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External notification of Real Life Stuff™

hellary
Level 3
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.
31 REPLIES 31

MrMonkeybat
Level 3
Maybe have a wireless intercom on your door so that communicates with your computer so people can contact you while you are in VR, without sneaking in your room and making you jump out of your skin, by patting you non the shoulder while you playing some horror game. Maybe have a connection between your computer and your phone as well instead of having to take off your headphones and find your phone you could answer it in VR with your game auto paused.

oAmadeuso
Level 2
My wife and I were talking about this the other night funny enough...
I suggested putting my phone set to vibrate in my pocket so she can call me when I need to rejoin the real world.

She'll be happy just giving me a slap.

nuB
Level 2
Oculus requires an interface (much like the Steam overlay) for the purpose of receiving/displaying outside stimulus.

It will have to process 3 categories of input:
-Physical real world events, like someone calling your name 9 this can be done via a built in mic, or using an existing mic, tying in a visual processor to let you know someone is in the room with you would also be beneficial, using either the rift camera, or again, an existing one.
-A tie in to your media device [phone text/calls]
-A tie in to whatever other web services you may have

I imagine a button on the unit to enable this overlay. (Single tap for overlay pop up/down, hold for Rift transparency, allowing you to use stereoscopic cameras on the unit facing forward to let you see what's going on without removal of unit)

Possible types of stimulus recorded for a user to see an alert for:
Physical: Lighting change eg. someone turning on a light in the room you are in
Physical: Someone saying your name, using a simple app listening to ambient audio for certain keywords

oAmadeuso
Level 2
"nuB" wrote:
Oculus requires an interface (much like the Steam overlay) for the purpose of receiving/displaying outside stimulus.

It will have to process 3 categories of input:
-Physical real world events, like someone calling your name 9 this can be done via a built in mic, or using an existing mic, tying in a visual processor to let you know someone is in the room with you would also be beneficial, using either the rift camera, or again, an existing one.
-A tie in to your media device [phone text/calls]
-A tie in to whatever other web services you may have

I imagine a button on the unit to enable this overlay. (Single tap for overlay pop up/down, hold for Rift transparency, allowing you to use stereoscopic cameras on the unit facing forward to let you see what's going on without removal of unit)

Possible types of stimulus recorded for a user to see an alert for:
Physical: Lighting change eg. someone turning on a light in the room you are in
Physical: Someone saying your name, using a simple app listening to ambient audio for certain keywords


Wouldn't a slap on the back on the head be easier and cheaper?

*patents slapping on backs of head for notification purposes*

wildone106
Level 2
Yea no thanks

nuB
Level 2
"oAmadeuso" wrote:


Wouldn't a slap on the back on the head be easier and cheaper?

*patents slapping on backs of head for notification purposes*


I expect until we have a notification system in place, a lot of us are going to be scared many times by 'surprise' physical contact. Like full, jump out of your seat, rift-falls-off-face-scared.
After a while, this is going to turn from just being fear to annoyance, and eventually to anger.

Rifters needs a notification system when immersing.

sparkie14
Level 5
Motion sensor on webcam that over rides vr display for webcam view of room would do it. How hard would it be as long as camera was viewing over shoulder. It would be mainly software surely.

fudspong
Level 3
You can already get security software on your PC that hooks up to a webcam and alerts you when motion is detected. You can also mask out areas of the vision where you don't want motion detection to work (ie you at your desk with the rift on). I'm thinking about putting a button on the outside of the rift that brings up a video feed overlay panel in 3D space when pressed, so you can see what triggered the alert without taking the rift off and losing your immersion. Then you can judge whether to take the rift off to deal with burglars, or whether it's just the cat practising ballet and you can go back to your VR hentai.

simonx314
Level 2
Are there any developments on this front? Could/should a notification system be built into the SDK?

I can foresee this being an issue. I don't want to take off my Rift after an hour only to find out that people were urgently trying to call me.

Is a phone on vibrate in your pocket a good enough solution? Seems like it would break immersion to have to continually take off the Rift to check one's phone. When a Rifter is experiencing total immersion and presence, are they more, or less likely, to notice a vibrating phone? And does it cause discomfort?

It would be very convenient to be able to get text messages in-game, that way you could see if it was important or not without having to break immersion.