Kinect and VR make for a potent productivity cocktail

Kit McDonald

French IT consulting firm OCTO Technology has found a way to merge together the power of Microsoft Kinect sensors to the Oculus Rift VR system. The result was the ability to use natural body and hand gestures while maneuvering through virtual reality.

To highlight their achievement, two developers at OCTO technology Muriel Caron and Vincent Guigui worked on a virtual display of the company directory. Through the directory, hundreds of names, faces, interests, skills, and expertise are able to be sorted through for easiest identification. The project was created by using BabylonJS, an open source 3D/VR web framework.

Guigui admitted that mixing together the two peripherals not even intended to work together in the first place caused some complicated challenges.

“We had to devise solutions to properly track user movements using Kinect, feed them into a VR environment created using web technology (everything is running inside the Internet Explorer web browser), then display it inside the Oculus Rift headset. All with a very low latency, to reduce the motion sickness often encountered during VR experiences.”

With the Microsoft Kinect and Oculus Rift working together, Guigui hopes to explore more ways that virtual reality and mixed reality can become intertwined through our current technology. Another project idea included the use of the Microsoft HoloLens.

“Think of an employee having any number of virtual screens floating above her desk, or even following her while she moves from one room to another. Those virtual screens could be any size or shape and have dynamic opacity. OCTO is already working on these future immersive experiences, using mixed-reality devices like HoloLens to break or bridge the boundaries between realities, allowing physical and digital entities to coexist and interact.”

OCTO, and more particularly Guigui, believe that virtual reality will be a major breakthrough for productivity and efficiency of everyday menial tasks.