Nav: Home

Spherical display brings virtual collaboration closer to reality

February 19, 2019

Virtual reality can often make a user feel isolated from the world, with only computer-generated characters for company. But researchers at the University of British Columbia and University of Saskatchewan think they may have found a way to encourage a more sociable virtual reality.

The researchers have developed a ball-shaped VR display that supports up to two users at a time, using advanced calibration and graphics rendering techniques that produce a complete, distortion-free 3D image even when viewed from multiple angles.

Most spherical VR displays in the market are capable of showing a correct image only from a single viewpoint, said lead researcher Sidney Fels, an electrical and computer engineering professor at UBC.

"When you look at our globe, the 3D illusion is rich and correct from any angle," explained Fels. "This allows two users to use the display to do some sort of collaborative task or enjoy a multiplayer game, while being in the same space. It's one of the very first spherical VR systems with this capability."

The system, which the researchers are calling Crystal, includes a 24-inch (600 millimetre) hollow ball-shaped display. The display surface was custom-made to specifications in Ottawa, while four high-speed projectors and one camera used for creating the images, calibration and touch sensing were purchased off-the-shelf.

The researchers are working on a four-person system and see many potential uses for their display in the future, including multiplayer virtual reality games, virtual surgery and VR-aided learning. However, they are focusing on teleconferencing applications and computer-aided design for now.

"Imagine a remote user joining a meeting of local users. At either location you can have a Crystal globe, which is great for seeing people's heads and faces in 3D," said Ian Stavness, a computer science professor at the University of Saskatchewan and a member of the research team. "Or you can have a team of industrial designers in a room, perfecting a design with the help of VR and motion tracking technology."

While the technology is young, the researchers are forecasting a good future for it.

"We're not saying that spherical VR will replace flat screens or headsets," said Fels, adding "but we think it can be a good option for VR activities where you still want to see and talk to other people--be it at home or in the office, for work or play."
-end-
The research, described here, was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and B-Con Engineering.

View Flickr album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmyucfBR

University of British Columbia

Related Virtual Reality Articles:

Virtual and augmented reality: warnings about the ethical dangers
Research on virtual reality started in the eighties, but it is now that good quality is available to the public and it can become a mass consumer product soon.
Easing the burden of coronavirus with virtual reality
A new article discusses the psychological stresses imposed by the coronavirus pandemic and suggests that virtual reality can help alleviate the psychological impact of the need for social isolation.
Virtual reality makes empathy easier
Virtual reality activates brain networks that increase your ability to identify with other people, according to new research published in eNeuro.
Physiotherapy could be done at home using virtual reality
Virtual reality could help physiotherapy patients complete their exercises at home successfully thanks to researchers at WMG, University of Warwick, who managed to combine VR technology with 3D motion capture.
Using virtual reality to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder
Novel interventions using virtual reality to aid individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) handle common scenarios may include helping youngsters navigate air travel.
Virtual reality illuminates the power of opioid-associated memories
The brain acts differently when remembering environments associated with drug use.
Virtual reality could help flu vaccination rates
Using a virtual reality simulation to show how flu spreads and its impact on others could be a way to encourage more people to get a flu vaccination, according to a study by researchers at the University of Georgia and the Oak Ridge Associated Universities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Virtual reality becomes more real
Scientists from Skoltech ADASE (Advanced Data Analytics in Science and Engineering) lab have found a way to enhance depth map resolution, which should make virtual reality and computer graphics more realistic.
Is virtual reality the next big thing in art therapy?
Researchers from Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions in the Creative Arts Therapies Department conducted a study to see if virtual reality can be used as an expressive tool in art therapy.
Intuitive in the virtual reality
Through the crafty use of magnetic fields, scientists from HZDR and Johannes Kepler University in Linz have developed the first electronic sensor that can simultaneously process both touchless and tactile stimuli.
More Virtual Reality News and Virtual Reality Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Biology Of Sex
Original broadcast date: May 8, 2020. Many of us were taught biological sex is a question of female or male, XX or XY ... but it's far more complicated. This hour, TED speakers explore what determines our sex. Guests on the show include artist Emily Quinn, journalist Molly Webster, neuroscientist Lisa Mosconi, and structural biologist Karissa Sanbonmatsu.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#569 Facing Fear
What do you fear? I mean really fear? Well, ok, maybe right now that's tough. We're living in a new age and definition of fear. But what do we do about it? Eva Holland has faced her fears, including trauma and phobia. She lived to tell the tale and write a book: "Nerve: Adventures in the Science of Fear".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Wubi Effect
When we think of China today, we think of a technological superpower. From Huweai and 5G to TikTok and viral social media, China is stride for stride with the United States in the world of computing. However, China's technological renaissance almost didn't happen. And for one very basic reason: The Chinese language, with its 70,000 plus characters, couldn't fit on a keyboard.  Today, we tell the story of Professor Wang Yongmin, a hard headed computer programmer who solved this puzzle and laid the foundation for the China we know today. This episode was reported and produced by Simon Adler with reporting assistance from Yang Yang. Special thanks to Martin Howard. You can view his renowned collection of typewriters at: antiquetypewriters.com Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.