Even in present age when the world is witnessing immense technological breakthroughs, visiting space is not a luxury available to public. Except, it seems, through virtual reality. Earthlight, a tech demo of Australian multimedia company Opaque Multimedia has combined an Oculus Rift headset with Microsoft Kinect 2 motion tracking which lets players explore in first person around the outside of the ISS as it orbits the Earth from their living room.
Moving your hands out in front of you seeing in your headset a space-gloved hand exactly where you’d expect it to be was a difficult target to achieve from a technical standpoint. But Earthlight has made the experience look as real as possible and as you explore you might just see the Earth as it looks from 431 kilometers (268 miles) above.
Project lead Norman Wang says that to keep it running smoothly they had to push both the software and hardware to their limit because even a millisecond delay or minor deviation between your movement and your avatar’s movement can make the experience more horrifying than exhilarating. The real challenge and goal was to demonstrate the power of a Kinect 4 Unreal plugin developed by Opaque Multimedia for use with Microsoft Kinect 2 and Unreal 4 on Windows.
At the 2015 Game Developers Conference this week, Earthlight will be available at the Opaque Multimedia booth.It will soon be followed by a public release as well. Kinect 4 Unreal can be purchased from the Opaque Multimedia website and will also be available from the Unreal Marketplace from March 18.