Virtual Reality

Canadian team demonstrates touch-sensitive VR crystal ball

Canadian team demonstrates tou...
A team from the University of British Columbia and University of Saskatchewan has pioneered a multi-user crystal ball VR touch display
A team from the University of British Columbia and University of Saskatchewan has pioneered a multi-user crystal ball VR touch display
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A team from the University of British Columbia and University of Saskatchewan has pioneered a multi-user crystal ball VR touch display
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A team from the University of British Columbia and University of Saskatchewan has pioneered a multi-user crystal ball VR touch display
3D multiplayer gaming will be possible
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3D multiplayer gaming will be possible
A member of the research team carefully positions one of four projectors that combine to create the spherical image
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A member of the research team carefully positions one of four projectors that combine to create the spherical image
The system appears to use motion-trackable frequency separation glasses, enabling it to create a different image from up to two points of view
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The system appears to use motion-trackable frequency separation glasses, enabling it to create a different image from up to two points of view

A team of researchers from the Universities of British Columbia and Saskatchewan has built a nifty-looking crystal ball display that can produce 3D images for up to two simultaneous users, clearing the path for head-in-a-ball style teleconferencing and new kinds of 3D multiplayer gaming.

The 24-inch crystal ball uses four precisely calibrated, high speed projectors to build out a spherical image. Up to two participants can view the ball at a time, using what appear to be lightweight motion trackable frequency separation glasses. We've seen these kinds of things before powering Euclideon's remarkable hologram table displays.

The system appears to use motion-trackable frequency separation glasses, enabling it to create a different image from up to two points of view
The system appears to use motion-trackable frequency separation glasses, enabling it to create a different image from up to two points of view

The system will effectively produce a separate image for each viewer, based on their motion-tracked position relative to the crystal ball. All these images will be projected together onto the ball's surface, and the glasses will filter out everything except the user's own view. The team plans to build the design out to handle up to four viewers in the future.

When it comes to head-in-a-ball telepresence, it appears the caller will only need to use a single camera. That leads us to believe that the head on the ball will always be pointing directly at you, wherever you go in the room, so you won't be able to walk around behind the ball and see the back of your colleague's head.

3D multiplayer gaming will be possible
3D multiplayer gaming will be possible

For 3D animations, CAD diagrams and video gaming, though, there's no reason why the system couldn't build a totally different image for each user, representing different viewpoints on the same miniature world inside the crystal ball - again, something the Euclideon system does very effectively.

One thing the crystal ball can do that Euclideon can't at this point is to offer touch sensitivity across the entire surface of the screen, allowing tactile interaction which could definitely come in handy. That said, keep in mind that the crystal ball is just a research project at this stage.

Source: University of British Columbia

2 comments
ChairmanLMAO
i always thought some kind of ball display would be a boon to VR. if you view TV through a hollow glass sphere for instance. but solid crystal would be very difficult to work with. a sperical monitor might not work either. transparent touch sensitive surface around a 3d display would be veiweable by everyone in the room.
Robert in Vancouver
This could re-invent TV's and movie theatres.