Moving (virtual) mountains – just with the power of thoughts

There is one thing all virtual or augmented reality devices like Microsoft HoloLens, Oculus Rift or others have in common:
Interaction with the virtual environments or objects requires usage of other peripherals or at least your hands. Fatigue, inconvenience or frustration may be a consequence.
But with the invention of a team of students consisting ofJuan de Joya, Victor Leung and Kelly Peng in the UC Berkeley chapter of ACM SIGGRAPH this could become irrelevant in the future: They have invented a virtual reality system where the virtual world can be controlled just with the power of your thoughts. It works like the following:

The project, called Mindscape VR, utilizes the Oculus Rift and the Muse brain-sensing headset to create an immersive VR environment where users can move objects with their thoughts and interact with their surroundings by simply thinking about doing so.

via ACM SIGGRAPH

To us the combination of virtual reality with electroencephalography (EEG) for interaction sounds really amazing. Even though there is not much detailed information available yet, this technology could have the potential to be the missing part for a convenient long time usage and thus the success of virtual reality devices in a large variety of application areas.

Kid using VR system

Kid using VR system – Photo from Mindscape VR team for/via ACM SIGGRAPH

The authors describe it as “gratifying and empowering experience” and give some pretty cool usage examples:

“In our first iteration of the project, we used one type of brain wave frequency to allow the user to levitate and collect pebbles in a simple fantasy world. While we disabled them at launch, we do have features where the user can call a dragon to appear, change night to day, summon fireflies and shoot fireballs depending on what type of brain frequencies the Muse is picking up.

We found that the simplicity of using one’s thoughts to do things is a pretty gratifying and empowering experience. We had a kid try it out at launch, and as he started levitating the rocks he brought up his hands as if he were a Jedi. How cool is that? It’s these kinds of seamless, easy-to-use experiences that underlie the potential of immersive VR as a medium.”

via Juan de Joya at ACM SIGGRAPH

If you are interested in trying it out for yourself the authors state that the system (first iteration) can be experienced at San Francisco Exploratorium’s Cognitive Technology Exhibit during February.

So what do you think about it? Do you like the idea of not having to actually “do” anything for a virtual reality experience or would you still prefer a traditional input device for a haptic experience? We would love to read your thoughts in the comments section.

Microsoft fuels enthusiasm for HoloLens

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, commented on HoloLens at the end of last month. Just as Microsoft’s head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, Nadella sees great potential in gaming:

hololens4

HoloLens Minecraft project

“Just imagine what is possible with Minecraft. Gaming truly is a valuable part of millions of people’s lives and Microsoft will excel and increase our lead.”

via Microsoft CEO Talks “Mind-Blowing” Gaming Potential for HoloLens – GameSpot.

Besides this, developer Jens Bergensten posted on Twitter:

“I’ve tried 2 Minecraft projects on #HoloLens. One is a toy, one is closer to the game, both are awesome! Very much wip, but definitely real”

via Jens Bergensten auf Twitter: “I’ve tried 2 Minecraft projects on #HoloLens. One is a toy, one is closer to the game, both are awesome! Very much wip, but definitely real”.

We hear it all over the news: HoloLens is the future of gaming. But what reason does Microsoft give for this? Let’s have a look at Microsoft’s gross margins and revenues:

gaming numbers

GameSpot summarized the most important numbers and identified the following key facts:

1. Shipment of Xbox consoles in Q4 2014

“Microsoft on Monday reported earnings results for the quarter ended December 31, 2014, revealing that the company shipped (i.e. sold to retailers) more than 6.6 million Xbox consoles during the period. This is down from 7.4 million consoles shipped during the same quarter last year.”

via Microsoft Shipped 6.6 Million Xbox Consoles During Holiday Quarter – GameSpot.

2. Xbox platform revenue

“Total Xbox platform revenue fell by 20 percent to $703 million, “due to customer preference for new generation of consoles,” Microsoft said. Total console volume fell by 10 percent, while Microsoft also recorded lower revenue from second- and third-party games and accessories.”

via Microsoft Shipped 6.6 Million Xbox Consoles During Holiday Quarter – GameSpot.

3. Total Revenue / Net income

“Overall, Microsoft reported revenue of $26.5 billion for the quarter, up from $24.5 billion last year. Net income was $5.8 billion, down from $6.6 billion last year.”

via Microsoft Shipped 6.6 Million Xbox Consoles During Holiday Quarter – GameSpot.

All in all, Microsoft mentioned that the Xbox  One “sold out the rival Playstation 4” in the US and that they have had a “strong holiday season performance”.

Read GameSpot’s full article here and get more numbers & facts about the Gaming business!

HoloLens & Borderlands

borderlands

nick8807’s Borderlands mock-up for HoloLens

Latitude and creativity without limits – that’s what  Reddit user nick8807 might have thought when he created his own augmented Borderlands mock-up for Xbox One.

“Just an idea I had in my head. Off screen HUD and inventory that dims when your eyes focus on your TV. Rough mock up. Let me know what you guys think.”

via What HoloLens could be like on Xbox One… : xboxone.

Actually the mock-up is very similar to Tadgh Kelly‘s idea of AR used as an augmented screen. The mock-up shows a simplified method to choose weapons and to improve the overview and understanding of the game. In fact, the actual screen would be dedicated 100% to the game world.

Gamingbolt‘s Ravi Sinha thought about similar features adding that

“It’s interesting because it allows you to automatically select weapons from your backpack, listen to custom soundtracks or start a party – all without having to leave the actual game. Though it’s just a mock-up, it represents the potential of HoloLens for commercial games in terms of functionality, ease of use and even custom functionality.”

via Here’s What Microsoft’s HoloLens Could Be Like On Xbox One « GamingBolt.com: Video Game News, Reviews, Previews and Blog.

If you are interested in further comments about the mock-up, have a look at the complete Reddit post here.

Feel free to comment on the mock-up below and tell us what you think about all the ideas!

Best Uses of HoloLens & Favoured Augmented Games

4 specific applications were presented at the Windows 10 live event. Apparently, there is a lot more to do with HoloLens as the potential of AR is increasing permanently.

Cnet’s Donald Bell thought about best uses of HoloLens and presented his TOP 5:

Especially augmented gaming is fascinating many people. But which games are actually suitable?

Steven Wong from Shacknews explored exactly this question and shared 9 games that hold great potential for augmented gaming.

Here are some of his examples:

1. The Sims

sims

The Sims 4

The Sim Creator from The Sims 4 is a perfect example. Imagine having a small 3D hologram of your Sim standing atop your desk as you use your hands to pull on arrows to manipulate its proportons. It would be like creating a virtual sculpture, with the added fun of it coming to life once it’s done.

via 9 Games Ready for Microsoft HoloLens Augmentation | Shacknews.

Visit the Official The Sims Site here.

 

2. Halo: The Master Chief Collection

halo

Halo: Master Chief Collection

Perhaps it could heighten the experience by allowing players to see more from their periphery. It could paint the floor and walls of your room with matching environment tiles, so it feels like you’re playing the game from wherever you are in the game. Lastly, if you get stuck or lost on a level, you could ask ask Cortana where you should go.

via 9 Games Ready for Microsoft HoloLens Augmentation | Shacknews.

Visit the Official Halo Site here

 

3. Alien: Isolation

alien

Alien: Isolation. Nostromo Crew

“You could use the HoloLens to scan through your house and its furniture. Then you would set the starting point and exit, place bystanders, enemies, and gadget parts in different rooms, and pretend (for the sake of the experience) that all other doors and windows don’t work.”

via 9 Games Ready for Microsoft HoloLens Augmentation | Shacknews.

Visit the Official Alien: Isolation Site here.

Do not forget to check out Steven Wong’s full article here!

Minecraft 2.0

Microsoft bought Minecraft for $2,5-billion in September 2014. For those of you who don’t know what Minecraft is all about – watch the Minecraft Trailer [2014]!

Up to now it looked like this. Then HoloLens came out and opened up a completely new dimension of Minecraft: an AR Minecraft version. Only imagine the upcoming possibilities!

The aquisition was confirmed by Mojang in the following way:

creeper

Minecraft Creeper

Yes, the deal is real. Mojang is being bought by Microsoft.

It was reassuring to see how many of your opinions mirrored those of the Mojangstas when we heard the news. Change is scary, and this is a big change for all of us. It’s going to be good though. Everything is going to be OK. ❤

via Yes, we’re being bought by Microsoft.

 

In the light of the above, TGN reacted on Microsoft’s HoloLens demo and speculates about where Microsoft might take Minecraft prospectively:

What do you think of an AR Minecraft version? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below!

If you can’t get enough from Minecraft, also watch Minecraft’s Xbox One version trailer.

Or read Mojang’s official statement here.

HoloLens Gaming Scenario

gaming

Techcrunch’s Tadhg Kelly published an interesting article about further use cases and possible core competences of HoloLens. His starting point reads as follows:

“The question I’m always asking of any invention in the games-tech space is “can I see it being used every day?”

via The Reason To Be Cheerful About HoloLens | TechCrunch.

Against this background, Tadhg Kelly proposes the use of HoloLens as an augmented screen:

game area

Tadhg Kelly’s concept of an Augmented Game Area

This way several improvements could be enabled. Kelly exemplifies his solution in the following way:

“Its seems trivial, but think about it. How many action, roleplaying, storytelling and other games would be improved by having 30% more screen area dedicated to the game world? And how cool would it be to have lots of numbers floating in mid-space to the sides of the game rather than be hemmed in by constraints of the game world? Plenty.”

 

Now it’s your turn, enlarge your vision and think about new HoloLens scenarios!

Feel free to leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments  below and make sure you read Kelly’s full article: The Reason To Be Cheerful About HoloLens | TechCrunch.

Find Tadhg Kelly’s Blog “What Games Are” here or follow him on Twitter!

If you are interested in further information about HoloLens, Windows 10 and the future of gaming, watch also the videos from gamespot.com:

http://www.gamespot.com/videos/embed/6423072/