Gaming can be a lonely passion and VR headsets look to make it even lonelier. That's why Captopsys has created its Immersis VR projector to "let a friend or a pizza in" and it's just hit its $100,000 target on Kickstarter.
If the concept looks familiar, that's because you might have seen Microsoft's Illumiroom demos which offered something similar - games and panoramic videos that take over your living room in the closest thing we'll get in 2015 to sharing VR with your mates.
The tech inside the projector adapts images in real time to the size and the shape of the room as well as integrating TVs, monitors or even tablets into the projection.
How? Once you've configured the projector to your room, it knows the 3D position of each individual pixel in the physical space and can then 'deform' the image, a process it calls anamorphosis, to fit the room and alter depending on the viewers' point of view.
Immersis connects to your computer via a DVI/HDMI port and can project regular, flat 2D photos and videos as well as 180 degree panoramas, footage from 360 degree cameras and games. Gaming controls remain the same - controllers, mouse and keyboard or touchscreen if you've connected up a tablet to the system.
It is also promising manipulation of 3D objects, Microsoft HoloLens style, with an additional device though details are scarce for now on the Kickstarter page.
One potential problem is that Immersis, which uses a fisheye lens with a very short focal length, says its image resolution will be at least 1920 x 1080 - this is OK for now as no-one is doing what Catopsys is doing but to put it bluntly, a whole room is much bigger than a TV screen and to make a whole group of people feel they're in the game, it's going to take a lot more pixels to achieve.
Catopsys' Kickstarter campaign only had 221 backers but with prices starting at $1,000, which is $1,500 off the final retail price, and an estimated shipping date of October 2015 we're sure they are all pretty excited.
Are the Oculus Rift and its rival VR headsets doomed before they've even got going? We're not so sure - images projected onto your real, imperfect, distracting walls and furniture are never going to match the uncanny sensation that you're actually somewhere else. But as Catopsys has proved, gamers probably just want both.
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