Check this out! Jonny Lee, a PhD candidate in Carnegie-Mellon turned a standard flat-screen television into an immersive 3D environment not unlike those you see in the 3D cinemas or those dorky ‘immersive-reality’ goggles, all by cleverly hacking readily available Wii parts and custom software. This seems to be a proof-of-concept, showing that it is indeed not too difficult to create an immersive environment at home. The advantage of this over the traditional visor-like implementation is of course, not having to encumber the user (and the product package) to have to wear a screen on the head. This could mean it’s much lighter, easier, comfortable and certainly cheaper – all that needs to change is pretty much just the software (the hardware is almost insignificant in terms of part costs).
You can already think of the gaming possibilities (I’d drool at a first-person-shooter game with something like this…). This would definitely be a breakthrough – in breaking the fourth wall. Imagine a Playstation 4 with impeccable graphics and this motion-sensing, immersive, spatial reality.
Of course there are some limitations as well – with this configuration the virtual reality can only work for 1 person. It is also somewhat different from the traditional VR-goggle implementation in terms of experience, I think. With the goggles, you can turn your head around and the virtual world follows through. With this hack, if you turn your head, the TV still remains at where it is (though the screen changes) – so chances are you’d be staring at your TV rack or speakers, and this would jolt you out of your virtual world. In other words, the former can accommodate rotation, while the latter is more apt for translation-in-space motions (with your eyes still constantly oriented towards the screen).
For more information, head here.