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Linux Compatibility With VR Goggles? 170

Posted by kdawson
from the sees-things-we-don't dept.
WorldWarCheese writes "Many's the time I wish I had a little more mobility or comfort with my computer. Laptops are OK, but anyone interested can see right onto my screen; and a laptop doesn't quite have that 'cool' factor that VR goggles / headsets do. The problem is, whenever I've looked at the options, Linux compatibility is not mentioned. Is there a VR headset out there that is compatible with Ubuntu? If not, what could I do to make it compatible, and how feasible would that be?"
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Linux Compatibility With VR Goggles?

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  • Re:VR goggles, eh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:09AM (#26172723) Homepage

    Congratulations, your half-way to becoming the newest member of the Borg collective! Just need a machine suit and a bunch of implants, and the transition to your new life is complete.

    Kevin Warwick [wikipedia.org] has him beat. I'm surprised he didn't immediately pop up in a first post. He's a well-known figure in nerd subculture. If you haven't heard about his odd lifestyle choices yet, his autobiography I, Cyborg [amazon.com] does much to explain his thinking.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:21AM (#26172883)

    There are, now that small LCDs have gotten cheap, numerous "display glasses" type products that toss an LCD in front of each eye and have some sort of video input(generally VGA or composite, sometimes both or other). Basic VGA-in display glasses should work exactly like any other monitor on virtually anything. No guarantee that the EDID isn't complete nonsense; but it should basically work.

    If you get rid of the cool factor as a prerequisite, I'm sure a bored programmer could take a cheap webcam (or two) and mount them to those tiny VGA display glasses. With enough CPU power and some clever code, you could have a pretty cool Augmented Reality [wikipedia.org] system. Now that I think about it, I bet there are already augmented reality Linux projects out there on the 'tubes

  • Eyetap... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GenP (686381) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:27AM (#26172969)
    Keep bugging Steve [wikipedia.org] to release the Eyetap [wikipedia.org]. AR is way cooler than VR!
  • by mikael_j (106439) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:45AM (#26173195)

    I was actually messing around with that idea for a while, unfortunately I was hindered from putting my plans into practice due to the cost of good VR headsets. What I was going for was a setup with three or four small webcams, two regular ones and one or two modified to act as IR cameras, a few IR LEDs to provide illumination when needed and then trying to integrate the whole thing with various pieces of hardware and software. One idea that didn't seem too hard to get working was maps + GPS displayed in 3D, sort of a poor man's Google Earth strapped to your head.

    /Mikael

  • Re:VR Lab (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eponymous Bastard (1143615) on Friday December 19, 2008 @11:57AM (#26173319)

    Since you seem to be knowledgeable about the subject:

    Do you know of any VR Goggle with a wide field of view? Everything I see has at most 40 degrees field of view, which would be like looking through a tunnel. I can get a wider field of view by standing near my monitor (Which I do).

    For things to be inmersive I would want the display to include my peripheral vision, even if only with very low resolution on the sides. I don't want to feel like I'm wearing swimming goggles.

    My personal use for it (together with head/eye tracking) would be to write a window manager where I can hang windows all around me, and where I can switch windows by looking at them. Compiz already renders to the screen with OpenGL from intermediate buffers, extending it to a wider canvas shouldn't be that hard. It's basically being inside the spinning cube (or ring, really). But the low resolution, tunnel vision and now your comfort argument make it an unattractive proposition.

  • Re:no freaking way (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blincoln (592401) on Friday December 19, 2008 @12:40PM (#26173843) Homepage Journal

    It may be cute in the movies, but there are no options for head mounted displays that will do what you want to do, essentially live in the visor.

    Agreed. VR systems have a lot of challenges to address, but the biggest one IMO is the visual part. You've tried out a much broader range of HMDs than I have, but our experiences are very similar.

    I was disappointed enough that I've more or less discounted that type of interface until someone comes up with a high-resolution direct feed into the optic nerve or the brain itself. As someone who grew up reading cyberpunk fiction, I cannot stress enough how great that disappointment was.

    Outside of true VR, the Cave approach seems like the best one to me, but that won't address the question in TFS because it's not portable or private.

  • by smoker2 (750216) on Friday December 19, 2008 @12:59PM (#26174097) Homepage Journal
    The point might be that you can use the goggles to project a running linux system. Yes it would be silly if you are sitting at a desk, but a decent wearable computer with goggles could be quite nice. Eye tracking for HID and what else do you need ?
    Network the thing and crowds could be linked together, etc, etc.
  • Re:VR goggles, eh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JWSmythe (446288) * <jwsmythe@jwsm[ ]e.com ['yth' in gap]> on Friday December 19, 2008 @01:16PM (#26174257) Homepage Journal

        He was talking about 3d glasses, if I recall correctly.

        But, for a while I used a pair of Sony Glasstron (PLM-A35) glasses. I had gone out to a worksite that was "suppose" to have a crash cart. They didn't. So I'm sitting there with a dozen servers, no monitor or keyboard, and no way to set the IP's when they finally do provide them.

        We went shopping, and found this crappy little store that had the glasses for like $200, or a 14" LCD screen for $400. This was a while ago. Since we were out of town, "what will fit in my luggage" was actually a big concern.

        It didn't have VGA inputs, so I got a VGA to RCA adapter, and started working. People at the datacenter got a kick out of it. I was sitting on the floor, keyboard in my lap, apparently staring off into space. :) The best part was, it fit nicely in my laptop bag.

        The extra cabling I had to tote around was a little annoying, but I could do an overnight trip with just my laptop bag and not have to check any luggage. This was pre-911. Since then, I have to check a bag just to bring a screwdriver. {sigh}

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