The Orb of Virtual Reality

IMG_1281Inspired by the movie Tomorrowland, I tried to replicate the orb that allows them to travel through time and space. I also think this will be a
great input device for destop virtual reality set ups, since it gives you extra dimensions.

This ultra minimalist design has no baring on what it looks like — since the tactile feedback is all you need when you are wearing a virtual reality headset.

Kenny Friedman

The Orb In Motion

Hardware

  • Oculus VR: DK2, a virtual reality head set that tracks accelerometer and gyroscopic data for head mounted display positioning
  • Leap Motion 1: IR sensor that tracks hand positions, so you can see your hands while wearing the VR headset.
  • Orb: To create the orb, I used an empty light bulb casing, a pot for a plant, and confetti filler. All of which are very cheap at Home Depot. I also used a piece of wood and plastic for a stand, as you can see in the photos.
  • The orb is wireless, and uses a hacked-up & cheap, optical USB mouse to sense the movement of the ball.

Software

  • Unity: using Unity for the 3D virtual environment.
  • C Sharp: using C sharp scripting to capture the orb movement and adjust the head mounted display.

Future Steps

  • Currently, a Google Street View like world is viewable in the virtual reality headset and in the world.
  • The touch controls are not implemented yet, as that would be a stage 2 or 3 part of the project.
  • I think a more sturdy base, and a bigger orb would be better than the current hardware — but the current hardware is very affordable.
  • The orb should be secured, but that restricts access to the development process, so I would not lock things down until the final stage.

What I Learned

  • I had never used Unity or C# before, so I learned the language and the 3D environment.
  • I had also never used a Leap Motion or Oculus, so trying both of those out took some getting used to, but are very cool.
  • I learned that simpler is always the better option. I tried many different steps to get the orb sensing, including: using

Links to the code will be available here later this week.