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Valve has some new thoughts on what’s “humanly possible” in SteamVR



The type of Beat Saber levels that require hand movements that were previously considered superhuman by the SteamVR developers.

Over the years, Valve has made dozens of changes to the system software behind SteamVR. Many of them are not inherently interesting if you're not a virtual reality developer. Then there is the latest update, which according to Valve was suggested by a change in the "limits of what we thought was humanly possible for the motion controller".

After examining "tracking data from experts of Beat Saber ", Valve says that he had to increase the theoretical limits for the speed at which a human being can move in VR. In the comments, Valve's developer, Ben Jackson, explains how top-level players Beat Saber are sometimes overwhelming the "internal health checks" that ensure the SteamVR headlight detection system works properly.

"One of these checks refers to how quickly we thought it was physically possible for someone to turn their wrists," Jackson writes. "It turns out that a properly motivated human using a fairly light controller could go faster (3,600 degrees / sec!) Than we thought."

For some contexts, 3,600 degrees per second is the same as turning the hand from the palm to the palm in just 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds). It consists of four flaps of the wing of a hummingbird or less than half a beat of average eyelashes. Apparently such wrist speeds are not only possible but necessary to hit those blocks in some of the more difficult songs by Beat Saber .

The road to VR Ben Lang goes into even more detail on why such a quick wrist gestures could jeopardize the SteamVR tracking algorithm. While SteamVR's external locating stations are able to provide extremely accurate detection for position and angle of handheld controllers, they do so relatively slowly, only about 1

00 times per second.

Among these ticks, an 'internal inertial measurement unit (IMU) provides a faster approximation of rotation and movement in the order of 1,000 times per second. But that fast inertial measurement can be inaccurate and "drift" from the actual position of the controller in the real world.

To smooth out this often requires a prediction algorithm based on where the system expects your hand to go forward. Making sure that the leveling works in a reasonable way, in turn, requires some assumptions based on human kinesiology – hypotheses that have apparently been overturned by higher level players Beat Saber . This is an incredible result and also a reflection of how early we are in our understanding of how virtual reality can and should work at the basic level of the human interface.

Image of property of Beat Saber


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