Picture: Ryo Suzuki
A research team introduces a system reminiscent of the science fiction movie Surrogates – only here, you become the avatar. Sounds crazy? Well, it is.
“ChameleonControl” uses a real person as a surrogate teleoperator. The human proxy is guided through the process using synchronized mixed reality hand gesture navigation. This could be, for example, assembling a device or performing physical therapy on a real person. An interesting concept. But at second glance, a wild design.
VR headset-tablet kit turns you into a surrogate
“ChameleonControl” is a quite crazy construction: You strap a camera to a tablet, the tablet to a Meta Quest 2, and the VR headset to your face. On the tablet, you have a video call with, say, a service technician, whose face appears on the screen.
Everyone in the room sees the technician instead of your face, and you perform the technician’s movements. This works like this: The operator sees what you are doing on his device from a first-person perspective. At the same time, the camera on the tablet captures your view and sends it to the VR headset. Somehow you have to see what you are doing.
Handtracking remote control
To make sure you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, Quest 2 superimposes virtual hands in your field of view that dictate your movements. These are the real-time hand movements of the technician, who in turn is equipped with a LeapMotion hand tracking module.
If that doesn’t make sense, check out the YouTube video above for a closer look at the design. According to the researchers, the system could be used for sign language classes, cooking, physical therapy, or assembling parts, among other things.
Aside from that, the weight of the front-heavy tablet-VR-headset-camera construction is likely to cause a few painful hours of training for the wearer. Not to mention that it might be difficult to stay serious or take the presentation seriously during such a lesson.
It also reminds us of the creepy “reverse-passthrough” VR headset prototypes that project the face or eyes of VR users outward through an external display.
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