3DiVi is the company behind VicoVR, a full-body motion tracking Bluetooth accessory. As we’ve said time and time again on the website, immersion is an important aspect of the VR experience. VicoVR aims to knock down another barrier between the real and the virtual with its technology. 3DiVi’s Google Play page already has a number of their offerings available for user perusal. As the company is preparing to launch the consumer version of VicoVR, VR Fitness Insider spoke with Dmitry Morozov, co-founder and CEO of 3DiVi.
The Road to VicoVR
Standing testament to VR’s international appeal, 3DiVi is based out of Russia. The company started five years ago as a software development company. The team’s inspiration to create VicoVR comes from the Microsoft Kinect. The Kinect is a webcam-like motion-sensing device compatible with the XBox line of consoles and Windows PCs. Looking at VicoVR, it seems like there is a similarity in the physical design of the accessory.
But, that’s where the similarities stop. With the VicoVR, a video game console or a high-end computer is not needed. Ditto for any extra wires or anything else that a user has to put on outside of a headset. As long as you have an Android or an iOS gaming-compatible mobile device, then you’re golden. Morozov spoke more about plans to extend beyond even that.
“We want to provide a VR solution for any device, any mobile platform,” Morozov said, noting VicoVR’s key difference to the Microsoft product. “VicoVR is wireless. You don’t need to connect it to a PC. It only takes about 30 seconds to get it up and running.”
The Full-Body Controller
Morozov said that the success of the Kinect proved that a market existed for full-body motion controls. VicoVR was conceived as a cost-effective solution to the Kinect. Something that would enable users who wanted to have that experience, but didn’t have an XBox, or didn’t have a powerful PC. He also believes that the technology will help pave the way for non-gaming applications.
“Currently, VR is limited by computational power,” Morozov said. “In the future, one of the key features to virtual reality is a social feature. With full-body motion controls, you can interact with other people. There is a human presence.”
Similar to ObEN’s work in creating a more human avatar, VicoVR’s technology is capitalizing on the gap the Microsoft Kinect left behind. While the Kinect was a gaming accessory that used a console or a PC as a middleware processor, 3DiVi’s product focuses all of its processing power on its depth sensing technology.
How VicoVR Works
The consumer version on the left and the prototype for developers on the right.
The controller’s internal processing unit manages the image processing and the depth sensing. So, this is where the product doesn’t need the middleware. That means all of the detection and all of the skeletal tracking data is done inside the controller. Due to that, the load is taken away from the host device, which already makes the technology that much more accessible.
“Any user can download the applications for VicoVR and get the connection,” said Morozov.
A usual problem for wireless accessories like this is the potential lag. But, Morozov boasted an impressive lag time of 7 milliseconds. Even then, that lag comes from the Bluetooth connection and not a fault of the controller itself.
What to Look Out For in the Future
Morozov expects the consumer version of the accessory to start shipping by the end of the year. Meanwhile, 3DiVi is working with other Android developers to create games to add on to their already existing catalog.
“Since we are a small company,” Morozov said, “and [VicoVR] is a new platform, there is the challenge to create new content. In addition to outside developers, we also have a small team of in-house developers working in Unity.”
The Devkit also includes a prototype controller, Unity 3D, and the Unreal Engine 4 SDK for Android. One of the games created by an outside studio is Archery Range, which received a recommendation from Morozov himself.
Finally, games aren’t the only medium that VicoVR is setting its Bluetooth-powered sights on. If there’s any VR application that would benefit from full-body motion controls, it would be VR fitness. If treadmill or stationary bike VR fitness apps seem lacking to you, full-body controls sounds like what the industry needs.
The news is exciting. 3DiVi will also be attending CES 2017. By then, the public will have had their hands on VicoVR, and will be looking forward to what’s coming next.