An interesting new project in the form of a VR game with Oculus Rift support intended to help people with depth perception issues such as amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (crossed eye). The game Diplopia takes advantage of the wealth of new information in scientific studies that have come out in the past couple of years to create an experience that will effectively train people who have a suppressed eye to use that eye in conjunction with their good one. Evidence shows that with a simple well designed game it only takes 1-2 hours a day for 2-3 weeks for a person to get measurable improvements in their vision.
The game is inspired by Breakout and DX Ball, where you bounce a ball around a room with a paddle to destroy blocks, unlocking power ups. By manipulating the contrast of game elements such as the bricks, ball, and paddle you can force the brain to integrate the two images. By showing only some of the game elements to each eye Diplopia forces the player to incorporate information coming from both in order to win. It is interesting to note that the developer of the game James Blaha, a programmer with crossed eyes causing a loss of depth perception, so the development of the project was started also in order to help treat his eye condition and potentially restore the normally in 3D using stereo vision as well as to help other people with similar eye problems. Diplopia is currently ongoing a crowdfunding campaign at indiegogo and has already moved past the initial goal of $2,000 USD.
This is something that was expected to happen sooner ot later after it was announced that John Carmack is taking the CTO position at Oculus VR. Originally Carmack was supposed to continue working at id Software on his ongoing projects, but apparently things are not going as he would wanted them to, so instead he decided to focus his attention on the Oculus Rift development and leave id Software.
John Carmack shared this on Tweeter:
“I wanted to remain a technical adviser for Id, but it just didn’t work out. Probably for the best, as the divided focus was challenging.”
“John Carmack, who has become interested in focusing on things other than game development at id, has resigned from the studio,” Willits said. “John’s work on id Tech 5 and the technology for the current development work at id is complete, and his departure will not affect any current projects. We are fortunate to have a brilliant group of programmers at id who worked with John and will carry on id’s tradition of making great games with cutting-edge technology. As colleagues of John for many years, we wish him well.”
John Carmack is passionate about VR and the Oculus Rift and he is practically the person that “sold” the idea to the people even before actually being an official part of the Oculus VR team, so he is definetly the right man for the job to make the product even better. So the fact that he is going to focus more on his work at Oculus VR is something that should make everyone interested in the Rift more than happy. Not to mention that this is a clear sign that Carmack sees the good future that lies in front of VR and Oculus Rift, so now we just have to wait for 2014 and the consumer version of Oculus Rift to come out on the market after being impressed with the development kits already.
A Canadian company called EMR Laboratories that has developed a stereoscopic 3D camera for use for FPV flying with remote controlled planes and helicopters a few years ago, the product is called 3D Cam FPV, has recently finished the crowdfunding effort for their new product called Transporter3D. This device consists of an improved version of their original 3D Cam FPV for the capture of both 2D and 3D video with interaxial distance of the two camera lenses the same as the normal human inter-ocular distance to generate a realistic 3D experience. This camera is placed on a remote controlled plane, helicopter or a quadcopter, though other RC vehicles are Ok as well and the video feed can be transmitted via a wireless link to the Transporter3D processing board that can process and output the video in a format that can be viewed directly on the Oculus Rift. This way the Transporter3D should be able to provide one of the most realistic FPV experiences for use with remote controlled models as commapred to other FPV solutions already available.
The backers of the Transporter3D’s indiegogo campaign should start receiving their units in December and probably early next year we are going to see the product also available for purchase. The price for backers of the project for a Transporter3D was $599 CAD and for the 3D-Cam module $299 CAD, but this does not include a Rift and a wireless video transmission solution, so for the complete solution you are looking for something that will cost you about $1500 USD.