Virtual reality (VR) is the next frontier in the smartphone world. Every major tech firm (besides Apple) has released a virtual reality headset and software to match. And they are all fun to strap on the head and fight aliens from your living room. The problem is that, while you are in your little fake world saving the planet, the actual world we live in ceases to exist. You won’t see grandma bringing you cookies or your cat trying to snuggle into a corner for some sleep.
Katie Goode, a game developer by profession, has found a way to do away with that annoying issue. Using a VR Tracker from HTC, she created a jacket for her cat that allows her to see it whenever the cat comes into her presence. She simply took the VR Tracker and stitched it on the cat’s jacket and she was good to go. Combined with the HTC Vive VR headset, the tracker allows her to be aware of her cat’s presence in the room. While this is just a simple hack, it has a big potential when it is ported over to other uses in the home or workplace.
How it works
The VR headset and the VR Tracker are linked together to allow one see outside of the headset. When the headset is strapped to the head, everything outside of it is blocked out to immerse the wearer into a new world. A virtual one. You get to choose what to see in this new world such as a game or other world. Even the sound you listen to is from that virtual world of yours.
The actual world, however, is blocked out totally. To remedy this problem, HTC has released VR Trackers that can be attached to the object one desires to take with them to the virtual world. If one wants to take note of their mug, for example, they simply place the VR Tracker on it. In the case of Goode, her choice of using the VR Tracker to take note of the cat is an out of the box thinking that probably HTC or other company never thought of. After her hack, it has been apparent that the potential of VR Trackers is a big one.
One imagines having the tracker on any object they want to be careful with. The flower vase, the collection of Avengers figurines and other items we hold dear can all be added to this list. For Goode, it is her cat that could be easily sat on. For another person, it could be their dog or parakeet or lizard (yes, some people keep those). It can also be a good reminder of an activity. Say you planned that you’ll dust the cat once it wakes up from the next room. While you’ll be busy fighting zombies on your VR headset, the little fellow will stroll into the room and you’ll be notified of it.