NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab team is testing a combination of the Xbox One Kinect sensor and the Oculus Rift headset to control robots:
Using the new Xbox One Kinect sensor, we are able to manipulate the JACO robot arm in real time. By combining position tracking from the Kinect and rotational tracking with the Oculus, we provide a first-person view for the operator. Future work will include integrating sensor array data into the scene and translating our research to the Robonaut 2 humanoid on the International Space Station.
From the research side of things, this is a great proof-of-concept to show another application of consumer technology in a research environment. This sort of thing could be applied anywhere humans shouldn’t be going but autonomous or controller-operated robots aren’t quite nimble enough to work. It could also decrease the need extra-vehicular activities during space missions or even future landings on the Moon and Mars.
Co-founder of Doom developer severs ties in order to focus full-time on Oculus VR CTO position.
When John Carmack signed on to be the full-time chief technology officer at upstart Oculus VR, id Software parent Bethesda Softworks was quick to say the developer’s work at the Doom development studio would be unaffected. That might have been the plan, but in practice it hasn’t turned out that way. In a statement to GamesIndustry International, id studio director Tim Willits confirmed that Carmack has left the company entirely.
“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.”
Carmack offered his own comment through Twitter, saying, “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.”
Carmack was an original co-founder at id Software, working there since its inception in 1991. He is the last of the original core of founders–which also included Tom Hall, John Romero, and Adrian Carmack–to leave the company. Earlier this year, the company also lost studio president Todd Hollenshead, who had been part of the company since 1996 and served as its CEO until its 2009 acquisition by Bethesda.
Oculus wasn’t Carmack’s only non-id responsibility. The developer also founded the Texas-based rocketry firm Armadillo Aerospace, but inquiries as to his current status with the company have not been returned as of press time.
At the Gaming Insiders Summit in San Francisco yesterday, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe said that adding 4K resolution displays to the Oculus Rift is on the company’s radar. According to a report by Polygon, Iribe offered no other information.
Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey told PCGamer earlier this year that the company expected to double the resolution of the Rift displays within a year.
“I do think resolution needs to be better for the best VR, but even at low resolution you can get a good experience,” said Luckey. “I’m not going to say that this is the best experience, or that resolution isn’t important; it’s a really critical factor and this is good as it gets today. We’re going to be building one at double this resolution within a year and even more after that, so there’s a lot of other things to work on besides resolution. We can’t just sit around and wait for 4K displays to hop around.”
At the Summit, Iribe also mentioned that the company has worked on new prototypes that eliminate the motion sickness that plagues some users.
“I’ve gotten sick every time I’ve tried it. Every time until recently,” he said, according to Polygon. “In the last few weeks, I stayed in it for 45 minute sessions and I did not get sick with the new prototype. We are at the edge of bringing you no motion sickness content. We are figuring out things like simulator sickness.”
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