to controlling the direction of the light rays coming through the LCD cells by using an LED light source and bouncing those rays through a specially shaped wedge that would replace that standard backlight on an LCD screen. http://www.technologyreview.com/news/419342/3-d-without-the-glasses/page/2/?a=f

As someone noted in the comments above, you also need a large screen to avoid ruining any 3D effect, so until 80 inch screens become affordable, that is another stumbling block.

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NBN study: the analyst view

Jim84

Just fix the goddamn internet

I can tell your analysts one thing - the internet in Australia currently sucks.

Using mobile networks to provide high speed, reliable, internet to households is currently pie in the sky. It may be possible one day, but certainly not right now.

Hopefully fibre to the premises will provide low lag internet. Lag is the real enemy.

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Oz telco competition still lagging

Jim84

Time to break up Telstra?

The Australian government should do what New Zealand has and negotiate a split between the wholesale and retail business of the dominant, ex state monopoly telecom provider.

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The future of cinema and TV: It’s game over for the hi-res hype

Jim84

Why not have both higher resolutions and higher frame rates? If we are going to build improved data networks that can handle one or the other, why not bite the bullet and make it good enough to support both?

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The Register's NBN study: a good start, let's ramp it up

Jim84

The network is the computer?

I think I recent trend is towards smaller, less powerful, cheaper devices with all the processing taking place at a data center.

Of course how far you can go with this is limited by latency. Currently having my email application (Gmail) managed in some data center is fine, as this doesn't require fast responses, but good luck on trying to do the same with a FPS game.

What I never see in discussions about the NBN is what the goals are on lag?

Fatter pipes may be less important than less laggy pipes.

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Can Microsoft's U-turn stop the Xbox 360 becoming another XP?

Jim84

Xbox One still needs a price drop of $50 from $499 to $449, a memory speed bump from DDR3 to GDDR5, and the option for indies to self publish games and updates without fees or QA. Then it will be competitive with the PS4.

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Speaking in Tech: We find someone who hasn't heard of Prof Brian Cox

Jim84

It would be really really useful if this podcast where divided into skippable sections as a lot of music podcasts are so you can skip through the songs they play.

Not to be rude, but I am not always interested in everything you guys have to say, but then have to spend time searching for the bit I am interested in (easier said than done).

Keep up the good work.

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VTOL hybrid flying car promises the skies

Jim84

Maintenance costs slain by electric motors?

The reason we don't all have a personal helicopter in our back yard are:

1 ~ They are difficult to fly. But this may be taken care of by advanced autopilots.

2 ~ VTOL needs a much more powerful engine than taking off an landing from a runway. Hence almost all helicopters use turbines, which are very costly due to the maintenance required. Also the mechanical transmissions used to transfer all that power from the turbine(s) to the rotors are very maintenance heavy. Terrafugia is proposing that they can get around these problems using electric motors... but if it was that easy then surely the military would already have gone down this route?

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Holly(oaks) talking head is FUTURE of face messaging, claims prof

Jim84

Forget about the graphics

I got a completely different impression of what this research was about when viewing the BBC video clip versus reading this Reg article.

Everyone seems to have latched on to using this technology to make a text message spoken, which is pretty pointless.

The first commentator was bang on the money. The interesting thing about this piece of research is that it is taking written text, and then using a form of markup, it producing a face that reads that text with realistic facial expressions and voice tonality. Sure, plenty of characters in video games do this already (while having more realistically rendered faces), but with those characters the facial movements and voice where recorded from an actor in a motion capture studio. In this case the facial movements and voice tonality are being procedurally generated. Do this realistically enough and you won't have to get an actor to pre-record everything you want a character to potentially say.

So this research is basically looking to improve the 'speech output' side of computer interactions/games. Good luck on solving the speech input side though. We'll probably be using dialogue wheels for input for a while yet.

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Windows RT still haunted by the ghost of Microsoft's 2001 tablet fiasco

Jim84

Weight and thinness

You can hold a tablet in one hand to read it because it is thin enough and light enough.

The current windows 8 laptops with rotating or sliding screens are too heavy and thick to do this. Only when they are thin enough and light enough to hold and read with a single hand will there be much point to touchscreen folding laptops.

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Hardware hacker rigs up VR for Skyrim

Jim84

Reverse Augmented Reality?

Here is Theregister's original article about the Sony VR Goggles at http://www.reghardware.com/2011/10/21/sony_3d_goggles_get_priced_up_for_uk/ (sorry I can't put in a link till I have 100 posts).

In this article the author stated that a big problem with the goggles was that he could no longer see the gamepad, which he needed to look down at occasionally to find some of the buttons.

Sony might be able to get around this problem using augmented reality. But rather than overlaying a virtual object over real world video, they would overlay a video image of the gamepad into the virtual world seen by the goggle wearer. They would have to do the same for the wearers hands. Or if they could create a virtual image of the gamepad in the virtual world that the wearer could look down to see. Of course this would probably require pretty accurate and lag free tracking of both the gamepad and users hands... which doesn't seem possible at present.

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Jim84

This is progress, but its still not quite a fun game...

Back in the early 90s a VR LCD (I think) headset controled by a hand controller cost in excess of $100,000. And the 3D graphics were rubbish and weren't even steroscopic.

This guy has knocked up his own system for around a couple of grand. Which is huge progress.

There are still two major hurdles that need to be overcome:

1. The walking is bloody ridiculous. This problem was solved by the gaming rig built on the BBC's gadget show, but that multidirectional Swedish treadmill cost tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds. So until someone makes one of those for around 800 pounds you can forget about VR home gaming.

2. Neither Wii MotionPlus, Sony Move, or MS Kinect can achieve proper lag free 1 to 1 tracking on the players hand in order to properly control the sword. Until this happens all the player is doing is effectively pressing an attack button by waving their arm. It is anyones guess how long it is before we see someone achieve proper lag free one to one tracking. But given that there is now a lot of competition and innovation in this space, I'd bet on years rather than decades.

If you get those two things sorted, and improve the body tracking and speech recognition a bit then you could have a pretty fun VR game (although improving the body tracking and speech recognition may prove much more difficult than either 1 ro 2).

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