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Oculus Rift + UAVs = Oculus FPV

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July 29, 2013

A test run of the Oculus Rift FPV

A test run of the Oculus Rift FPV

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Ever since the first developer kits for the Oculus Rift began shipping, a number of creative types have been combining the VR goggles with other devices to form entirely new experiences. While most of these have done a good job of immersing users in virtual environments, the latest project from Intuitive Aerial could provide a unique perspective on the real world. The project, called Oculus Rift FPV, allows a pilot to control a UAV while wearing the VR headset, giving them a 360-degree, bird's-eye view without ever leaving the ground.

Intuitive Aerial, a Swedish company specializing in airborne camera rigs, outfitted one of its own Black Armored Drones with a makeshift wooden rig, carrying a laptop and two cameras arranged side-by-side. The laptop streams footage from the webcams wirelessly to another computer on the ground, which is connected to an Oculus Rift, allowing the wearer to essentially see from the aircraft's viewpoint. The live footage has a latency of 120 ms, which is low enough for a person to effectively control the drone with the goggles on.

Intuitive Aerial outfitted one of its own Black Armored Drones with a makeshift wooden rig...

At the moment, it's a fairly basic system, but the designers plan to streamline the design and add a host of new features. Currently, the connection range between the two computers is 50 - 100 m (164 - 328 ft), but higher-grade equipment could extend this by over ten times as much, according to the developers. In the future, the team also hopes to remove the on-board laptop from the equation entirely in favor of a smaller electronic unit running a customized program, which would reduce the latency even further.

The main aim, however, is to expand the field of view by replacing the current model's webcams with two or more higher-quality cameras, each equipped with a fish-eye lens. Later versions of the Oculus Rift FPV rig will also have an upgraded camera mount to accommodate head tracking, so a pilot can look around freely and have the cameras follow.

Check out the video below to watch the designers take the current Oculus Rift FPV system on a test run.

Source: Intuitive Aerial

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things.   All articles by Jonathan Fincher
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8 Comments

OMG this was the first thing I thought of when I heard about the oculus rift! Great to see people on the case. I'm thinking raspberry pi's and super low latency codecs...

John Hogan
29th July, 2013 @ 07:03 am PDT

Love to see this so that turning your head or tilting it would rotate the drone.

Dave MacLachlan
29th July, 2013 @ 01:55 pm PDT

Not for people with a tendency towards motion sickness.

Slowburn
29th July, 2013 @ 04:36 pm PDT

as I remember the limit to motion sickness is 30-40ms in simulator - add that to the latency of the frame-camera , and you'll see why this isn't a good option . maybe a wiimote could help

Károly Hőss
30th July, 2013 @ 02:43 am PDT

Kickstart this IMMEDIATELY =)

pATREUS
30th July, 2013 @ 12:50 pm PDT

re; Károly Hőss

Some people will have not trouble at all but if you tend to motion sickness I would advise against trying it without being prepared to puke.

Slowburn
30th July, 2013 @ 02:34 pm PDT

Can your two lenses be used to see in 3D?

You could do this with a laser mounted in between the two lenses that would focus the lenses, but I think permanent infinity would work for almost everything with a drone, except for maybe landing.

William Tewelow
30th July, 2013 @ 07:16 pm PDT

Great, just what the neighborhood peeping tom needs, a better view. Keep it off my land, I'll just shoot it down.

kellory
3rd August, 2013 @ 03:40 pm PDT
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