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Virtual Reality headset with sensor for collision detection

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000247326D
Publication Date: 2016-Aug-24
Document File: 4 page(s) / 173K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Motion tracking VR headsets are becoming more prevalent in the home, and more and more they are being used in spaces that were not designed for the purpose - often sharing the space with furniture, objects and people moving around the VR user without that user being aware. Often the spaces are of sub-optimal shapes and dimensions. With the full range of movement tracked by the headset, the VR user can find themselves moving about a space without being aware of it's contents, crouching and standing, moving backwards or forwards and from side to side. This article describes a method of detecting when the VR headset is in danger of colliding at unsafe speeds with objects in the users environment, with a 360 degree realtime view of the headsets surroundings. The warning methods have been chosen such that the natural reaction of the user is to halt movement, as opposed to simply indicating to the user there is an object they may collide with. The operating parameters are adjustable to enable the user to override the warning and detection system for any reason if they wish.

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Virtual Reality headset with sensor for collision detection

VR headsets face a number of user safety issues, including the danger of personal injury or the damage to the device from collisions with the environment. For example, a user may lean into the virtual environment causing a collision between the headset and the physical world.

    A lot of users therefore end up breaking their headsets while playing a virtual reality game.

    This invention proposes embedding multiple ultrasonic sensors and an accelerometer in the VR headset covering 360 degree space.

    The feedback is provided when the sensors are triggered by the user exceeding the configured threshold. That prevents collision or user safety incident, for example:

    1. Unexpected head collision with a physical obstacle (table, wall, etc) as it is not represented in the VR experience.

2. Possible personal injury or even damage to expensive VR headset.

3. Disrupted gameplay or VR experience.

    Multiple ultrasonic/electromagnetic sensors would be mounted on the VR headset to allow the processor to calculate the distances from different objects around the user while taking in a account data from accelerometer. The headset

would react accordingly depending on the speed at which the user is moving his

head and the distance from the nearest objects. There would be two 'states':

    First state is a simple warning for the user when he is close to an object but is moving slowly, at walking pace. The warning would be in a form of a white noise the user could hear coming from the direction of possible impact. The VR screen would also alert the user by fading parts of the display to white (or a colour configured by the user).

The second state is an emergency stop warning and it's triggered, when the

user is approaching an object at jogging or running pace and the proximity to the physical barrier is low. This would result in the headset playing loud white noise and cause the screen to instantly white-out, partially breaking the virtual experience, but preventing a possible destruction of the VR headset/personal injury.

    The headset would also provide an 'override' mode which would allow the user to turn off the proximity detection for x minutes/seconds. Or allow the user to turn off the proximity detection once the proximity sensor stops detecting any objects in the nearby area for x minutes/seconds.

    As mentioned in the previous section, the thresholds would be configurable, adapting to the individual needs of the user, including the proximity and the level of notification in the HMD.

    The user could set the proximity detection threshold to very low and the notifications set to low volume setting if the user is playing a VR game that does not require sudden quick movements and vice versa.

There are two diagrams below representing flow charts of how this would

work with and without an override turned on:

    The diagram below shows roughly how our invention w...