In September 2014 iPhone creator Apple revealed its long-rumoured wearable device, Apple Watch. Serving as a companion to the more recent iPhone models, the device offers a number of unique applications that will provide users with information and carry out tasks without having to access their phone. Now technology group PepperGum Labs has simulated the potential for the Apple Watch to work with the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD), albeit in a completely unofficial manner.
As can be seen in the video below PeggerGum Labs Software Engineer and iOS instructor Ontario Britton has created a makeshift Apple Watch using iPhone accelerometers as a fill-in. With the device strapped around his wrist, Britton puts on a first developer kit version (DK1) of the Oculus Rift and is able to move his right arm around in a VR experience in which he uses gestures to move vehicles and entire buildings. Other sections of the video also show the makeshift watch used to control racing videogames and more.
It’s certainly an interesting application of the device, even if there appear to be several limitations to its use. Firstly, the input is restricted to one arm and, without any additional finger-tracking, already seems to be vastly outmatched by hand-tracking technologies such as the Leap Motion controller and Nimble VR, a company that was recently purchased by Oculus Rift maker Oculus VR. If the video is also anything to go by, there’s noticeable lag between input and action. All of these factors make this more of an interesting experiment rather than a viable VR input solution.
Still, Britton’s work might be something for Apple itself to take note of as the Apple Watch nears launch in 2015. The company was recently tied to VR when it posted a new job listing looking for people to work with the technology. What could it have planned for VR in the future? VRFocus will continue to follow Apple, reporting back with any further updates on its work in VR.