Today I was thinking about Silicon Micro Display’s ST1080 head mounted display. This unique HMD has a 10% transparent screen. When I first head about that feature, typical wearable computer / augmented reality applications came to my mind. Those are neat applications, but there’ a lot of development to be done in that department before we see really useful functions come from such applications of the ST1080. But then it hit me. There’s already a product on the market that would work perfectly with the ST1080. Enter Steel Battalion.
Archive for November, 2011
The Sony HMZ-T1 head mounted display is still almost impossible to come by right now, but my local store has one display unit. I finally made my way down, despite some nasty rain, so that I could give the HMZ-T1 a good hands-on test. I wish I had been able to spend more time with it (and perhaps I will soon), but I did get a solid amount of time to do some PS3 gaming (what else would it be in a Sony store!) on the unit and prepared a list of notes from my experience. I had hoped to bring you a video of the HMZ-T1, but unfortunately I was told that videography is not allowed in Sony stores, which I certainly wasn’t expecting. Alas, my notes will have to do! If you’re interested in hearing some honest hands-on info about the Sony HMZ-T1, have a read below!
If you’ve ever
done any thinking about augmented reality seen a sci-fi movie, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the idea of a contact lens that provides the wearer with a super-futuristic heads up display that shows all sorts of awesome and useful information, augmented reality style. Well, we aren’t quite there yet, but work being done is bringing that technology ever closer to that vision. Today such devices are being tested, in several years we may see them available for consumer purchase.
Researchers have recently manufactured and tested a simple 1 pixel contact lens display. Though one pixel doesn’t sound very impressive, it could be used for something as simple as notifying the wearer of an incoming call, text, or email, or could be as useful as alerting a deaf person that a car may be coming up behind them.
The other week I reported that Sony’s HMZ-T1 HMD, which ‘launched’ on 11/11/11, had been backordered and pushed back to an estimated availability date of 1/17/12. All store stock was going to be diverted to those who had pre-ordered the HMZ-T1, according to Sony, because they had underestimated the US demand and apparently under allocated units to the region. However, it seems that the real story is that Sony underestimated demand worldwide.
Today, Silicon Micro Display has announced that they’ll be attending the annual Consumer Electronics Show which will be held from January 10th to the 13th.
CES is a huge consumer electronics exhibition (likely the largest in the US) and is a platform where tech companies go to announce, launch, and demo products that they plan on making and marketing through the coming year.
As I’ve watched a friend play Skyrim over the last few days, I’ve been blown away by the immense world that Bethesda has created. Not only is it huge, but it’s rather beautiful as well. “Slap on an HMD,” I thought, “and this would be a wonderfully immersive virtual reality world.” But as I continued to watch my friend play, I noticed how the interactions between the player and the non-player characters seemed to lag years behind the graphics. They were stale and scripted, unlike the sandbox world that contained them.
Much of the dialogue in the game has a non-player character (NPC) talking to the player about the world. The player gets to interact by selecting from a list of canned responses. Sometimes, the questions you want to ask or the things you want to say just aren’t in that list, and this truly detracts from the immersion. You don’t feel like you are in control because you’re limited to just a few choices. Your character doesn’t even speak the lines aloud; you just pick an option and the NPC starts responding. It also makes the NPCs feel less real because they seem like they are just a robot reading a script (probably because that’s what they are).
A world like Skyrim would be far closer to immersive virtual reality if the NPCs were able to not only hear your voice (through a microphone) but understand it and respond appropriately. Not only would you be able to ask the questions you really wanted to, but you’d have to be more immersed in the lore of the game to even know what to ask.
Voice recognition difficulty aside, having an NPC respond naturally to nearly unpredictable input is definitely a huge challenge, but it’s certainly possible. Games will become far more real when we achieve a level of AI where this is possible, and we aren’t as far away as you might think.
Though Sony oped to get their HMZ-T1 to the market prior to the holidays by putting it up for sale on 11/11/11, it is now officially listed as “backorderable”. What does that mean? Well, for one, it means that even if you buy today, you won’t be able to get one in time for the holidays. It’s unclear if even those who pre-ordered the Sony HMZ-T1 will get theirs by that point.