To Infinity and Beyond: NVIDIA Research Lets VR Users Explore Vast Virtual Worlds

by Jamie Beckett

Virtual worlds are infinite, but your living room is not.

Today, the size of physical space limits VR users’ ability to move in boundless virtual space. And VR isn’t particularly immersive if you trip over the couch.

The NVIDIA Research team is collaborating with Adobe and Stony Brook University to solve the problem, and they’re looking to your eyes for the answer. The team described its solution during a talk at the GPU Technology Conference this week.

Involuntary movements of the eyes temporarily blind you a few times per second. You don’t notice the movements, known as saccades, because they last only tens of milliseconds.

NVIDIA researchers separated VR users' virtual paths from their physical ones to remove barriers to truly immersive VR experiences.
NVIDIA researchers separated VR users’ virtual paths from their physical ones to remove barriers to truly immersive VR experiences.

In Your Blind Spot

The researchers’ GPU-accelerated technique, called saccadic redirected walking, works when you’re not looking.

During those few milliseconds, it rotates the scene ever so slightly. That imperceptibly guides users on a physical path that differs from the path they perceive in the virtual world. And this helps them avoid bumping into other players or hitting obstacles like the living room wall.

The team used our Quadro GPUs to power its solution, which is on display in the VR Village this week at GTC. You maneuver in a huge virtual space —  an Alice in Wonderland-like chess board with pieces the size of people — all within the confines of the 15×15 -foot square booth.

The researchers are presenting a paper on their work at SIGGRAPH this August. You can see a demo of their redirected walking technology and learn more about the technical details in this video.

The 200-person strong NVIDIA Research team — spread across 11 worldwide locations — is focused on pushing the boundaries of technology in machine learning, computer vision, self-driving cars, robotics, graphics, computer architecture, programming systems, and other areas.

Learn more about the latest Virtual and Augmented Reality at GTC. Talks include Tackling the Realities of Virtual Reality by David Luebke, our vice president of research, at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

 

Similar Stories