By themselves, the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift create self-contained, fully digital virtual reality spaces, but the new ZED mini attachment adds an augmented reality twist. It sits on the front of a Rift or a Vive, feeding in a view of the real world that can be mixed with computer graphics. So you might have drones flying around your office space, or a huge virtual television screen that can be fitted to your actual wall, or a game that’s mapped out on the floor in front of you – all the tricks that AR is already doing. The ZED mini device is actually two cameras 65 mm (2.56 inches) apart, designed to mimic the human eyes. They can sense user position and depth, so digital graphics can be programmed to interact with real world objects in a way that looks and feels genuine, complete with realistic lighting. Support for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive controllers is baked in, and thanks to the object tracking the two cameras are capable of, you can even use your hands to bat away laser fire or make selections from a menu floating in front of your face. All of this stereoscopic video and depth information is fed through a USB-C connection into the Vive or Rift, at a 720p resolution running at 60 frames-per-second. That’s not the maximum resolution these headsets are capable of when they’re rendering VR worlds, but if apps don’t need the high FPS rate then the resolution can be upped to the full 2k. Read more here…

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