In just a little over a year, you’ll be able to hide, play, fight and even get lost in The Void. A new cutting-edge virtual reality experience, The Void is a VR theme park including seven 60′ by 60′ gaming pods that can be configured in an almost unlimited variety of ways for for individual or multi-player full-sensorial interaction. That means, you’re not just seeing and hearing a movie through 3-D glasses, you are actually tangibly interacting with objects/surfaces, virtual images and other players as well.
Statement from Ken Bretschneider
Cybersecurity entrepreneur Ken Bretschneider was not satisfied with the virtual reality gaming experiences currently available on the market, so he decided to develop his own VR system.
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“I wanted to jump out of my chair and go run around,” Bretschneider said in explaining his motivations in developing the new system. “I wanted to be in there, but I felt like I was separated from that world just sitting down playing a game. So I often would stand up and then I couldn’t do anything.”
“There isn’t any way to be able to go out and create the full potential of virtual reality in the home market,” Bretschneider noted. “It became really apparent to me that we needed to build a facility where people could come to and not have to worry about hooking up virtual reality, making it work and trying to run around inside their house.”
Details on The Void
Bretschneider has spent $13 million of his own money on the project. He also came to the realization relatively early on that this new VR system was not going to be a “home model”. It was going to have to be good enough to attract people to come to a theme park for a premium immersive experience.
Of note, The Void has to blaze trails and develop its own technology after finding that currently available off the shelf parts weren’t fast enough. For example, the frame rate that could be displayed on the headsets was simply not high enough with commercially available models.
The body-tracking system used in The Void is still a work in progress, and according to Bretschneider, may be the most difficult challenge of the entire project. The computers that run the experience need to constantly know the exact position of a player’s head and hands. If a player suddenly jumps, or sprints down a hallway, the video feed must keep up to maintain the reality of the experience as well as prevent visual discomfort or nausea.
The current body-tracking system in The Void uses sensors with built-in microprocessors to crunch data and speed everything up
Right now a team of close to 30 is working to develop gloves that players will wear during play so they can use their hands in the games.The gloves also contain an array of sensors to keep track of the player’s hands and transmit actions such as shooting a gun, opening a door or carrying a lantern from the real world to the virtual space.
The VR headset uses an innovative a curved screen to expand a player’s field of view. The team is targeting at least 160 degrees of view and hoping to get it up to 180 degrees.