In 1991, EVL produced its first CAVE® (CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment) prototype, a two screen stereo projection system with single-user tracking and navigation. In late 1991 – early 1992, a 4 screen (3 walls/floor) CAVE® system – now including surround-sound – was completed and premiered at the annual SIGGRAPH Conference. This video provides an overview of the CAVE system/technology and a glimpse of some of the applications being developed at the time which cover a broad range of scientific and academic disciplines.
I’ve gotten a ton of emails hurled at me about the Liquid Image MRG2.2 VR helmet. The gist of most of them is: “Hey, I love the wide field of view and how rugged the MRG2.2 is, but I wish I could upgrade the LCD resolution, and, is there a way to make this HMD stereoscopic?”
It’s time to hurl the challenge back at you. These two videos explain in detail how to tear down an MRG2.2, what each of the components are, how they interconnect, and suggestions for how this puppy could be upgraded. If that’s not enough, head over to the V-Rtifacts store for a FREE download of all the technical info on the Sharp LCD, backlight, and all the MRG2.2 cable and connector pin outs.
There ain’t no doubt that the LCD resolution can be upgraded, but the challenge is to see who can do it the most cost effectively. Stereoscopic viewing? The video suggests some possible approaches, but they’re untried as far as I know.
Typical desktop magnifier, similar to what's used in the MRG2.2
As you might have already guessed, my attorneys from Itchy & Twitchy, Esq. want you to know that disassembling and modifying electronics and power supplies can be dangerous and even life threatening. Don’t mess with this stuff if you don’t know what you’re doing. Thanks to Itchy and Twitchy, you really shouldn’t mess with this stuff, even if you do know what you’re doing. If you zap yourself, it’s not my fault; you were warned. And… don’t rub that thing, you could go blind!
You know the wave has crested when Regis and Kathie Lee make your specialty an early morning featurette. Reeg hams it up beautifully. If it hadn’t been for that 3:30am load in, it might have been perfect. Dave Polinchock provides expert narration. Quick glimpse of an SGI Indigo on the left, and the Virtual Research Flight Helmet atop Mr. Philbin. From March of 1993. PNVA3DJZPHDB
The product slick offers a virtually indestructible carry case. I’m not completely sure why, as the Liquid Image MRG2 helmet shell, constructed of multi-layer fiberglass, was non-virtually (i.e. real-world) indestructible. The MRG2 was actually quite clever, inasmuch as it could be manufactured with about $200 of tools. No fancy injection molds or custom optics. Although monoscopic, it incorporated a 5″ Sharp LCD with a rectangular reading magnifier set inside ordinary rubber welder’s goggles. The MRG2 had a very wide field of view: 84 deg. horizontal.
Although it sometimes felt like one was wearing a TV set, the MRG2 was popular for public-access (i.e. arcades, trade shows, etc…) virtual reality installations. They remain popular whenever one shows up on Ebay.
“Virtual Reality Systems ’93” in the Hyatt above Grand Central Station was the end of the line for this trade show, as it was for the Virtual Research Flight Helmet which was soon to be superseded by lighter and more manufacturable HMDs. In the spirit of these pioneers, here’s a couple of snaps with Myron Kruger spinning away in the Flight Helmet. His mojo must have been pretty good as the gyro and Flight Helmet were worn by Regis Philbin on his morning show the next morning. Video to follow soon…
In early 1993 many friends and associates received this letter:
Distinguished Associate or Friend,
We are pleased to introduce to you the beginning of a new chapter in the progress of virtual reality, in terms of its technology as well as its distribution.
For the first time, a head-mounted display is available packed with features requested by users, and for the first time, a virtual reality accessory is being distributed through a network of qualified developers.