Turning any monitor in to a 3D VR display

Turning any monitor in to a 3D VR display

Summary: After seeing the above video sent to me by Justin James, I only have one thing to say: Give Jonny his PhD!  Johnny Lee is a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University who took a standard Nintendo Wii remote and turned a monitor in to something special.

TOPICS: Hardware

After seeing the above video sent to me by Justin James, I only have one thing to say: Give Jonny his PhD!  Johnny Lee is a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University who took a standard Nintendo Wii remote and turned a monitor in to something special.  You can check out the video above and actually find a sample program here on his website.  You can find Wii Remotes for $40 at places like Amazon.com and you may also need a Bluetooth USB dongle for $10.

This is one of those things that you just have to see to believe, it is that amazing.  Forget those silly looking 3D glasses that mimic stereoscopic vision, this is way better and I want it on all my computers yesterday!

One thing that I'd like to see is a webcam version of this and I'm going to send a note to Mr. Lee.  My Logitech webcam already has software in it that can track bare eyeballs so it removes the need for funky eye glasses with infrared emitters and you can just sit in front of any monitor with a webcam and use it as a 3D portal.  I just salivate at the mere thought of playing any 3D game in front of this thing but I'd love to be able to do it without wearing anything on my face.

If you check out some of Mr. Lee's other projects, he has some pretty cool stuff in there like turning any display in to a multi-touch display.  The man is now my new hero and he is a stud amongst geeks.

Topic: Hardware

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  • Most Cool thing I have seen in awhile

    George this has to be one of the coolest things I have seen in years. It is exciting to think of the possibilities, an the 3d effect was amazing. I can imagine the gaming effects possible with these tecniques. I watched the one with the folding screens, and I have to admit that I was a bit confused by how that was done. Where was the projector at? How was the infrared involved with that one?
    Be Blessed
    • Folding screens? I only looked at the multitouch so far.

      Folding screens? I only looked at the multitouch so far and some of his other projects. They're all very cool but this 3D thing has to be the coolest of all and there's some real marketability in it.

      I agree this is one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time. The idea that the screen should assume the viewer is at a fixed position seems ludicrous after seeing what you can do by tossing out that assumption.
  • Freaky and Far Out

    D T Schmitz
  • Interesting, yes

    PhD worthy, probably not. Many people have had this same idea for the Wii remote. I do give him credit for actually following through with the idea.

    As for the webcam, what is its peripheral range? At what distance does its eye following technology become unusable? What about processing power for the tracking? Accuracy?

    The beauty of using a Wii remote is that the camera in it does not need super detail. It just needs to be able to distinguish the infared points of light. One issue, though, is the same as with the Wii. A greater spacing between the lights may be needed for better accuracy.
    Patrick Jones
    • Webcam is accurate enough for PC usage

      Webcam is accurate enough for close range PC usage, and it's a lot more convenient. The wider spacing from the two infrared LEDs is more accurage but nobody wants to have to wear something on their head if they don't have to.
  • Amazing!

    Thats easily gotta be the best thing I have seen in 3d gfx for a long long time!

  • PhD Now!!

    Oh shyt. This was the coolest thing I have seen in all of the new millennium. Granted, this is just a proof of concept demonstration, but imagine the same, simple, off-the-shelf technology scaled up to an IMAX sized screen. Given the Wii remote sensor and "goggles," this could easily turn the arcade entertainment world on its head.

    I work in Modeling and Simulation. Viewing and/or participating in a SAF (Semi-Automated Forces) via a 3D stealth taking full advantage of this technology implementation would dramatically change how simulations are viewed (literally). I won'Et even go into the training possibilities.

    I fully agree with you George, give Jonny his PhD now!
    • IMAX screen isn't needed, and it only works for one person.

      IMAX screen isn't needed since it only works for one person. You can achieve the same effect using 3 large 42+ inch LCD screens that are slightly pointed inward. You'll have extremely high resolution with extremely wide viewing angles and you won't even need to get off your chair when you're sitting close.

      I can imagine this as a great boxing simulator/trainer where you have to dodge fists with your head with real time reflexes and you can see the fist flying past your face. If you don't dodge it you'll see the fist fill up the entire front screen hitting you dead on.
    • That's not what a PhD is

      Doing something cool is not the requirement for a PhD. In fact, most PhDs are for
      very boring things.

      The defining aspect of a PhD is generally the defense of a dissertation. I see no
      dissertation here.

      And the requirement for the dissertation, at least for the sciences, is generally
      original research. Is reversing a Wii sensor "original research"? It's clever, but I'm not
      sure it's original research. I've seen undergrads do hardware hacks like this, but we
      didn't award them PhDs, for obvious reasons.
      • Don't take it so seriously

      • Theory vs. Here In The Real World

        In theory, you're correct regarding dissertation. However, here in the real world, there's very little "original" research. Virtually all the research done is built atop the research previously done by others.

        As a former professor, and holder of four doctorates, I understand the ideas behind the dissertation process - for the applicant to prove an in depth understanding and knowledge of the subject matter.

        This project, and his many others, absolutely prove his understanding and depth of knowledge in the subject area(s). He didn't produce just another hardware hack. He assembled assorted disparate technologies into a cohesive whole, producing an original outcome and true innovation.
        Dr. John
      • Actually, it IS original

        Not the sensor technology itself, but the concept busts a major paradigm; which is what true inventions do.

        As for the dissertation, depending on how much note taking and preliminary work Lee did, he may very well have enough to create a paper, present it, and the data from his proof of concept work to qualify.

        More importantly, at least for Mr Lee, is that he has world-wide recognition for brilliance and ability which should translate into some very lucrative offers.
      • lighten up

        Really now...JohnnyLee has a great idea. This is just a "blink" of what he would have to do to get his PhD. Appreciate the idea for what it is; a simple but beautiful concept that no one has yet come up with and stop judging him. When he gets his PhD he will have earned it. I'm not sure who "we" is in awarding PhDs...let's leave that to academia. In short (and kindest words I can think of) stop being hyper-critical and get a life.
  • Carnegie Mello University ?

    Shouldn't that read Carnegie Mellon University
    (Pittsburgh PA)? How about a little proof reading?
  • Awesome!

    This cheered me up. I don't own a Wii, but will one day (I can't get off Cod 4 and Team Fortress on my PC :P)

    Great story.
    • You don't need a Wii, just the remote for $40

      You don't need a Wii, just the remote for $40. I suggested to Johnny that he uses just a webcam and track your eyeballs.
      • Webcam would cost more

        But still great for a minor upgrade. Total cost wouldn't be that much more.

        As for your Link, it died. Youtube pulled it. Something about being too popular and not about Brittney Spears or something. Actually I don't know why it is down, but these things happen.
        • Webcam is cheaper than Wiimote and Safety glasses and lights

          Webcam is cheaper than Wiimote and Safety glasses and lights. Much cheaper because you only buy the webcam and nothing to wear on your eyes.
        • Video must have been temporarily down

          it's up now.
  • Webcam - Already suggested?

    Someone suggested using a webcam for the wiimote whiteboard video - he said this:

    "Can you do this with a webcam? - The wii remote contains a 1024x768 camera with built-in hardware for IR blob tracking of upto 4 points at 100Hz. This significantly outperforms any $40 webcam I'm aware of. It'll work with a webcam, just not as well and not as easily."

    ...but I'm sure that using an existing webcam with eye-tracking functionality would be worth it, at least until you get your hands on both a wiimote and a glasses-thingy. :P

    If someone starts scraping together a library that interfaces and merges all this stuff (eye-tracking, IR-tracking, etc.), I think we'll start seeing these apps all over the place...