This year the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) came and went with almost everyone focusing on the possibilities of virtual reality technology. With number of demos for new games and devices for the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive and even the PlayStation VR it is hard to keep track with everything that has been going on at the GDC 2016. However, when scrolling to the news that came out of the conference, we found an interesting demo from SIGGRAPH of their wide-area tracking technology, called OptiTrack.

As you can see in the demo, using wireless tracking pads on a basketball, the team of OptiTrack were able to seamlessly transfer the ball into the virtual world. Being able to turn ordinary items into virtual reality controllers, could prove to be revolutionary for VR fitness. For example, just imagine tracking your dumbbells with OptiTrack and being able to actually see and control them in VR, as you pick them up and train with them in your room. Such wide tracking technology could truly make a difference, when it comes to VR workouts, as one of the current biggest issues of VR fitness is the inability to actually pick up and train with different items that also have a certain weight in the real world, while being immersed into a virtual reality experience. However, these are not the only possibilities offered by OptiTrack.

The Wide-Room Experiences of Virtual Reality with OptiTrack

Currently, OptiTrack is one of the main technologies that are being implemented in different VR Arcades, such as the VOID, VRCade and Holovis. Furthermore, Chief Strategy Officer at OptiTrack, Brian Nilles stated at ‘The Voices of VR’ podcast by RoadToVr that there are a number of yet-to-be announced VR Arcade solutions and that currently OptiTrack is being used for motion and facial capture by AAA studios, as well as for indoor GPS systems for robots and drones.

It’s exciting to see the development of technologies, such as OptiTrack, as they might further open the door for virtual reality fitness. While having a virtual reality workout at home is still not a priority in the development phase of OptiTrack, the wide-room experiences it might provide, might be closely connected to what is needed for an immersive VR fitness experience. Furthermore, while the VR Arcades are mainly focused on delivering a great VR gaming experience, soon we might see projects for VR fitness arcades that focus on the fitness and how to improve it via Virtual Reality.

While wide-area tracking technologies, including the OptiTrack, are still in development and a long way off consumer-ready products, it is nonetheless exciting to think about the possibilities they offer. In just a few year’s time, we might be able to have full VR Fitness experiences, with the help of the OptiTrack and other wide-area tracking technologies.