Virtual reality (VR) technology is seen by some as a solitary experience. Companies like Oculus VR and Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) are putting a lot of effort into demonstrating that this isn’t the case. While augmented reality (AR) or mixed reality (MR) devices like Microsoft’s HoloLens are less insular, due to users being able to see the world around them. But this doesn’t mean that AR/MR is any more social, with multi-player MR still a long way off being a reality. But researchers in Jaron Lanier’s lab at Microsoft are currently exploring ways for people to share the experience of MR.
Lanier, a computer scientist who pioneered VR/AR/MR in the 1980’s has created a project called Camradre. Camradre is made up from separate projects created by student interns looking at how virtual objects can be interacted with, by multiple people, reports MIT Technology Review. And while does have similarities with Microsoft’s MR device, Lanier has said his work is entirely separate from HoloLens.
Having multiple users being able to interact in the same mixed reality experience could make the technology a fantastic prospect for entertainment, alongside practical applications like training. But as Jeremy Bailson, founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, explains about Lanier’s project, the main hurdle is accurately tracking more than one person’s movement: “The critical aspect for multi-person virtual reality is that you have to track everybody’s movements very accurately in their own scene.”
The technology maybe some time away, but it does show the potential of what is to come. VRFocus will continue to follow all the latest news and updates regarding AR and MR, reporting back any announcements.