Some weeks ago, I’ve got to know a crazy demo for Oculus Rift called Eyeballs VR Demo, who lets you detach your eyes inside VR. Being something completely insane, I thought: I have absolutely to try it! And today I’ve finally tried this complete craziness and I can assure you that it has been a very cool experience.
The first place where I got to know this demo has been Twitter, where the author Jack Brookes published this video.
I made a demo allowing you to detach your eyes from your head in VR, so that you can see in multiple directions at the same time. Takes a lot of effort to get your brain to merge the images 👀 pic.twitter.com/oRsrU8K5QT
— Jack Brookes (@jackbrookes) July 14, 2018
As you can see, it got a lot of attention (likes, retweets, and such), because this little app is very original: it lets you enter inside virtual reality and then grab your eyes and move them in the scene. But the cool stuff is that you don’t move them together, you can detach your eyes and move them independently! So you can have your left eye that sees a thing and the right eye that sees another one, with your brain going completely crazy. I had absolutely to try it.
And so I did: I got the app from itch.io, where it is available for free, and launched it in my Rift.
I found myself inside a low poly room: the room structure was made in a rough way (it doesn’t even have the ceiling!) and it was clearly made with Unity (I can recognize the Unity standard shader from a mile). The interior design was very nice, with a low-poly bed and a desk behind me and a mirror with some objects in front of me. The environment was lovely. My avatar, that I could clearly see in the mirror, was composed by a simple pink oval head with two spherical eyes (I was a bit like One Punch Man :D) and two very simple pink hands, that seemed like two nippers. At that point, I had no clear idea about what I had to do: I tried to use the hands to interact with the environment, but I was not able to teleport or grab objects in any way.
After re-watching the above video, I got that I had to use my nippers to grab my eyes. Thanks to the mirror, that is there to help in this operation, I put my hand next to my right eye, used the Oculus Touch index trigger to close the nipper and grab my eye. Immediately I saw the visuals of my right eye going crazy: they were not coherent with my left view anymore! I had taken my eye in my hand, so I started moving and rotating it like crazy. Then I grabbed also the other eye and I started doing exactly the same thing again. After some time doing like that, the virtual sickness was at level 9000, so I thought was a good idea taking a pause. I released both triggers and the eye returned to their place.
The sensation that I tried in this experiment is strange: of course, we are not used to seeing different things with both eyes. For sure this gave me a lot of sickness. I noticed that the sickness was greater when I moved the virtual eyes slowly: if I moved them very fast, the brain just got that there was something messy and was good with it… but with clear visuals that move in an incoherent way, well… I hope you have not just had lunch. I also noticed that the brain is smart enough to get a bit accustomed to this new visualization system and so on the long run, it starts getting a bit used to it and let you understand what is happening on both eyes. Of course there is still a lot of confusion and sickness, but at least things start having a sense.
I tried the experiment of reconstructing a valid eyes’ position in space while holding both eyes in my hands, but I have never been able to find a perfect position-rotation match. I loved the craziness of the idea, of trying something completely new and against all the VR guidelines of this world. And was also cool being able to move the eyes with the hand, to look closer to something you are interested in.
If you want to try this funny experiment, you can get it for free from this itch.io page. It is made for Oculus runtime, so if you have a Vive or WMR headset maybe you have to use Revive to enjoy it. If you suffer a lot from virtual sickness, my advice is to avoid it… otherwise, I really advise you to give it a shot because it is really something unique. Kudos to Jack Brookes for this cool idea 🙂
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