The AR / VR / Media Lab
The Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Lab contains some of the most cutting-edge head-mounted displays available today. Residents of The Garage have access to the technology for the development of VR and AR software, and the Lab also functions as a photography and videography studio. All students, faculty, and staff of Northwestern are welcome to visit for an AR/VR demo during staffed hours. The last demo ends 15 minutes before the end of each shift. Come check it out!
The Oculus Quest is a standalone VR headset that offers full positional tracking, including for its two hand controllers, without the need for a PC. Since it doesn’t rely on a tethered computer or external sensors, it offers the largest tracking space out of any headset at The Garage, enabled by inside-out tracking. It also offers the same high-quality resolution and optics as the other latest VR headsets at The Garage. It can play many of the latest VR games through the Oculus Store.
The Oculus Go is a lightweight, standalone VR headset, meaning it doesn’t require a computer or a smartphone to function. It is primarily designed for media consumption, as it and its controller only offer rotational tracking. Games, apps, and experiences are available through the Oculus Store, including many apps available to the Samsung Gear VR.
The Rift S is the latest Oculus headset for PCs. Its largest improvement is inside-out tracking, so it no longer requires external sensors. It also offers an improved display, optics, and ergonomics over the original Rift. The Garage has many exclusive games, apps, and experiences through Oculus Home and Steam.
The Oculus Rift is a VR headset that includes an ergonomic set of hand controllers that can roughly track the positions of individual fingers. Combined with our three sensor setup, the Rift allows for room-scale experiences in an approximately 9’ by 9’ space. The Garage has many exclusive games, apps, and experiences through Oculus Home and Steam.
The Valve Index is an advanced VR headset for use with SteamVR. It has an improved display, including a larger field of view and faster refresh rate than any other headset at The Garage, and improved optics, ergonomics, and audio. It also includes the Valve Index Controllers, which offer full hand tracking and a unique design that can be secured to the hands, enabling new VR interactions that don’t require a constant grip.
The Magic Leap One is a standalone mixed reality headset that displays holograms on a transparent display. It offers several unique features compared to HoloLens, including a larger field of view, two visual focus planes, eye tracking, and a positionally tracked controller. Like the HoloLens, it can map its environment, allowing for the interaction of real-world and virtual objects. Experiences are available through Magic Leap’s Lumin OS.
The HTC Vive Pro is an upgraded version of the original HTC Vive, with a higher resolution screen and improved ergonomics. Our setup includes the Vive Wireless Adapter for untethered use, and it’s housed in a dedicated 14’ by 14’ space with green screens and flooring. This space allows for “mixed reality” recordings that place a person’s image into the game they’re playing. The Garage has many games, apps, and experiences available through Steam.
HoloLens is a Windows Mixed Reality headset that can map its environment to allow for realistic interaction of holograms with the real world. It is a completely wireless and self-contained computer headset that runs Windows 10. It displays holograms on a transparent display and is controlled through voice and hand gestures. We have many holographic apps developed specifically for HoloLens available through the Microsoft Store.
The Samsung Odyssey is a Windows Mixed Reality headset. Like the HoloLens, it uses inside-out tracking, so no external accessories are needed to positionally track the headset and hand controllers. However, it is a VR headset that runs off of a tethered PC, like the Oculus Rift. It runs games and experiences through the Microsoft Store and Steam.
The HTC Vive Trackers are small pucks that can be positionally tracked in VR like the HTC Vive headset or hand controllers. The Garage has three Vive Trackers for VR games, development, and other novel uses. For example, when attached to the feet and torso and used with the Vive headset and controllers, they allow for full-body motion capture, which is useful for VR and non-VR applications.
The Lightform LF1 Kit uses computer vision and custom software to allow for easy projection mapping projects. It contains the LF1 vision hardware, an Epson projector, and a tripod. Through the Lightform Creator software, you can scan an environment and design projected AR visuals that interact with the depth, colors, and shapes of the scanned space.
The Garage has two second-generation Microsoft Kinects and Windows adapters, allowing for their use with PCs. The Kinect is a great device for experimenting with body tracking, hand tracking, and computer vision applications.
The THETA V features two 12MP sensors and a twin-lens optical system that captures two wide-angle images and automatically stitches them into one complete spherical image.
The VR/AR Lab has a photography and videography setup complete with a green screen and flooring, adjustable lights, and recording equipment. This includes the Canon XA10 camcorder, Rode shotgun mic, 360fly 4K camera, Manfrotto tripod, and more.
Our podcasting kit has all the professional equipment needed for high-quality podcast recording. It includes the RØDECaster Pro, an all-in-one setup with four microphone channels, programmable soundboard, SD recording, and Bluetooth connection for making calls with your phone. Four microphones and headphones complete the kit, housed in a portable case.
Our miniature podcasting kit contains the Zoom H6 portable recorder, two swappable microphones, and a convenient case for taking the kit on-the-go.
Everything you need to record a simple video with your phone. Kit includes a tripod mount, microphone, LED light.
Our 1993 Mortal Kombat II arcade cabinet was rescued in nonworking condition from a dumpster, fully restored at The Garage, and retrofitted to play hundreds of classic arcade games in addition to Mortal Kombat II.