You all must have heard of the Oculus Rift, the virtual-reality game enhancer headset which offers gamers a full 360 degree view of their gaming panel, with low latency and a peak towards the future. While the Oculus Rift is the head gear, PrioVR is an ambitious project which aims to fully take control of the rest of your body and provide a pioneer gaming suite. Equipped with highly-precision motion sensors, the PrioVR is a body harness that attaches onto several body parts (depending on the version purchased) and translates the user’s moves into gaming-related action.
Although still in a funding phase on KickStarter, the PrioVR has managed to catch the attention of over 300 backers, fulfilling their monetary goal in just two days. With almost a month and a half to go, the team aims to extend their goal and make the gadget even more interesting. Even in this early phase, the design team has successfully created a gaming environment filled with zombies, used to test the virtual reality harness in every imaginable way. From these early results, we’ve noticed that the player can perform almost every type of action inside the actual game. This includes kicking, jumping, rolling, head-kicks, peeking and even more.
What is the PrioVR Suite?
In a few words, PrioVR is a virtual reality suite that aims to bring body motion inside the game. It’s a gadget that allows players to see their body as they move, manipulate objects inside the environment as they were right in front of them and naturally interact with the artificially created world. Tech-wise, the platform uses high-performance inertial sensors to offer low-latency motion tracking without the need of cameras. All the sensors used by ProVR are placed on key body points and successfully capture body motion, which is then translated into inside action, without wires.
The suite is currently available in three versions, Core, Lite and Pro, the main difference between them being the level of motion complexity analyzed by the gadget and the number of sensors. For example, the PrioVR Lite package includes an upper-body suite with 8 sensors only and can be perfectly used by those who love to sit on a couch while gaming. This version can detect arm punches, aiming, shooting, leaning around corners, dodging, ducking, and other types of motion competed only with the upper part of our body (a kick with the head, for example). The more advanced PrioVR Core version includes 12 sensors for full-body tracking, including the leg part.
Last but not least, PrioVR Pro, currently the most advanced package available, is a suite version which increases tracking precision and adds motion-detection support for feet, shoulders and also hips. As described by designers, this may be something purchased by someone who wishes to capture motion gestures professionally and it totals 17 sensors.
All suits come with demo games that allow players to fully take advantage of the package until a seasoned game-design company picks the initiative and includes the gadget in their compatibility label. Speaking of which, game companies interested in such a project will receive the free support of the PrioVR team in their endeavors, at least for the start.
As for price, you can still catch the early birds at KickStarter, but those who are reading this article a bit too late can purchase a PrioVR Lite version for $279, a Core package for $349 and the Pro suite for $400. All money juiced from sales will go into several developing sessions, in order to make the costume even more powerful.
Is there a future for PrioVR?
It’s still early to pass a judgement, but we see great potential in the project, and in any other project related to virtual reality. In the demonstration video sampled above from the source, you can see the suite paired with an Oculus Rift, which we also agree that it would be the perfect set-up to run a game on. Unfortunately, while the suite is awesome for the end customer, it may prove to be quite a pain to integrate with current console games or even desktop titles. While the last case would mean big amounts of work from the developer-end, integrating such a device with a console would be really awesome, but companies like Sony and Microsoft tend to create their own version when it comes to virtual reality. We don’t see Microsoft abandoning their Kinect sensor for this, but the concept may be adopted in the future. In case it sells big.