Back in 1965, Ivan Sutherland proposed his vision of the Ultimate Display. Such display would create virtual objects that were totally indistinguishable from their real counterparts (“the handcuffs displayed […] would be confining, and a bullet […] would be fatal”). This vision was the seed for research in the fields of 3D displays, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).
The availability of high quality consumer grade headsets (i.e. Oculus, HTC Vive, Hololens) have resparked this whole field. Market analysts foresee a bright future for these technologies, and major tech companies are competing for a dominating position.
However, while the opportunities are clearly inspiring, these headsets add constraints that could finally mist its acceptance by the general public. For instance, covering user’s faces can encumber other daily tasks (e.g. quickly go back to my desk to check my email, or check my notes); eye-contact and social interaction with other people around can also be affected (e.g. co-workers). Additional gadgets to improve the VR experience, such as data gloves, can add even more constraints.
In a way, technology still places VR/AR behind a technological boundary,: the benefits/potential enabled by AR/VR come at the expense of the benefits/potential of interacting in the real world, and switching to and from one another is not seamless.
In this talk I will summarize my efforts during the last years to come up with formats for non-intrusive VR/AR interaction. My goal is to allow interaction and collaboration in 3D to be as seamless as using your phone, your notepad, or any other tools around you, as a way to let 3D simply blend into our real life. My talk will cover several systems tailored for scenarios where traditional VR/AR formats fail to apply (e.g. face to face interaction, mobile contexts) and describe also the potential of non-solid diffuser displays to enable this vision.
I am Diego Martinez Plasencia, lecturer ar Sussex University (UK) and active researcher on 3D User Interfaces. I started my research working on multi-user Virtual Reality worlds. Although I really love their potential to go beyond the real world, creating user-tailored experiences and really rich collaborative spaces, I believe that the traditional VR arrangements (e.g. Head-mounted devices, speziallized spaces such as Caves) really stand in the way of usable experiences. Reduced spaces, data gloves, helmets, sensors (and the dozen wires that go with them) are not something that is gong to become mainstream in our day to day life. In the last years, I have been creating systems that allow us to get the benefits of collaborative VR worlds, but in formats that can integrate in our day to day life. I think that by doing the hardware/systems more clever we can avoid adding cumbersome devices on the user, and this will increase the adoption of these types of interfaces, seamlessly blending 3D into our daily lifes.