(more on “mixed reality”)

I’ve recently been asked by several developers about using the HTC Vive’s front facing camera. Questions such as “How do I implement SteamVR’s Tron view in my own app?” or “How do I use WebCamTexture or Texture2D with Unity and [Vuforia or OpenCV or other solution] ?”

Let’s get a basic working implementation of a front facing camera filter like this black and white comic filter example found in OpenCV for Unity.

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front facing filter fun

You can download the executable here to see the filter in action.

For camera access, there are two approaches with Unity: Texture2D or WebCamTexture .

Texture2D with TrackedCamera

In a previous article I’ve covered the basic use of the front facing camera (also referenced as TrackedCamera) by using the OpenVR API which we mapped to a Texture2D texture in Unity for a heads up display example (and since then the SteamVR Unity plugin also provides a similar example). …


Another use case for mixing up reality

In part one I reviewed how “Mixed Reality” is being used to describe several use cases, one being the use of a green screen for creating a view of the person experiencing VR from within the virtual world.

That use case is supported with the SteamVR plugin for Unity without requiring code but I also provided some workaround code if you’re unable to obtain a third controller (see part one).

Another use case for MR or technically AV (Augmented Virtuality) is the use of the front facing camera on the Vive:

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controllers in front of a live camera view of them

As first introduced at CES earlier this year, when you enable the camera you can see a threshold based contour of what the camera is seeing. The initial demo included placing a real physical chair in your play space so that you would be able to sit down without taking off the headset. …


What is Mixed Reality (MR) ?

There’s been much confusion about and misuse of the term “Mixed Reality” lately. Even the Wikipedia entry for it notes that it needs a complete rewrite. I’d like to contribute some clarity and provide a how-to for some of the use cases.

I used to post the following graphic in my presentations on VR last year. It helped contextualize the discussion about VR/AR with the historically correct taxonomy:

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This is the “Reality-Virtuality Continuum” graphic by Paul Milgram, et. al. created in 1994 (wiki entry)

A specific misuse of “Mixed Reality” is the use of a green screen for VR streaming or promos (see the image below). Technically this could be described better as augmented virtuality (AV). In this use case an external camera and a green screen are used to mix the “Real Reality” view of the player into the virtual world that player is inhabiting. That does sound like a use for “Mixed Reality” except that as shown above the proper definition of MR is a super set of VR and AR and things in between. …

About

Dario Laverde

VR/mobile developer, community leader and sr developer evangelist at htc

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