Oculus VR scientist to keynote fall OpenSim conference

Press Release:  OpenSimulator Community Conference Announces Principal Scientist at Oculus VR as Keynote Speaker

July 22, 2014 – The OpenSimulator Community Conference is pleased to announce Dr. Steve LaValle, principal scientist at Oculus VR and professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois, will be a keynote speaker at the second annual OpenSimulator Community Conference, scheduled to take place on November 8-9, 2014.

Steve LaValle

Steve LaValle

Dr. LaValle will address the exciting race to bring the consumer version of the Oculus Rift VR headset into widespread use for games, cinema, therapy, and virtual worlds.

Since Palmer Luckey’s 2012 prototype demonstrated that smartphone-based advances in display and sensing technology can enable a lightweight, high field-of-view virtual reality experience that is affordable by the masses, widespread interest has grown across many industries, research labs, and potential end users of the virtual reality technology.

Dr. LaValle’s talk will highlight ongoing technical challenges, including game development, user interfaces, perceptual psychology, and accurate head tracking.

Chris Collins

Chris Collins

“With all the excitement surrounding the Oculus Rift and other virtual reality technologies, we want the virtual reality community to know that OpenSimulator is a great platform for building the open metaverse,” said conference chair Chris Collins.

The OpenSimulator Community Conference is an annual conference that focuses on the developer and user community surrounding the OpenSimulator software, an open-source platform that supports the creation of collaborative, immersive, distributed and social 3D virtual environments.

Organized as a joint production by AvaCon, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to the growth of the metaverse, and the Overte Foundation, which manages code contributions for the OpenSimulator platform, the virtual conference features two days of presentations, workshops, keynote sessions, and social events across diverse sectors of the OpenSimulator user base.

“OpenSimulator has hundreds of thousands of registered users and a land mass twice the size of Second Life,” said Collins, “It’s the only open source platform with an Oculus Rift ready viewer that already has hundreds of interconnected worlds operating in an emerging metaverse and thousands of worlds run privately by corporations, schools, government agencies, nonprofits, and individuals.”

(Image courtesy AvaCon.)

(Image courtesy AvaCon.)

Dr. LaValle began working with Oculus VR a few days after its successful Kickstarter campaign and has led its R&D efforts up to its $2 billion acquisition by Facebook in March 2014. He developed perceptually tuned head tracking methods based on IMUs and computer vision and has also led a team of perceptual psychologists to provide principled approaches to virtual reality system calibration and the design of comfortable user experiences. He has worked in robotics for over twenty years and is known for his introduction of the Rapidly exploring Random Tree (RRTs) algorithm of motion planning, and is the author of Planning Algorithms.

Registration for the virtual OpenSimulator Community Conference is free and opens on September 15, 2014 and the conference will also be livestreamed through UStream.

For more information please see the conference website at http://conference.opensimulator.org.

About OpenSimulator

>OpenSimulator is an open-source platform that supports the creation of collaborative, immersive, distributed and social 3D virtual environments over the Internet. OpenSimulator software is now the basis for the emerging metaverse of many “grids” or worlds of varying sizes and purposes.  http://opensimulator.org

About AvaCon

AvaCon, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the growth, enhancement, and development of the metaverse, virtual worlds, augmented reality, and 3D immersive and virtual spaces. AvaCon holds conventions and meetings to promote educational and scientific inquiry into these spaces, and to support organized fan activities, including performances, lectures, art, music, machinima, and much more. AvaCon’s primary goal is to connect and support the diverse communities and practitioners involved in co-creating and using virtual worlds, and to educate the public and their constituents about the emerging ecosystem of technologies broadly known as the metaverse.  http://avacon.org

About the Overte Foundation

The Overte Foundation is a non-profit organization that manages contribution agreements for the OpenSimulator project.  In the future, it will also act to promote and support both OpenSimulator and the wider open-source 3D virtual environment ecosystem.  http://www.overte.org/

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  • Mircea Kitsune

    Woah… Oculus Rift developers are taking interest in OpenSim directly? That is really awesome to see, and a big win for OpenSim and open-source in general IMO 🙂

    • Palmer Luckey and I chatted briefly about OpenSim at a conference last fall (before the Facebook buyout) and he knew about OpenSim and thought we were doing great stuff.

      We DO have an Oculus-compatible platform that’s free, easy-to-use — no development skills required — with a ton of free content ready to go. Plus, we have the hypergrid. No other platform has that.

      And we also have the GameFace support announcement: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2014/06/gameface-building-vr-os-will-support-opensim/

      • Mircea Kitsune

        Very nice. Though I don’t think OpenSim needs any changes to become Oculus compatible itself, since this is rendering related and I’d imagine a viewer only issue. So the Oculus Rift should be OpenSim compatible if the OpenSim viewers get Linden’s patch or add their own implementation.

        • By “Oculus compatible” I mean that we ALREADY have a viewer that works with the Oculus Rift — specifically, the CtrlAltStudio viewer.

          But there are some changes that OpenSim should make for better VR support. My top priority – mirrors! After all, you can’t look at yourself in appearance mode if you’re actually inside your avatar. Forcing an out-of-body experience is a really good way to make people nauseous! So you need mirrors to see what you look like! Just like in the real world. 🙂

          • Mircea Kitsune

            Mirror support would indeed be a good addition. I personally support the idea of achieving that by allowing viewers to use realtime reflections for Shiny faces, instead of the current sky cubemap. Water already does that, so existing reflections could too. Performance might be the big issue here sadly.