Nimble VR's Nimble Sense Technology Adds Control to VR

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Steve Anderson
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Nimble VR's Nimble Sense Technology Adds Control to VR

Just yesterday, we got a look at a breed of virtual reality (VR) that you could touch—well, after a fashion, anyway—with the hopefully upcoming Dexmo device from Chinese firm Dexta Robotics. But that was scarcely the only one in the market who was set to offer some better control options for VR, and now Nimble VR is looking to enter the fray with its Nimble Sense system.

Much like Dexta Robotics, Nimble VR is looking to Kickstarter to draw in the funding necessary to get the system off the ground, and the campaign is well on its way, having raised over $10,000 so far. Backers are funding what amounts to a depth-sensing camera. Said camera has a range of between 10 and 70 centimeters—around 3.93 to 27.56 inches for those who favor the imperial—and a capture rate of 45hz with an exposure time of 4 x 1ms. It's got a 110 degree field of view, which means that most of what goes on in front of it should be easily picked up on.

Already several applications for the Nimble Sense are underway, with games like Ethereon working on puzzles requiring “ intricate level of interaction”, as noted by its developer Tony Davidson, and Spectre, which allows a user to forcibly remove the souls of his or her prey with his or her hands thanks to the Nimble Sense interface.

It's a clever enough idea; certainly VR needs a proper control scheme to get much of anywhere and, indeed, most people's first thought is to turn to their hands, a development that's perfectly natural though not all that useful when it comes to VR. But with something like this, users can go with that first instinct, and that improves both the accessibility and the immersiveness level of the whole affair, a combination that might well win a few new players that weren't there previously.

Of course, there's a risk here as well. Take the Oculus Rift, the Nimble Sense or similar device, and then throw in a treadmill like the Virtuix Omni and you've got two things. One, you've got an extremely immersive experience that combines most of the available tools out there to cover the waterfront when it comes to the sensorium. But two, you've also got an extremely expensive proposition that likely won't be available for all that many people. Having multiple peripherals required to have the experience is going to be a huge drain on pocketbooks, and a lot of users may choose to stay out of the picture altogether rather than jump in at what they might regard as inflated prices, particularly if the hardware has to be updated every few years in much the same way consoles are these days.

Only time will tell just how well this all works out in the end, of course, but it's not out of line to suggest that the Nimble Sense may ultimately prove the straw that broke the camel's back, even if having one on hand would be quite the thrill in the end.

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