Tornuffalo might sound like the name of a prehistoric dinosaur yet it is actually an “active, roomscale-only VR experience.” Tornado’s creators synthesized “tornado” and “buffalo” for their unique company moniker. Tornuffalo is making waves as an example of what full-body virtual reality gaming will be like in the near future. The technology makes use of HTC Vive Trackers for a full-body action mode that tracks the movements of nearly every portion of the human body to create a highly responsive and realistic virtual reality experience.

Tornuffalo’s First Look

VR enthusiasts are raving over the real-time accuracy, responsiveness and precision of Tornuffalo gameplay. This is a virtual reality action game in which the player dodges debris flying in their direction. The debris even includes the occasional buffalo as a nod to the company’s namesake. The objects are hurled toward the player in the virtual setting as if he is in the midst of a tornado. The player’s mission is to dodge these objects while simultaneously smashing crystals to rack up points. Simple enough, right? Sure, but also a hell of a workout!

The Advanced and Precise Motion Tracking We’ve Been Waiting For

Tornuffalo has not been on the scene for long. This immersive VR experience debuted in December of 2016 for SteamVR. The purpose of launching a fairly simple version of the game at that point in time was to demonstrate the incredibly bright future for virtual reality and motion controller tracking. The magic of this experience is that it provides the player with the sensation of full body movement.

How Does it Work (and Help You Workout)?

The tech functions with several HTC Vive Trackers, some of which are placed along the feet and waist. These tracking points make the player’s body movement that much more important for success in the game. It is not just the arms, hands and the head that are tracked in real-time. The subtle movements of nearly every portion of the body play important roles in the successful dodging, kicking and smashing of objects.

The three HTC Vive Trackers connected to the body along the waist and feet adhere to the same principles as HTC’s Vive IK motion capture code as well as Ikinema’s Orion animation software. All in all, the motion controllers combine with the headset for a total of six tracking points that accurately gauge the player’s nuanced movements during gameplay. The technology is centered on inverse kinematics that creates a highly detailed complete body-pose without delay. This is real-time motion tracking at its finest.

Tornuffalo is as Precise as VR Motion Tracking Gets

The HTC Vive tracking technology described above makes Tornuffalo an incredibly responsive and fun virtual reality gaming experience. The player dodges, hops, crouches, sidesteps and moves in all sorts of other manners to avoid incoming objects. The motion tracker technology even empowers the player to kick objects away with both feet. Bottomline: You’re moving your entire body and you’re going to sweat, but the key is that the tech will work with you and you can just go full throttle, the best recipe for a workout!

Make way for Fitness-oriented Virtual Reality Gaming!

The possibilities for this highly advanced technology are endless. Look for VR software makers to incorporate such real-time, full-body motion capture technology in VR fitness games of all different varieties as we rapidly hurtle into a high-tech future. The accurate tracking of body movements in real-time just might prove enough to inspire people to exercise at a healthy frequency. Perhaps this technology will be implemented in fitness facilities, school gym programs and arcades across the globe in years to come.

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