One of virtual reality’s (VR’s) most promising use cases is to connect people from around the world. A glimpse of that future can already be seen in the likes of Oculus VR’s Toybox demo, where two people put on Oculus Rift head-mounted displays (HMDs) and use the Oculus Touch position-tracked controllers to interact with each other. Now the team behind FOVE, the crowd-funded HMD that utilises eye-tracking technology, has revealed its own unique project in which it enabled a Japanese woman to visit her grandson’s wedding in VR using a robot controlled by its eye-tracking tech.
FOVE has revealed the ‘HUG Project‘, which enabled the 90-year-old grandmother to attend her grandson’s ceremony from a hospital bed far away. A personal robot known as Pepper carried a camera on its head that doubled as the grandmother’s eyes, while a tablet was mounted to the front of the device showing her picture. FOVE’s eye-tracking technology was used to control the robot. Using VR, the grandmother was able to exchange a virtual hug with the newlyweds. A video of the event can be seen below, though bear in mind all the text is in Japanese.
The company is planning to reveal the project in more detail in the near future. FOVE itself raised $480,650 USD on Kickstarter earlier this year and is expecting to ship its first development kits to backers in May 2016. Details on a possible price and launch date for the consumer version of the device are yet to be revealed, although the company did recently announced that it would be working with Valve to incorporate its SteamVR system, which can currently be seen in the HTC Vive HMD.
VRFocus will continue to follow FOVE’s work in VR closely, reporting back with the latest updates on the device.