VR is all about immersion. Everything we talk about - better input, noise-cancelling or in-ear headphones etc - is designed to take us out of the real world and plonk us into the virtual world. That's great and I can't wait to try it out. However, one thought I have is that maybe there should be a way to notify you in the virtual world that real life stuff is going on.
It's very early days for the stuff I'm working on (still feeling my way around 3D engines instead of non visualised simulations in Fortran) but one feature I'd really like to implement is just such a system. However, maybe it could be integrated into the SDK so that everyone's games and apps can make use of it.
The idea is simple. Have your microphone on your computer (or Rift itself) picking up ambient noise. If the noise is above a certain level then display an icon in-game. Obviously you could disable this and might want to be able to tune it to pick up certain frequencies only. The SDK could maybe have functionality built in that just notifies you in-game if it's passed a signal of some sorts from an external source so you could maybe buy a usb or wireless vibration or sound detector and use that in game. A lot of deaf people or hard of hearing people use similar devices that light up so I imagine something like that - e.g. front door bells and phones that light up.
This all comes down to me wanting to immerse myself in VR as much as possible but I don't want to miss the door if someone rings the doorbell and I have in-ear noise isolating headphones in.
Edit: A non-software solution might be to get a wireless doorbell extender and modify it so that instead of driving a bell, it drives a small vibrator motor that you could strap to your chair or arm or whatever. That'd probably be pretty cheap and easy to hack together.
I'm glad this thread got resurrected! I'd really love for some kind of open notifications system that we could hack anything into. It's just the simple stuff like doorbells, mobile phones and baby monitors.
Give us an open notification system and someone will be able to throw together some software that just sends a notification if a sound louder than a specified decibel reading is sent through a microphone. We could then put anything we want to keep an eye on close to the mic or get a Bluetooth mic to place where we want.