Keep one foot in the physical world with a mixed-reality Vive setup

When we tell people about room-scale VR with the HTC Vive, it can be tough to explain exactly what that looks like. Put the headset on, and it immediately makes sense as the physical world around you gives way to a virtual one, but on a video it’s just someone swinging their arms. By using a third controller and some creative software work, the HTC team was able to turn a gameplay video into a mixed-reality extravaganza.

On the surface, the process is actually pretty simple. A green screen setup, with the necessary lighting equipment, provides a backdrop that’s easy to cut out of the video. A camera, with a Vive controller on top, records the raw footage, and relates its position back to the system processing the image.

Mixing them back together in real-time takes a significant amount of computing power, not to mention video-editing skills. Green screens aren’t cheap either, and they require lights and plenty of room to ensure proper chroma key recognition. The third Vive controller is also a stumbling block. HTC has said an accessory shop will be opening sometime soon, but until then, you may have to find a friend with a Vive and borrow one of their controllers.

It’s also currently only available in a handful of games. Stationary shooters Jeeboman and Space Pirate Trainer, as well as physics-based puzzler Fantastic Contraption, all have it as a built-in option, with varying degrees of support. Hopefully that list will expand soon, or third-party software will help bridge the gap so users can try it at home.

Until then, you’ll just have to settle for spotting the green screen at conferences like Computex, CES, and E3, or checking out the video above to see mixed reality Space Pirate Trainer in action.

Home Theater

Polk Audio’s Command Bar joins Alexa’s multiroom music party

Polk's Command Bar is a home theater soundbar with Alexa built in. But with a new update, it can also be grouped with Amazon's Echo products and other third-party speakers for a multi-room experience.
Gaming

Bethesda swings banhammer on ‘Fallout 76’ players visiting secret developer room

Bethesda is banning Fallout 76 players who gain access to the online multiplayer game's secret developer room. The hidden location contains plans for everything, including top-tier weapons and unreleased items.
Gaming

These are the coolest virtual and augmented reality gadgets from CES 2019

CES 2019 had plenty of VR and AR gadgets on display, including headsets that completely change how you experience virtual reality, and some that don't even require a PC or a phone to run.
Computing

LG’s Neo Art is a grab-and-go monitor that follows you wherever you go

If you're looking for a portable 27-inch monitor that you can easily grab from your desk and take into another room, then LG might have the perfect product for you at CES 2019 — or at least an exciting concept — with the Neo Art.
Virtual Reality

Getting into VR is spendy. Which headset is truly worth your hard-earned cash?

Virtual reality has finally gone mainstream, but how do you find the best VR headset for you? Check out a few of our favorites, whether you want the best of the best or a budget alternative for your mobile device.
Photography

Forget 8K, the Insta360 Titan records 11K that can still play back on smartphones

The Insta360 Titan is an 11K 360 camera -- and a 10K VR camera -- yet software allows the footage to be played back at full resolution, even on smartphones. The camera also uses the largest sensors in a standalone 360 camera yet.
Computing

Oculus’ Quest is the headset that will make me (and you) a VR believer

Without excessive wires or complicated setup, and a price point that makes sense for tech that just isn't there yet, Oculus' upcoming standalone headset, the Quest, could bring VR mainstream.
Virtual Reality

With 4K resolution, Pico’s latest stand-alone VR headset takes care of business

Pico Interactive, a popular VR headset manufacturer in China, is adding to its G2 line of business-focused VR headsets with the G2 4K, which is capable of rendering visuals in higher resolutions.
Gaming

HTC brings two new headsets, a VR browser, and ‘Netflix for VR’ to CES 2019

HTC Vive made several new announcements to CES 2019, including two new headsets, a new subscription service, and a new user interface that completely transforms how applications are launched.
Photography

Camera records real-life scenes to design virtual worlds using a single device

Creating virtual reality worlds may get a bit easier in 2019 -- the Axis is a camera module that records a 180-degree depth map, allowing designers to reconstruct the scene for virtual or augmented reality.
Gaming

The Vive Pro Eye uses Tobii eye-tracking technology to make VR more lifelike

HTC revealed the Vive Pro Eye with eye-tracking support at its CES 2019 press conference on January 7. We now know that Tobii will be the company responsible for integrating the technology.
Gaming

Dive headfirst into the best experiences available now on the Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift brought back virtual reality and put a modern twist to it. Grab your Touch Controllers, put on your VR headset, and jump into the fun with some of the best Oculus Rift games available now.
Product Review

HTC puts eye-tracking tech in Vive Pro Eye to make next-gen VR hands-free

With the announcement of integrated eye tracking for the Vive Pro Eye, hands-free VR, less demanding high-quality experiences, and intuitive software, are all on the table.
Gaming

The best VR headsets at CES 2019 could bring the technology to the mainstream

While there weren't a ton of new VR headset on display at CES 2019, the ones we saw led us to believe that VR could have a real moment soon, both from a gaming and business standpoint.