Near-Field VR Wins Immersive Realities Contest at SIGGRAPH 2015



The MxR Lab has been hard at work creating a unique immersive experience entitled “Discovering Near-Field VR: Stop Motion with a Touch of Light-Fields and a Dash of Redirection,” which just won the Immersive Realities AR/VR Contest at SIGGRAPH 2015. The contest was held to showcase the best immersive reality applications with live demonstrations in the new VR Village venue.

“Discovering Near-Field VR” combined efforts across disciplines at USC with students from the School of Cinematic Arts and the Viterbi School of Engineering collaborating with researchers at the Institute for Creative Technologies to produce a unique piece that introduces the art of stop motion animation to the field of virtual reality. The goal was to create a surreal experience by developing virtual reality techniques that look unlike traditional game engine graphics and leverage the perceptual affordances of the near-field. Light field rendering and redirected walking techniques were leveraged to create an interactive full-body experience.

The Immersive Realities AR/VR contest had 48 submissions from all over the world. A total of ten pieces were demonstrated at the VR Village, with the contest winner selected between the top three finalists.

This effort brought together the contributions of numerous people across multiple disciplines. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone that made “Discovering Near-Field VR” possible:

USC School of Cinematic Arts and Institute for Creative Technologies:
Mark Bolas

USC School of Cinematic Arts:
Vangelis Lympouridis
Fernando Rabelo
Christine Barron
Catalina Matamoros
Cristina Brous
Alicja Jasina
Yawen Zheng
Wasef El-Kharouf
Anshul Pendse
Lindsey Townley

USC Institute for Creative Technologies:
Thai Phan
Evan Suma
Andrew Jones
Paul Debevec
David M. Krum
Timofey Grechkin
David Nelson
Ryan Spicer
Rhys Yahata

USC Viterbi School of Engineering:
Ashok Kuruvilla
Shravani Chintalapudi
Joy D’Souza
Nathan Iskandar
Ashley Yu-Chih
Jin Zhang
Mahdi Azmandian

Philip Eberhart

Otherworld Interactive:
Mike Murdoch
Robyn Gray
Mitch Thompson

Phasespace Inc.
Tracy McSherry
Kan Anant

We would like to thank the US Army for funding research that made this work possible. Statements and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the United States Government, and no official endorsement should be inferred.

Mark Bolas Introduces “Near-Field VR” in Wired Article

“There is a special place in virtual reality—we call it Near-Field VR,” says Mark Bolas, director for mixed reality research at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies. “It is the place that is within arm’s reach of a user, and it is magical, as it provides the best stereoscopic and motion cues of VR. Hands are very important to enable interaction in this region.” Bolas discusses Near-Field VR and finger tracking in WIRED article

For more of the MxR Lab’s work in Near-Field VR check out:

DIVE-n: ICT Brings VR to Neuroimaging

The Mixed Reality Laboratory (MxR) at USC’s Institute of Creativity Technology is leveraging virtual reality to better view, explore, and comprehend complex data. We are happy to be working with Dr. Tyler Ard, a neuroscientist and new addition to the lab, in developing a functional brain data viewer termed Data Immersive Virtual Explorer: Neurological (DIVEn). With DIVEn both time-series and functional connectivity data can be interactively explored in 3D, allowing the considerable advantage of viewing and comprehending complex results quickly while still preserving data in its natural, ‘raw’ form.


Seoul Institute of the Arts

The ICT Mixed Reality Lab has been conducting an international workshop with the Seoul Institute of the Arts with the main focus of developing new immersive experiences for the inVRse immersive viewer, a low cost virtual reality platform, and training a new generation of immersive designers and developers.

With the guidance of David Krum, Sin-hwa Kang, and Thai Phan, of the Mixed Reality Lab, and SeoulArts professor, Dae Hong Kim, two teams of undergraduate students from SeoulArts began designing immersive applications for the inVRse, a tablet based VR display developed at the ICT.

Three weeks ago, the teams traveled to the United States where they have been hosted by the ICT while completing their immersive applications. Both teams showed off their work during a New Demo Showcase at the Institute last week. The first team produced an application called Travel the Grand Canyon: an immersive jet pack experience at the Grand Canyon and the second team introduced Build a Car: assembling a car in virtual reality. This has been a testament to user-friendliness of the inVRse paradigm, providing an accessible VR framework for artists to now think VR.


Full page photo  Full page photo  CW- Korean  rich w. k

Mark Bolas: Eliciting “First Person Emotion”

Upload VR interviews Mark Bolas on the future of cinematic VR experiences and first person emotions. Mark describes that when immersed in a virtual world we are experiencing it in a first person perspective “And as a result, there is an entire range of emotions that we can give people that are first person emotions.”



Virtual Reality: The Big Picture – Mark Bolas on panel at Sundance

Sunday January 25, 2015

12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

New Frontier Microcinema
573 Main Street, 2nd floor

An all-in-one discussion on everything Virtual Reality. Learn what it takes to create a quality virtual reality production, where the technology is headed and the science behind the experience.

We will take a deep dive into the Virtual Reality companion to “Wild” with acclaimed virtual reality directors Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphael, and SVP of Production for Fox Searchlight, David Greenbaum. Learn about the future of the technology with Oculus VP of Product Nate Mitchell. Moderated by Franklin Leonard, Founder of the Black List