You, and a pet of your choice, may be able to explore the exciting virtual reality worlds of the near future together. If you’ve been concerned faithful Spot the dog (or Whiskers the cat, for that matter) may be left in the boring old real world while you go off on incredible virtual adventures, the technology is being worked on so they could be right there at your side.
Development team StressLevelZero have come up with a way to zap your pet into the virtual space, so not only will it be part of your VR experience, but also visually fit in with whatever game you’re playing.
Using a developer edition of the HTC Vive, StressLevelZero’s dog Bandit was given his own controller, which was in turn attached to his collar. “He’s not a fan of the controller setup,” says one of the team members, adding “someone needs to make it smaller.” Bandit takes a while to adjust to the extra weight, and looks to our eyes like a dog with a hefty collar; but in the VR world, he’s something very different.
To the developer wearing the Vive VR headset, Bandit’s no longer a cute, fluffy pooch. He’s a scaly, armored, big-mouthed worm-thing; and it replicates everything Bandit does in the real world. He shakes himself, he enjoys a scratch behind the ear, plays with toys, and eats special dog (worm?) treats right from your hand. Of course, Bandit can’t see what’s going on — all he knows is his collar’s heavier than usual.
According to the team, the idea behind giving Bandit a VR presence is so the VR headset wearer doesn’t accidentally step on, or trip over him. The HTC Vive is designed to make use of the space around you, and inquisitive pets may end up causing disaster.
If you want an HTC Vive for yourself, it’s expected to be out early next year, but at this time a handy pet-sized controller hasn’t been announced.