The Next Generation of Virtual Reality is Here
Until now, there hasn’t been a way to truly immerse yourself into virtual worlds in a way that allows natural, full-body interaction. Oculus Rift gave us a window to see them and the Virtuix Omni will let us walk through them, but there’s still one piece missing from the virtual space- You.
With the PrioVR, we’re changing the game by bringing you and your movements into virtual environments where you can see your body move as you move, manipulate items as if they were right in front of you, and interact with the virtual world as naturally as you would with the real world.
We, at YEI, currently offer next-generation inertial sensor solutions that provide real-time tracking, movement, and orientation data for the medical, entertainment, industrial, and military/aerospace industries. We have already developed a similar inertial motion capture system based upon our wireless 3-Space Sensors. The technology is here now, and it works. Now we want to make this technology available to the consumer gaming and simulation markets at an affordable price-point.
We’re Changing the Game
The inertial sensing technology used in the PrioVR offers several advantages over optical systems such as the Microsoft Kinect and active magnetic systems such as the Sixense STEM. By using an array of high-performance inertial sensors along with a centralized, wearable wireless hub architecture, PrioVR will provide 360 degrees of unfettered low-latency real-time motion capture without the need for cameras, optics, line-of-sight, proximity to special base-station devices, or other special environments. The PrioVR system will capture motion data directly from the body at projected end-to-end latencies that exhibit an 8x or better improvement over optical systems such as the Kinect. And unlike the STEM, PrioVR doesn't require proximity to a base-station, supports multiple users in close proximity, and measures the actual pose of the body rather than a calculated inverse kinematics best-guess pose. The PrioVR system will be wireless, easily allow multiple simultaneous users, and will work anywhere - indoors or out. Additionally, the system will exhibit performance characteristics comparable to high-end inertial motion capture systems that cost tens of thousands of dollars, but at a cost that makes VR and motion capture affordable for everyone.
All systems will be expandable and customizable to meet your needs and will include an SDK and API to enable you to integrate PrioVR’s full-body motion capture into your game or project. Major game engines will be supported and will include demonstration projects and open-source code examples.
PrioVR takes games and VR to the next level and finally delivers on the promise of natural-feeling, full-body immersion.
This Kickstarter supports us in making the next generation of VR and motion capture affordable for everyone.
The current prototype uses our existing wireless 3-Space Sensors. The PrioVR will use newly designed sensors that will be much smaller, along with a centralized wearable wireless hub architecture. The PrioVR will be value-engineered to allow mass-production and a price-point that will make it affordable for general and casual audiences. In addition, the final PrioVR will be a hybrid wired system that will be easier to charge and easier to wear with more predictable communication. The final system will be modular and reconfigure-able, thus allowing use for widely varied skeletal-model configurations and end-uses.
PrioVR LZ Developer Kit - 7 sensor nodes, a wearable wired-only hub (which includes an internal sensor node), and all the necessary straps.
PrioVR Lite Developer Kit - 11 sensor nodes, an input node, the wearable wireless hub (which includes an internal sensor node), a wireless base station, and all the necessary straps.
PrioVR Pro Developer Kit - 17 sensor nodes, two input nodes, the wearable wireless hub (which includes an internal sensor node), a wireless base station, and all the necessary straps.
Our system will primarily focus on accurately tracking the pose and movement of the entire body in a virtual reality space, and can be combined with other VR products to provide a completely immersive experience for full integration into video games, simulations, learning games, and other end-use applications that have, thus far, only been dreamed about.
Funds from this Kickstarter will go towards development, parts, and manufacturing for an initial run of PrioVR developer kits.
1. System Overview
The entire PrioVR system consists of several distinct sub-systems that all must function and integrate in order for the entire system to work. The overview of the entire system can be seen in the figure below and each sub-system is described in the following sections:
• Sensor Unit – These units consist of a low-power, high-performance MCU along with a 3-axis gyroscope, 3-axis magnetometer, and a 3-axis accelerometer. This sensor data is calibrated, error-compensated, and fused to produce an accurate 3-axis orientation estimate. The sensors are interconnected to form sensor strands which are each, in turn, connected in a star topology with the Wearable Hub Unit at the center of the star.
• Input Unit – These units consist of a low-power MCU along with accessible buttons and a pin-header interface that allows the connection of additional external inputs such as trigger switches and tactile input buttons. The purpose of these nodes is to allow a flexible, intuitive interaction mechanism.
• Wearable Hub Unit – This unit consists of an internal sensor node along with a USB rechargeable battery, wireless communications module, and high-performance MCU capable of receiving and aggregating multiple sensor data streams from the multiple sensors on each sensor strand. The aggregated data for all sensors is then collected into packets for wireless transmission to the Communication Base Station or, alternately, communication via USB for wired configuration and usage during charging.
• Communication Base Station – This unit consists of a wireless communications module and high-performance USB capable MCU. This unit handles the reliable reception of data packets from one or more Wearable Hub Units and forwards the data to the USB host for use in the desired end application.
2. Sub-system Production Outline
The system production schedule for each sub-system is illustrated in the following diagram.
What people are saying
“People are buzzing about the accomplishments of Yost Engineering, Inc. (YEI), a group that recently revealed its innovative use of Epic’s Unreal Development Kit (UDK) to demonstrate real-time, markerless full-body motion capture as well as head-tracking virtual reality (VR) techniques in richly detailed Unreal Engine 3 (UE3) test environments” - Epic Games
“With a horizontal field of view twice that of the HMZ-T1 (and a vertical field of view even beyond that), the Rift would offer an even more immersive experience when combined with YEI’s setup.” - Road to VR
“People always say, 'Be careful with what you wish for...it might just come true.' Well I'm happy to see that I may just live through the era for VR after all.” - Crige on Reddit
"What's truly impressive about the PrioVR suit is that it seems to have solved the nausea-inducing lag issues that still plague the Oculus Rift itself. If this is true, the entire VR gaming community needs to take a step back and check out how the PrioVR guys are getting the job done." - Dvice
"Yes, it's expensive. And yes, when coupled with the Oculus Rift headset, it's impossible to not look like a total goober. But if the PrioVR actually works as described, it's the beginning of something potentially exciting." - IGN
Get to Know us Better
The PrioVR is developed by a team of gamers, engineers, and programmers who are passionate about virtual reality and excited about the opportunity to develop a product that will allow everybody to experience new worlds in their own homes. Our team has an extensive background in Digital Simulation and Gaming, Computer Science and Engineering, Mathematics, and Plastics Engineering Technology and have products being used in every major market segment including robotics, healthcare, defense, aerospace, industry and entertainment.
Paul Yost, Chief of R&D - Paul has a BS in Computer Engineering and a MS in Computer Science. First teaching at the University of Cincinnati, he then moved to Shawnee State University as a professor in the Computer Engineering department and also served as Director of the Center for Advanced Research and Development. He joined YEI Technology as the Director of Research and Development in 2007. Paul oversees all development, and is the definition of a DaVinci-style renaissance master of anything and everything that needs to be designed or built.
Steve Landers- Steve has a BS in Computer Science and Engineering, and has completed the coursework for his MS in Computer Science with an AI specialization. Steve is responsible for firmware and algorithm development and implementation. He has worked on the development of YEI 3-Space Sensors for over 3 years, and is the author of multiple patents in the area of sensor fusion and filter technology. Steve always wears shorts, no matter how cold it is.
Derek Bradley- Derek has a BS in Video Game and Simulation engineering under the Computer Engineering department at Shawnee State University. Derek is the lead for the microcontroller code, and has worked on YEI 3-Space Sensors for 4 years. Derek walks really slow and eats even slower. He codes really fast, and thinks even faster. Go figure.
Dan Morrison - Dan has a BS in Digital Simulation and Gaming Engineering, and has worked at YEI Technology for over 2 years. Dan focuses on game integration and APIs. He created the motion capture and VR demos for UDK as featured in the Kickstarter project, as well as those featured on YouTube and other media links. Dan plays a lot of video games, does amazing photography, and often sports a bangin’ mohawk.
Chris George - Chris has a BS from Shawnee State University in Game Simulation and Engineering, as well as a degree in Mathematics and Natural Science with a concentration in Physics. Chris has been working on YEI 3-Space projects for over 2 years, and specializes in demos, games, and visualizations. Outside of the office he’ll beat you on the soccer field.
David Rieksts - David is our resident mathematician. He has a BS in Math with minors in Computer Science and Physics from Kutztown University, and a MS in Math from Ohio University. David supports algorithm development and sensor optimization. He is a member of the Polar Bear Club in Barrow, Alaska.
Tricia Landers - Tricia has a BS in computer science from the University of Notre Dame, with a double major in Japanese. She started at YEI Technology just over a month ago and is training to do support for the 3-Space Sensors. Tricia always wears a hoodie, no matter how hot it is.
Jordan Chaney - Jordan is our Manufacturing Engineer, and has a BS in Plastics Engineering. She oversees the entire manufacturing and QA process. She is also an amazing musician and has recently self-produced an album. If you’re lucky, you can catch her at open-mic events in the area.
Richard Janita - Richard is part of our production team, and is completing a degree in Digital Simulation and Gaming. He sometimes uses the laser cutter to engrave questionable pictures on things he shouldn’t. True story.
Risks and challenges
We’ve worked on projects like this for 14 years. We know that setbacks happen. Parts might be backordered, bugs show up in testing, and stuff just doesn’t always work right the first time around.
To help combat this, we’ve put together a comprehensive production plan that clearly identifies milestones, tasks, and responsibilities and allows for ample time for research, testing and refinement.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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