A goal of the MxR lab is to broadly disseminate its research. While the promise of personalized immersive virtual reality has been on the horizon for more than 20 years, the FOV2GO project has been publishing open source designs for ways to make it low cost and broadly available.
Today, the bold actions of one entrepreneurial former member of the FOV2GO team – Palmer Luckey – is kicking this into high gear via this Kickstarter effort.
Palmer has been working on a number of projects at the MxR Lab, including HMDs for projects at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, including Julie Griffo’s ‘Shayd’ and Nonny DelaPena’s ‘Hunger LA’, Perry Hoberman’s Stereoskopix FOV2GO for Unity, and ICT projects led by Skip Rizzo’s Rehabilitation team. Using lenses from MxR’s low-cost FOV2GO, field of view warping philosophies from Fakespace Lab’s Wide5 design of Ian McDowall, and Eric Howlett’s LEEP, and display tricks all his own, Palmer put together multiple ‘Franken-viewers’: HMDs held together by electrical tape and foamcore.
Palmer had the opportunity to put his personal design – the Oculus Rift – in front of legendary game designer John Carmack, just before the E3 conference. Carmack’s endorsement and his decision to provide his software to incorporate the display into a powerful demo of a new iteration of his famous game DOOM, created quite a stir.
Earlier we posted how Carmack and Palmer’s demo took best at E3 but it looks like the momentum is only just beginning. Palmer has launched a Kickstarter campaign to start selling the Oculus Rift. It’s hard to say where all of this is going to end up but with names like Valve, Epic, Crytek and John Carmack and other high profile game companies and game engines interested in the platform we are expecting the birth of a new generation of Virtual Reality.
We are impressed with Palmer’s gumption to make the Oculus Rift happen and helping to provide a widely disseminated platform. We wish Palmer all the good Luck in the world.