The AR/VR 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 a AR/VR demo during staffed hours. The last demo ends 15 minutes before the end of each shift. Come check it out!
The HTC Vive Pro is an upgraded version of the original HTC Vive. It has a much higher resolution screen than the original Vive, matching the Samsung Odyssey. It also has upgraded ergonomics, audio, and stereoscopic front-facing cameras. Our setup is housed in a dedicated 14’ by 14’ space with green screens and flooring, allowing 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.
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.
HoloLens is a Windows Mixed Reality headset, combining augmented reality, virtual reality, and holograms. 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 Oculus Go is a standalone virtual reality headset, meaning it doesn’t require a computer or a smartphone to function. Like other mobile VR headsets, it and its included controller only have three degrees of freedom tracking. Games, apps, and experiences are available through the Oculus Store, including many apps available to the Samsung Gear VR.
The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset that allows for unique VR experiences when combined with Touch, an advanced set of hand controllers that can roughly track the positions of individual fingers. Combined with our three sensor setup, they allow 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 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 virtual reality headset that runs off of a tethered Windows PC, like the Oculus Rift. Along with the HTC Vive Pro, it has the highest resolution screen out of all the VR headsets at The Garage. It runs games and experiences through the Microsoft Store and Steam.
The HTC Vive is a room-scale virtual reality headset that uses hand controllers for interaction. Our setup is housed in the same 14′ by 14′ foot “mixed reality” space as the HTC Vive Pro and includes the Deluxe Audio Strap and the TPCAST wireless adapter for using the Vive untethered from the computer. The Garage has many games, apps, and experiences available through Steam.
Tango is an augmented reality computing platform by Google. The Garage has the Tango Development Kit, an Android tablet with special sensors and cameras to enable unique mobile augmented reality experiences. It is capable of motion tracking, depth sensing, and other computer vision applications.
Daydream is Google’s mobile VR platform. The Garage has two Daydream headsets, which are compatible with our Moto Z smartphones. The comfortable headset includes a small motion controller that allows for immersive mobile VR experiences.
The Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 (DK2) is a virtual reality headset, first released in 2014. The Garage has two DK2s to facilitate development of VR applications. Each DK2 box also includes the Leap Motion wireless hand tracking device with VR mount, which allows for finger tracking in VR applications.
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 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.