ICT Mixed Reality Lab “Tested” by Norm Chan


Norm Chan, from Adam Savage’s Tested (, recently visited ICT’s Mixed Reality Lab. We talked about our research which helped create low cost virtual reality displays and also described our latest research projects. See the video.

technology soup

We were asked what companies/technologies we are currently using in our work. As we looked around the lab, we made a list but only checked it once. For those that are curious: HTC Vive, Hololens, Oculus Rift, Unity, Kinect, Leap Motion, Intel RealSense, Perception Neuron (motion capture), Phase Space (positional tracking), Z-space (3D – fishtank VR), OpenBCI (brain computer interface), Emotive Eopch+ (brain computer interface), Neuroelectrics StarStem32 (EEG/trans cranial stimulation), Agisoft Photoscan (photogrammetry), Pix40 (photogrammetry), DJI Phantom (quad copter for photogrammetry capture), Faro (lidar plus camera scanner), Tobii Eye-X (eye tracking), Scosche (HR monitor), Crazy Flie (micro UAV), Loco Positioning (RF tracking), Rasberry Pi (avatar capture), Arduino (micro controllers).

And we’ll see what’s up next…

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Ryan Spicer donning some headgear to explore neurological motor control in VR. This project is with Dr. Sook-Lei Lieu who has joint appointments with the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy and the Keck School of Medicine of USC, Department of Neurology.



David Nelson

As part of the “Rosetta Project” MxR Lab and Studio’s effort to study the developing Language of VR and formulate best practices for immersive Mixed Reality content development, I have tried to compose an analog of a film logline for a Virtual Reality Experience (VRE). The intention is to help illustrate the various types of experiences one can have in VR and to communicate the creative intention of the VRE. This effort is mostly sponsored by the Army Research Office, under our Emerging Concepts in Virtual Environments for Training project. The template (below) may require additional development, but it has proven quite useful in communicating the projects we are developing at the MxR Studio with our Summer Crunch student teams.


A participant puts on the HMD Platform and they are transported to Location/Environment, where they are able to Level of Agency/Interaction , which leads them to discover Theme or Objective. The experience ends and the participant experiences an Emotional Impact.


BlueShark copy


Loglines are a tool used to summarize a feature length script in one or two sentences, illustrating the essential elements of the story. A logline can be a story barometer because if one cannot articulate the sum of a script in a succinct sentence or two it may highlight problems with the story from the outset.

Loglines typically contain a few key elements:

  • The main character.
  • The world where the story takes place.
  • The main character’s goal or desire.
  • The obstacle/opposition that prevents the main character from achieving their goal.
  • The stakes (sometimes the theme or emotional hook is stated here as well)


An unrelenting CIA operative must track down the elusive Osama Bin Laden as she risks it all against his fanatical followers and her own bureaucratic agency. (Zero Dark Thirty)

A precocious private high school student whose life revolves around his school competes with its most famous and successful alumnus for the affection of a first grade teacher. (Rushmore)

Three bumbling groomsmen lose their about-to-be-wed buddy during their drunken misadventures, then must retrace their steps in order to find him before the wedding begins. (The Hangover)



A participant puts on the HMD Platform and they are transported to Location/Environment, where they are able to Level of Agency/Interaction , which leads them to discover Theme or Objective. The experience ends and the participant experiences an Emotional Impact.

A user puts on an Oculus Rift and is transported to the bridge of a ship where they are able to use a virtual touchscreen to control the ship and ‘teleport’ to various views around the ship, providing a deeper level of situational awareness than is available in the physical world, leaving the user inspired from getting a glimpse into what a future Naval workplace might be like. (BlueShark, ICT)

A participant puts on an HTC Vive and is transported to a stark open space where they are able to use their hand-controllers as paintbrushes. They find that they can create 3D painting/sculptures in the space around them, discovering their own artistic talent and providing a fantastic and magical experience. (Tilt Brush, Google)

A participant puts on a Samsung Gear VR headset and is transported to the shores of Liberia, where they are able to look around to take in the sights and sounds around them. The voice of a woman narrator is heard in prayer, discussing her experience with a recent outbreak of Ebola, as the participant is brought to witness many scenes of recovery around present day Liberia. The intimate sense of presence evokes a feeling of empathy in the participant, having become privy to one person’s story amidst this global event. (Waves of Grace, Within)

The MxR Lab continues to research and experiment with VR content creation in search of the new grammar that will be used as the building blocks of the developing Language of VR .


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Ball, meet target. Physical meet virtual. Mixed reality at its finest.


Pokemon Go(es) AR

Pokemon Go is all the rage now, with players around the world using their phones to capture virtual monsters in physical spaces. In fact the game passed Twitter and even Google Maps for active user base. AR games are not new, but this is a bit of a perfect storm. Some press articles with quotes from Todd Richmond:

“Pokemon Go Digital Popularity is Also Warping Real Life” – ABC News (AP syndication)

“How Pokemon Go Could Change the Course of Technology” – Market Watch

Lot’s of unintended consequences that are starting to pop up, and another example of disconnect between analog and digital.

Pokemon_Go_screenshot Pokémon_Go_-_screenshot_of_map

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