About this project
Impression PI is a revolutionary VR headset. It is wireless, enabling unencumbered movement, and incorporates 3D gesture control, position tracking, and a perfect combination of both virtual and augmented realities, to provide you the most complete and interactive VR and AR experience.
Update 4/23/2015 -- Live Demo video detailing our latest progress on position tracking in AR overlay and interactive VR / 3D hand-gesture recognition and tracking. Check out the amazing butterflies....
At Impression Pi's core is a computer-vision powerhouse – made possible by our specially designed sensing hardware, computing unit, and advanced algorithms.
Below is a Live Demo Video from VRLA's Spring Expo on March 22, 2015. We had 3 demo stations:
1. Our 3D gesture control technology in our own VR headset
2. AR (and real world) overlays in our own VR headset
3. Our 3D gesture tracking technology running on a smartphone.
Quite a few professionals and experts working in the field of gesture technology came by to try out our mobile gesture demo and were impressed by our technology's performance.
3D gesture control: Core vision module with computer vision algorithm senses hand actions and gestures in 3D. The algorithm is highly optimized to perform well on mobile platforms, enabling gesture control on mobile VR devices. It's much more convenient than traditional inputs, as the users are able to interact with VR content in a natural manner, easily control the interface, take phone calls, etc, without needing to take off the headset.
Position Tracking: Impression Pi uses unique technologies designed to track the user’s head position inside-out. By observing the relative position, Impression Pi quickly calculates your actual movements with a high degree of precision.
AR Overlay: Impression Pi’s advanced dual camera module captures and displays the real world to the user, then overlays VR images and virtual objects, like living holograms. With collision detection capability, Impression Pi gives a warning based on obstacles it detects in the real world.
Head Rotation Tracking: Impression Pi has a built in high performance IMU (sampling rate >1000Hz) and AHRS algorithm, which enables high performance orientation tracking, giving users a very smooth and immersive VR and AR viewing experience.
Starter: You can use the Starter Pack with any smartphone to enjoy a basic VR experience. With a customized faceplate, it‘s like a more fashionable Cardboard! Just slip your phone into the headset, start a VR app, and enter an immersive virtual world. You can upgrade your Starter Pack to the Empower version by purchasing the Core board separately.
Core: The Core Package is designed for DIY lovers. It includes our camera sensing module and computer vision algorithms which provide 3D gesture recognition, hand tracking, position tracking, and augmented realities. You can use Core in any project, whether it's adding intelligent eyes to your GearVR or Cardboard setup, building your own VR headset, or even creating a robot or advanced drone!
Empower: Impression Pi Empower pack turns your smartphone into the most powerful wireless interactive VR+AR headset. It is equivalent to Starter headset with an embedded Core vision board. The board adds extra power to your smartphone, providing a better VR experience and enabling 3D gesture control, position tracking and AR capabilities.
Master An all-in-one integrated headset with a built-in display and embedded computer system, the master pack is designed for everyone, and works without a smartphone. You’ll enjoy the best wireless VR and AR experience with no DIY or assembly required.
(Note: The Core Pack is only the Impression Pi vision board. The Master Pack does not require a smartphone, but the Starter and Empower Package do.)
Live Demo at GDC 2015 -- VR with 3D gesture and AR overlay
Risks and challenges
The Impression Pi team of researchers, engineers and designers have previously worked on projects that have produced cutting edge 3D and VR innovations, and products beloved by millions, including Intel microprocessors, the iPhone and GoPro.
Our manufacturing partners have made numerous products that are already in your pockets, and our selection of components has been finalized. However, delays in production could occur depending on the availability of components and the speed of the manufacturing process.
Our hand tracking design is complete. Our prototype works perfectly and has been tested in real life digital signage environments for months to verify robustness and accuracy.
The head position tracking is working superbly in our lab setup, but we are improving its latency and accuracy to ensure it works perfectly in all environments. The Impression Pi system board includes a software update feature, so we can keep improving and delivering new features even after the hardware has been shipped.
The Impression Pi system board adds advanced VR/AR features. It is fully compatible with and connects to PC and Android systems via USB, and has a lightning port to communicate with iPhones; however, the app level compatibility with the iPhone remains subject to final App Store approval.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
All the three packs (Starter, Empower, Master) are fully mobile. It works by itself, doesn't need an external PC at all, so no HDMI or USB cable will be needed.
Please note that Master version is not only adding a screen to Empower version, but also an Android system board (with CPU,GPU, RAM, Wifi). It basically equals to a mid-high end Android Phone system added to the Empower vision, so you don't need to insert your phone.
Like other mobile devices, Master version has WiFi capability to connect to the internet for online video stream, app downloading ...
The Sensing board connects to Android devices via USB port for high speed data transfer. For iOS device, the connection is lightening port. Free flex connection cables will be included with the headset package.
You can still place the phone inside Starter pack or Empower pack to enjoy VR apps.
The phones in the ‘Recommended List’ will guarantee 1. Great VR visual experience when used with Starter Pack and Empower pack, and 2. Can benefit from the Core vision board in Empower pack for 3D hand tracking, head tracking, and AR.
1. In order to have excellent VR visual experience, the phone need to have >5” screen, and >400ppi pixel density. If your phone doesn’t satisfy these requirements, you can still place the phone inside the Starter and Empower pack, but the VR experience will not be as immersive as recommended phones.
2. In order to utilize Core vision board in Empower pack, an Android phone needs to have USB OTG (On-The-Go) feature, and supports USB Bulk transfer mode. We have observed few android devices having the OTG feature but unable to connect to our vision board. We will test more devices, and expand the compatibility list.
The core vision board in Empower edition is compatible iOS devices with Lightning port, including iPhone 5S. However iPhone 5S is not in the recommended list because of the viewing experience won't be very immersive, because iPhone 5S's screen is much smaller than 5 inch. The optimal screen size is >5".
And in order for the phone to be securely and correctly positioned inside the Empower headset, we provide fixtures to fit those phones in the recommended list. For iPhone 5S, you may need to design and make a fixture to position it in the headset.
The position tracking has two modes: near mode and far mode. Our target for the final product is <1mm position error in near mode, and 10mm in far mode.
(Near range applications is like play AR chess on the table, Far range application is like walking in a large room)
The Master pack has WiFi capability, on both 2.4G and 5G. The Master pack has a built-in Android system basically equals to a mid to high end phone, but without cellular radio (no sim card support).
The use case scenarios in the video demonstrate what kind of applications Impression Pi can enable.
Impression Pi hardware and algorithm provide advanced capabilities including: 1) 3D hand tracking, 2) high-speed head rotation tracking, inside-out position tracking, and 3) Augmented Reality overlay. (And more feature will come in the future via software updates)
In order to make these applications happen. we provide SDK to 3rd party developers, partnership companies will provide applications, and we will also develop some applications in-house.
We at uSens are focusing on making a great, revolutionary VR + AR experience with our new headset, sensors, and algorithms. And we are working closely with content companies to ensure that users will have plenty of advanced apps when Impression Pi is released.
We will provide the Pi SDK to game developers and software enthusiasts so that they can develop cool VR/AR applications.
To borrow a useful analogy, you can think of the Impression Pi like an XBox or a much more powerful Google Cardboard; Pi is the system platform rather than the “content” like an XBox game or a Cardboard VR app.
Some people are concerned if we can release this product by the end of 2015. Rest assured, Impression Pi didn't just happen all of a sudden. As with all serious ventures, the idea behind what you see today with our Kickstarter video and our live demos at GDC and VRLA began since 2013 with our co-founders, Anli He and Dr. Yue Fei, and their goal of making the digital world naturally interactive. Before starting uSens, the core team has been working in the field of computer science, electrical engineering, and physics for over 20 years, at several of the valley’s top tech companies, including Intel. We've been working on putting out the Impression Pi for much longer than the start of the Kickstarter campaign. Unlike employees at a major tech corporation, we’re working night and day to meet each milestones because everyone here is completely committed to the product’s success. We can, and we will, release the Impression Pi by year’s end.
The truth is, most great ideas came from and realized by start-ups, rather than big corporations. Before hitting it big, even Apple and Microsoft were merely great ideas in the minds of their creators. A more current example is perhaps Oculus. Even within major corporations, like Google, typically the cool, new “innovations” are developed by a small group of people. All our core team members started out working for the top tech companies in the Silicon Valley. We understand how these companies conduct their research and development. In essence, when a major tech company releases a “new” product line, many times it was through the result of an acquisition of a small firm or start-up. Silicon Valley is chock full of start-ups and entrepreneurs, which is why it continues to be the driving force behind innovation and creativity. It is uniquely this vibrant, creative force that we are so thrilled to be a part of, which is why we are based in the heart of Silicon Valley, in San Jose, and why we are launching our project on Kickstarter, a great venue for those who seek to support creative ideas and the most cutting-edge innovation.
We are a multidisciplinary team with Computer Vision and Machine Learning researchers, Optics, sensor and EE experts, VR experts, UI and UX designers, Game developers and manufacturing experts. In the past, individually the team members have innovated many award winning products shown in CES, SIGGRAPH..., and have delivered best selling consumer electronics products to hundreds of millions of people's hands.
uSens, Inc. was founded in the Silicon Valley. The core R&D team members have all earned their graduate degrees from prestigious universities in the US, and accumulated their technical expertise while working for major tech companies in the Silicon Valley.
To ensure smooth transition to production phase, recently uSens created branch office in China and hired product design and manufacturing experts.
We are hiring, both in US and China. Please apply if you want to join the Pi team!
We’ve posted an update on Facebook detailing the live demo of Impression Pi at VRLA, along with photos and video of live reactions of people trying out Impression Pi for themselves. As you can see in the live demo video, at present, the 3D gesture technology has hit its mature stage, both on PC and on mobile platforms. The augmented reality overlay is complete as well. Position tracking is about half way there. We're still working to improve its performance. Visit our Facebook page to see photos, a detailed update, and live video from VRLA: https://www.facebook.com/usensus
While we can promise the release of the Impression Pi and all its hardware components by the end of the year as promised, we have identified two potential areas of supporting functions that present a risk of minor delays. We are working tirelessly to ensure that Impression Pi will be able to support iOS and making sure that the Pi’s position tracking accuracy is perfect. But we cannot guarantee (at this moment) that at its initial release, the Impression Pi’s position tracking accuracy is flawless and that it will be able to support iOS.
When it is released, Impression Pi will come with several built-in apps including an intuitive user interface for browsing contents like 3D videos, and VR games. You will be able to use simple hand gestures to play videos, start and close games.
We're forming partnerships with software developers and gaming companies to bring you the best possible VR/AR experience with Impression Pi. There will be lots of new things to expect in 2016.
Support this project
- (55 days)