Wearable Tech World Feature Article
October 29, 2014

Touching Virtual Reality with Nimble Sense

While virtual reality (VR) has been making a lot of gains in the viewing side of things—particularly in terms of the sheer number of ways to see it—the other key points of virtual reality, like interacting with it, have been somewhat laggard. But that's a development that's quickly changing thanks to new developments like the Nimble Sense from Nimble VR.

Nimble VR, formerly known as 3Gear, offers up the Nimble Sense as a means to better interact with virtual systems using that which many commonly go for first: the hands. Usually, at last report, when a user is in a VR setting, the first thing that user tries to do—it's almost instinctual, really—is reach out and touch things. For the most part, this isn't readily done, but with Nimble Sense, it's actually much more possible.

The Nimble Sense is, essentially, a camera that senses depth, so it allows the user to place his or her hands in the field of the camera's view, and have those movements translated into commands in the virtual reality sphere. The camera in question grew out of a skeletal hand-tracking software system designed to be used on other depth-sensing cameras, but with the growth of VR on hand, that was when Nimble VR decided to just make its own. The camera in question, meanwhile, offers up a 110-degree field of view, and uses time-of-flight depth sensing to tell where an object is in relation to itself. It's specifically optimized to work with the Oculus Rift, particularly the Oculus Rift developer kit 2 system, itself a significant step up from its predecessor.

The Nimble Sense is currently running a Kickstarter campaign, as so many other developments are, and currently the campaign has raised $25,615 out of its target goal of $62,500 at the time of this writing, and has 45 days left to go, so if it can continue at this rate it should be more than ready for prime time. Some reports even suggest that game developers are already at work on bringing the Nimble Sense in as a control option, which should give it still more versatility in the field.

There have been quite a few options for seeing virtual reality of late; while the Oculus Rift generally takes front-of-mind on that one, the other options aren't far behind like the Samsung Gear VR or the Google Cardboard, so named because of the material involved in its construction. There's the much-anticipated Project Morpheus from Sony, Vuzix's VR920, and a project from Microsoft that's still in the works though, at last report, was unnamed. Seeing virtual reality isn't so tough, but moving around in it is a different story altogether, a development that things like the Nimble Sense may ultimately address.

Naturally, it's going to be a good while before we see how well this idea works overall—estimated delivery on the Kickstarter project, if it passes, is June of 2015—but it's still good to see that the control side of virtual reality isn't lost on the development community.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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