Google invents VR Controller based on a 'VR Arm Model' Providing Superior Control over the Standard Three Degrees of Freedom
Facebook has Oculus 2 coming out this spring and Microsoft just introduced HoloLens 2 and patents from Apple, Google, Samsung and others illustrate a strong desire to bring their own Mixed Reality and/or VR headsets to market. A new Microsoft patent application published today illustrated another kind of headset is being considered for the future that you could review in our IP report here.
Now that Google will be introducing their high-end streaming game platform called Stadia later this year, their gaming and VR headset patents take on more of an importance to cover.
In today's IP report, we cover Google's invention of a new programing method that provides a new kind of freedom for a VR controller beyond the traditional 3 Degrees of Freedom model to allow users experience more realistic game play.
In some VR systems, a user interacts with any number of virtual objects in a virtual environment using a head-mounted display (HMD) and a hand-held controller. In such VR systems, the user can interact with the objects via the HMD using the hand-held controller. There may be challenges in tracking the hand-held controller using only three degrees of freedom (3DOF) tracking (e.g., orientation tracking) based on yaw, pitch, and roll.
For example, a user may view, via an HMD, a VR environment by tilting and turning their head in various ways. The tracking of a virtual controller, however, within the view of the HMD can be limited because of the limited 3 DOF tracking capability of the VR controller--the physical controller does not track absolute location (e.g., locational tracking) in space.
Controller based on VR ARM Model
The VR Arm model, on the other hand, can take advantage of the orientational tracking of the physical controller to create a location and orientation of the virtual controller that can be viewed within the HMD. Accordingly, in the implementations described in Google's patent filing it is possible to simulate a person holding the controller at a location and orientation in the VR environment.
Further, the virtual controller may be in a VR environment at a location that corresponds to how a user holds and moves the physical controller.
Google's invention provides for improved techniques of tracking a hand-held physical controller in a VR system which can include, for example, defining a segment between an elbow joint (first joint) and a wrist joint (second joint).
Google's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates a perspective view of an example VR Arm model #10 used to represent a user. In this implementation, the user is wearing an HMD #8. Although not shown in FIG. 1, a location of the physical controller #112 can be viewed (e.g., represented) from within the HMD 8 as a virtual controller (not shown) by the user based on the VR arm model 10. The VR arm model 10 is shown in FIG. 1, for discussion purposes, but may not be viewed by the user via the HMD 8. In some implementations, the VR arm model 10 can be referred to as a skeletal model.
Google's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates a perspective view of an example VR arm model used to represent a right side of a user.
For more on Google's invention, read our Patently Mobile IP report here.