Myo Armband and Oculus Rift Combine For Even Better VR
Image courtesy of: Thalmic
Remember The Matrix? Of course, you do—the world of fake reality that was so convincing it was virtually indistinguishable from “real” reality was compelling enough to impress most viewers, and scare many others.
But real-world gaming gets closer to The Matrix every day. A huge step was the creation and release of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Thalmic’s Myo armband—the band that tracks neural signals through the arm to replicate real-world arm motions in-game—was another.
The two of them together? A match made in heaven. At least the two companies’ investors and developers think so.
One of the biggest barriers to a truly immersive game experience with the Oculus Rift headset thus far has been the need for a physical controller. While being able to look around freely, and have the game keep track of where you’re looking, has been a huge step forward, feeling the controller in your hand still presents a tie to the old-school sitting-in-front-of-the-TV feel.
The teaming up of Oculus Rift and Myo may be just what’s needed to cross that barrier. With an Oculus Rift on your head and a Myo on your arm, playing games would more or less resemble taking much the same action as the character on the screen, with the game finely tracking your every movement and building the game environment around you.
Investors in both companies have seen the potential for a new generation of immersive game environments—indeed, one that would make controller gaming a thing of the past—for a long time now. Spark Capital, a firm with stakes in both Oculus Rift and Thalmic, told TechCrunch that they’ve been thinking about developments including both platforms since they invested in those companies. They announced their investments in June of last year, so they’ve been on this for a while, now.
The Myo armband didn’t start out as a gaming-specific technology: Myo pitches the device as an input compatible with all sorts of devices (think ‘22nd-century laser pointer’), but its potential in the world of gaming is so ripe for the plucking that many cash-rich investors are salivating for the opportunity to be among the first in the new field.
When Oculus Rift users run into problems, it’s often perhaps because the environment is too VR for many users. Players see a totally immersive visual environment, and they expect to be able to do more in terms of game functionality than is currently possible. It sets up a disconnect between what you can see and what you can do, and the company has had to try and find ways to bridge that gap; this will amount to making the games as interactive as they look.
Myo, on the other hand, needs to be able to demonstrate to a wider audience how well its system works, on a platform that has a wide enough appeal for enough different kinds of consumers to make the technology viable for different developer markets to want to work with it.
For this reason, the meeting of the minds taking place in the Oculus Rift and Myo development offices may very well be the magic mix that produces a series of systems that blows old-style, controller-based gaming completely out of the water for good.
Get ready to enter the Matrix, in other words, because it’s coming.