Virtual reality still has a few practical problems to work through, such as what to do about pets that get in the way while you're violently flailing like an upturned beetle.
It's especially problematic for the HTC Vive and its room scale technology, which lets you walk around a small space.
Ray Marcilla, a driver developer at Microsoft, has taken a step toward solving the problem using an old Kinect sensor and an app.
It's not a polished solution, but Marcilla promises that it should work as an effective warning should any pets enter the room when you're using the Vive
Using the Kinect v1 sensor, Cat Detector scans for large "contiguous blobs", and emits a loud warning sound when it detects more than one (one of them being you, obviously) in the room. It will continue to alert you until one of the blobs disappears.
Marcilla explains how you set it up: "Make sure it has a clear view of any possible places a cat would enter the space, and immediately pause the game and look around if a warning sound plays, since cats tend to quickly slip into your shadow/out of sight."
However, its creator warns users that the app doesn't 100% guarantee the safety of pets, and reminds us that this is certainly not an official app to be affiliated with Microsoft.
"Please don't use this as your main protection against stepping on cats/punching loved ones in the face! I cobbled this app together in a few hours of my space time and have only tested it for a few hours total."
Using the front-facing camera, the HTC Vive already lets you place a real-world overlay on top of the virtual world, negating the need to remove the headset when you want to do something as basic as sitting in a chair. However the device itself is unable to automatically alert you to the presence of any animals entering the room.
You can download Marcilla's app, and its source code, here. It also requires the Kinect v1 SDK to work.
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