Tired of the boring first-person perspective you see every day? Grab an Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset, two GoPro cameras, an Arduino, a 3D printer, a few odds and ends, and some elbow grease to trade in your boring point of view for something that’s straight out of a video game. A team based in Poland has created a wearable prototype rig that gives you an out-of-body perspective from above.
Mepi is the name of the Poland-based group of 3D technology educators responsible for this whimsical contraption, which basically makes the wearer look like a human version of a Google Street View car. It gives what the team calls a third-person perspective (TPP) augmented experience. In other words, it allows you to see a view of what’s around you from an elevated height.
The apparatus is housed in a backpack and has a neck that springs upward to raise two GoPro cameras, which act as the wearer’s new eyes. An analog joystick allows the wearer to control where the cameras look – right, left, up and down.
On the surface, the results are interesting and humorous: Besides making the wearer look like an easy target for mean-spirited jokes, the view the rig offers is akin to what you’d see when you play games like Grand Theft Auto V or Watch Dogs. But Mepi has high hopes for the real-world significance of this device.
“Our goal is to develop TPP view for use in virtual reality devices and solve real-world problems by using it to help users be more aware of their environment,” according to Barstoz Barlowski, CEO of Mepi. This means giving drivers better views of blind spots while in their cars and giving engineers the ability to navigate to a better view to do their work, for example.
Mepi’s device is entered into Intel’s Make It Wearable competition. Tutorials for assembling this rig are available on TutorialBay, which is run by the same team. See the video below for a look at how it works and how it was made.
This is far from the first time the Oculus Rift is being used to give someone a new view of life: Late last year, the device was used to give a dying grandmother the ability to take one last virtual walk around her yard.