Photogrammetry – The Real Virtal World

bit space photogrammetry experiment

Photogrammetry - The Real Virtal World

Photogrammetry is a very interesting science, it is something that is still growing but it is a technology that is going to revolutionize virtual reality. Imagine taking photos of a room and turning them into a 3D model that can be imported into Unity to walk around in. So if I walked around one of my developers (Landon) and scanned him, I can create a 3D version of him which you can see below.

Scanning The World

The crude scan above was generated using a Project Tango. The Tango tablet makes it quick an easy to scan objects, rooms, people, but it isn’t as high quality as using a dedicated rig. There are a few technologies you might already have to get started with 3D scanning. One of the best is the XBOX Kinect sensor.

Practical Applications

 

How can we use this technology in useful ways? Immediately I look at photogrammetry as something that can be used to create ultra realistic training simulators and educational tools. I scanned the entrance to the North Forge accelerator here in Manitoba where we work.

I wanted to place you inside a space. We could ideally bring this to a video game experience where users explore the actual real life space with hotspots and overlays.  The wheels are spinning now for how we can use this. How can you see this technology helping you?

Reforging Reality – Virtual Reality

Reforging Reality - TEDxWinnipeg 2016

Dan Blair speaking at TedX Winnipeg
CEO Dan Blair talking to the audience at TEDx Winnipeg 2016

On June 2nd, 2016, exactly 1 month before my wedding I gave my first ever TEDx talk. The event was TEDx Winnipeg 2016 and it was awesome. When I was selected to speak I thought to myself “shit”, I am not always the best public speaker, if there are people I know in attendance the quality drops and I lose my cool. I decided to take this opportunity to give overcoming my fear another shot.

My topic was where did virtual reality come from and how is it affecting our local industries. At Bit Space Development we have a focus on building interactive virtual reality applications for education, training, and fun. We are working on plenty of client related projects that bring their ideas to life in VR in one way or another, we also have some awesome projects we are building ourselves. The video is finally up, you can watch my talk here.

You can get the slides and talk on my personal blog.

Virtual Reality

VR has been around for a long time, it is only recently that it has become something worth having at home. I am a firm believer in the fact that VR is just the lazy man’s AR (augmented reality). You are seeing the potential of AR with Pokemon Go right now. AR is a lot trickier, you need to track multiple objects in 3D space, you need to track the user, you need to make sure drifting doesn’t occur. In VR you can just immerse the person, you don’t need to worry as much about the real world.

The first VR helmets were also ridiculous, but that is to be expected. They were amazing at the time and the people who invented them were very smart. the power of the technology comes from the advances recently, and in the open source projects like SteamVR and OSVR.

Using VR Now

A lot of my focus on virtual reality is how you can use it today. Obviously awesome stuff is coming, the technology is going to advance and grow and we’re going to have our minds blown away by AR and VR over the next few years but when a client comes to us and says “What can I do with VR” we always end up taking them back to 2 ways.

  1. Training people in virtual reality is one of the best ways to immerse them in the situation.
  2. Telling your story in virtual reality is a very powerful thing.

It isn’t that hard to imagine what you’re going to do with the technology, it is difficult to understand the limitations and the advantages of the technology.

Training

One of the most important things to do when training somebody, no matter what they are being trained on is to engage them. In VR you lose distractions like the real world but you also are not able to watch what they are actually interacting with. That being said, putting somebody into a potentially dangerous environment but in VR is a lot better than the potential of death or injury in the real world.

Storytelling

In Reforging Reality you are invited to think about the story you would show somebody if you could put them in your eyes. This is the opportunity to do just that. Marketing people directly from your point of view, or raising awareness through a powerful perspective is the goal here. It means a lot more to people when they can experience something, whether it is virtually or not.

What To Watch

Whether you are thinking about a VR project now or just learning about the technology, you should be watching where we are going. Virtual reality is the lazy man’s augmented reality, it is easer to engineer and create. AR is going to be where we head in the future and as the technology shrinks you will see this become more and more common. Check out the success of pokemon go to see the potential here. If you’re thinking about virtual reality we want to hear from you.