We propose a solution based on recent advances in merged immersive virtual & physical environments for gaming & other purposes, especially the "Hypr Reality" work of the company “The VOID” [https://www.thevoid.com/
wiki/The_Void_(virtual_ reality)], and of others soon to come out of stealth development mode [https://thevideoink.com/
spaces-is-one-step-closer-to- creating-a-vr-theme-park- fe527ba8599b]. The concepts and technology developed by VR companies like The VOID provide a powerful basis for supporting your needs, and can be extended in several important ways for the purposes of meeting your full set of test environment requirements.
The company The VOID began by prototyping the merger of physical spaces with developer edition VR equipment to test their concept with people. They enabled participants to be untethered, carrying the VR experience computer in a backpack & using wireless technology where necessary. Trials proved it a very powerful method to solve limitations of existing consumer oriented 3D VR, such as the inability to move normally for exploration, and increasing the level of immersion to a significantly greater level. In short, testers of the early prototype found it extremely compelling, & the company has optimized their technology & the experience ever since. They began by using Oculus Rift developer edition HMDs, Leap Motion depth sensors mounted to the front for hand recognition, headphones for immersive audio and connected them all to a laptop in a backpack. They used optical IR markers and motion tracking cameras mounted above for gross body position tracking. They mapped a physical space in 3D and imported it into the virtual space. They registered the mapped physical space & the virtual representation to coincide, and ensured accurate co-location of walls, benches, etc., between the VR & real spaces. They also built basic peripherals such as guns & torches, which themselves communicated wirelessly and were position & orientation tracked. They then opened the prototype for people to explore the environments together & collected feedback on the experience (& some revenue) [https://www.technologyreview
. com/s/544096/inside-the-first- vr-theme-park/].
The company has since been developing an entire range of custom technology as they discovered they could not purchase what they needed off-the-shelf. They have an exclusive agreement with contract design firm Optimal Design Co for development of this series of technologies they have labeled the “Rapture” system [http://optimaldesignco.com/
portfolio/void-virtual- reality-system/]. They have developed a custom VR HMD with significant differences over consumer VR HMDs, given their technology has less price sensitivity. Their HMD integrates dual curved 2K OLED screens with custom optics, giving 180 degree peripheral field of view. They include quality Bang & Olufsen headphones, microphones for communications, & RF 3D position & orientation tracking devices.
They have developed a haptic vest with multiple types of haptic feedback, & wireless gloves with RF position trackers, built in finger bend sensors & open finger tips so the hands can be fully represented in VR while still feeling surfaces of the physical environment.
They have built a custom small computer for the backpack to run each individual’s VR experience, partnering with nVidia & others to obtain the high performance computing required for this demanding application.
And they are working on occlusion free RF tracking of each participant’s body including sensors for ankles, gloves, back and head. Existing optical motion trackers are very expensive & there are always occlusion issues with walls and bodies. Their RF system is being designed to solve these issues.
The HMD is wire connected to the backpack computer, however all other elements such as gloves, ankle tracking sensors, & any held peripherals are all wireless with no cables to get in the way.
The physical environments are setup with digitally triggered & controlled interactive physical elements, such as sprays of water mist, fans, heat sources, etc. Other motion & vibration platforms can be incorporated to represent physical movements & effects, such as a vibration platform to mimic an elevator.
One final piece that makes the whole system work is the ability to fit a lot of physically explorable virtual space into a relatively small real physical space. This is possible because without the audio-visual cues of the real world, participants can be tricked with something called “redirected walking” into believing they are walking straight when they are walking in circles. This, along with the ability to map very different virtual environments to the same physical spaces enables a relatively small physical arena to work for large & varying VR spaces [http://www.roadtovr.com/the-