Vicon Origin Puts Live VR Avatars into VR Worlds in Real Time

Vicon VR

At SIGGRAPH 2018, the new location-based virtual reality (LBVR) system, Vicon Origin, was released, combining scalable tracking abilities with tools designed for simple set-up and operation at a physical site. It targets VR industry applications such as a gaming arcade or experience attraction.  

Origin comprises three new pieces of hardware plus software created specifically for the new system. Vicon's R&D involved work with experience creators themsleves, like Dreamscape Immersive. Dreamscape Immersive creates story-based full-roam VR experiences in which up to six people explore a virtual 3D environment together, while seeing rendered avatars of each other.

It is the consistent, uninterrupted nature of Origin's functionality that makes it especially useful for onsite operations. The software, called auto-healing because it can recognise and repair altered calibrations between capture sessions, is used with continuous, consistent tracking. These factors also help keep training and maintenance to a minimum in order to operate smoothly at all times.

Inside the Origin LBVR environment, a group of participants can appear to each other simultaneously as seprarate characters, each with an animated avatar driven by the software's real-time tracking. Participants wear cluster trackers on their bodies, contributing to an immersive experience by recreating all of their movements in the virtual world. Participants can also interact with others and react to them, based on their movements. Tools and props can be fitted with clusters as well, so that participants can pass items to each other to increase the immersion. All the elements and hardware in the Origin system are described below.

Vicon origin

The system's compact, lightweight tracking camera Viper was made specifically to work with active markers. Once each participant is individually identified with Origin’s cluster tracking devices, described below, Viper can follow all of their movements fast and very accurately within its wide field of view, and adapt to track inside any space that the experience might occupy.

Pulsar is the system's wearable active marker tracking cluster that emits a unique, active infrared LED pattern, and attaches to a participant’s body, limbs and head-mounted displays. Note that instead of a single-point marker cpatured optically by a high-res camera, Pulsar is a cluster of 8 LEDs, sending signals to the Viper camera. It supports scalable, wireless volume tracking through automated and customisable active strobing LED patterns.

The small, lightweight clusters adapt to different situations depending on the space, number of participants and the number of trackers they are wearing. Pulsars can be used to track different types of movement across several individually-identified participants, and connected and synchronised for full-body tracking in most environments, supporting recognisable characters.

Beacon is the device in the Origin system that wirelessly connects the Origin system. Beacon builds a synchronised, wireless RF network connecting to Pulsar clusters or other devices, allowing them to communicate with Viper cameras and supplying direct connectivity.
Beacon is also scalable, designed to emphasise fast throughput and low latency.

Meanwhile, Evoke automated software made for Origin is the element of the system that allows its continuous, consistent tracking, which Vicon calls 'únbreakable', and automatic healing between capture sessions - Evoke can automatically repair the intitial camera calibration with active data to limit manual intervention.

For experience developers, Evoke has an API, direct game engine integration and the ability to run entirely in the background, which means the user can focus on achieving a natural, fluid experience for the participant inside the virtual world.