Consumer-ready virtual reality is finally about to happen. With headsets like the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Project Morpheus and the HTC Vive all either out now or coming out soon, there is a very good chance that by this time next year we'll be living in the future. But not just ANY future, THE future. The future we have been promised by movies, TV, and other science fiction pop culture for decades.
One thing's for sure though, the traditional ways we've interacted with computers up until now are not going to cut it in the VR future. Using a keyboard is really hard when you can't see your hands, or the keyboard. Also, unless you are simulating sitting at a desk it just doesn't feel great when you are supposed to otherwise be inhabiting this virtual space.
You need something that moves with you, that responds intuitively to your actions, and that you don't need to look at. That's the Myo armband. When you wear one on your arm, it tracks orientation and movement with it's 9-axis IMU, and uses the 8 EMG sensors to read your muscles and detect gestures. Since it's wireless, it stays with you. Since there's no camera, it tracks you even if your arm is behind your body.
That is key, and it opens the door for some amazing things.
Have you ever wanted to fly? In Icarus Rising, you can. All you need is a Myo armband (or two) and an Oculus Rift DK2. By spreading your fingers (or waving out) you thrust away from wherever your arms are pointing. Point your arms at the turrets and make a fist to shoot.
This is a pretty awesome experience, and it really gives you that feeling of flight as your soar through the air. Since the Myo armband precisely knows the orientation of your arm at all times, you can put your arms behind you and fly forward without having to look behind you. You don't have to worry about your arms blocking some camera. You can even fly in one direction and shoot in another. Check out the trailer above, it's pretty sweet.
Sometimes you just want to smash something. Crate Whacker gives you and endless stream of boxes to mash with your mace, or burst with your bombs. The Myo armband again tracks your arm orientation to let you wield your mace or throw grenades. You still need a Myo armband, but for this experience the Oculus Rift DK2 is actually optional (though definitely recommended). Make a fist to take out your mace and swing it around, spread your fingers to enter grenade mode, and then grab your imaginary grenade on the opposite side of your body and hurl it out onto the field.
Simple crate whacking fun.
Virtual Reality is something that's been on our minds for a long time, and our developer community is no stranger to it either. It's an exciting technology, with incredible potential, so we've made it easy to build compelling VR experiences with the Myo armband.
Icarus Rising and Crate Whacker were both built in Unity with the Myo Unity package included in our SDK. To build your own VR experience, you can start with the Oculus Tuscany demo scene and combine it with our own Box on a Stick example (which gives you your arm rotating in 3D space). Then it's off to the races.
I can't wait to see what's next. Join us!