The virtual Reality enthusiasts at Sixense Entertainment have released a Lightsaber demo video for the company’s STEM motion-tracking system, used in conjunction with the Oculus Rift DK2 headset. It looks fantastic:
The STEM system is a wireless motion-tracking system that is meant to be used in conjunction with VR headsets for maximum immersion. It’s not just a boon to the rapidly growing field of VR games. The STEM system has other applications as well, since it gives the user access to a full range of motion for both hands inside a VR space.
The system comprises packs that are strapped to your head, wrists, and ankles to coordinate your virtual presence with your relative physical stance. There are two controllers that look like wireless flight sticks held in each hand, acting like more finely-tuned Wiimotes or PlayStation Move controllers. The technology is nothing revolutionary, but the Sixense engineers claim to have tuned the system — which isn’t commercially available yet — to unprecedented levels of precision.
The Lightsaber demo above shows off what is possible once latency has been minimized enough to allow responsive 1:1 movements. The accurate simulation of sword fighting has long been a holy grail for VR enthusiasts, since conventional game controls necessarily abstract the process beyond any sort of realistic correspondence.
Author Neal Stephenson attempted to address that dissonance with his 2012 Kickstarter for a motion-controlled sword fighting game, Clang, but that project foundered the following year when the Kickstarter funds ran dry and it became apparent that the first-time developers lacked the chops to fulfill their ambitious plans. Perhaps STEM will be the platform that Stephenson and his Subutai Corporation need in order to realize their dream of bringing realistic sword fighting to the masses.