VR as impressive it may be will remain a limited market niche, as long as it is limited to a single human-machine relation. Collaborative and interactive relations between humans sharing the same VR environment is a a requirement that has so far only been solved unsatisfactorily. A solution might be a ball-shaped VR display called Crystal that’s designed to be watched by two people simultaneously, and uses relatively inexpensive off-the-shelf components.
Crystal is a mixed reality globe with a physical 24-inch hollow ball-shaped display that presents 3D virtual content, but overlaid on to the real world. It uses four carefully calibrated high-speed Optoma GT750ST mini short-throw projectors to create the images, which fill a plexiglass sphere coated with translucent projection paint. It uses advanced calibration and graphics rendering techniques to produce a complete, distortion-free 3D image even when viewed from multiple angles. That makes it viewable by more than one person, which makes it different to similar-looking ‘fish tank virtual reality’ (FTVR) displays that have existed for years and produce a stereo image of a 3D scene.
As well as encouraging a more sociable virtual reality that could be more interesting to people who like to play games with others rather than alone, it could also be useful for collaborating in the workplace. At the moment it is just-out-of-the-lab technology. The two-player version of Crystal is just the beginning. Does this technology have the power to drive headsets out of the market?
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