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Valve has some new ideas about what is "humanly possible" in SteamVR



The kind of Beat saber levels that require hand movements that were once considered superhuman by the developers of SteamVR.

Over the years, Valve has made dozens of changes to the system-level software behind SteamVR. Most of them are not intrinsically interesting if you are not a VR developer. Then there is the latest update, which according to Valve was motivated by a change in the "limits of what we thought was humanly possible for the controller's movement".

After looking at "data tracking Beat saber Experts, "Valve says he had to increase the theoretical limits of how fast a human can move in virtual reality." In the comments, Valve's developer, Ben Jackson, details how the top level Beat saber players sometimes overwhelmed the "internal security checks" that ensure that the SteamVR headlamp tracking system is working correctly.

"One of these controls is related to how quickly we thought it was physically possible for someone to turn the wrist," Jackson writes. "It turns out that a properly motivated human using a light enough controller could go faster (3,600 degrees per second!) Than we thought."

For some contexts, 3,600 degrees per second is the same as turning your hand from palm to palm down in just 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds). That's about four hummingbird fins or less than half the blink of an eye. Apparently, such wrist speeds are not only possible but necessary to hit those flying blocks in some of Beat saberThe most difficult songs.

Ben Lang, from Road to VR, explains in more detail why these quick wrist maneuvers could alter SteamVR's tracking algorithm. While SteamVR's external tracking stations can provide extremely accurate tracking of the position and angle of portable controllers, they do so relatively slowly, only about 100 times per second.

Among those tics, an internal inertial measurement unit (IMU) provides a quicker approximation of rotation and movement in the order of 1,000 times per second. But that rapid inertial measurement can be inaccurate and "deviate" from the actual position of the controller in the real world.

Smoothing that often requires a prediction algorithm based on where the system expects your hand to go next. Making the smoothing work work sensibly, in turn, requires certain assumptions based on human kinesiology, assumptions that have apparently been disregarded by the higher level. Beat saber players It is an incredible achievement and also a reflection of how early we are in our understanding of how virtual reality can and should function at the basic level of human interface.

List image by Beat Saber


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