It has always been a endeavor for us humans to enhance the way we interact with our environment and each other. This is very noticeable with the technology we surround ourselves with everyday. Especially with the nifty smartphones ever-evolving haptic UI design. We are able to communicate instantly with each other from far distances. We can access an extensive online library for finding services, products and content that suit our interests. I’ll even fetch to say, it’s practically impossible for the modern human to become lost with GPS embedded within the devices we rely on.
This very endeavor is seeing another fruit maturing into reality. That is extended/cross reality(XR). XR refers to techniques, devices and digital media that alters what we visually see in our immediate environment. Allowing either more interactivity with our physical environment or fully transporting us into a alternate world. Many developers and XR enthusiast have realized the significant impact XR will have on our day-to-day lives and have experimented, created and proven the value of XR.
Based in Switzerland and founded in 2018, the Holonautics is one team of expert XR enthusiasts(Roger Küng(Founder/CEO), Dennys Kuhnert(Founder/CTO)), whom “after experiencing state-of-the-art virtual reality for the first time, …[became difficult for them] to focus on anything other than the possibilities this new medium provided.” Their combined expertise in development, game design, haptic UI design, neuro-engineering and digital marketing gives them the edge in XR production that utilizes cognitive neuroscience, biomechanics, computer sciences and engineering.
As XR device manufacturers were releasing different styles of haptic hardware to capture various body movements and features, Dennys Kuhnert decided in January of 2020 to start a experimental project that aimed at tracking the nuances of hand movements, without the need of having a controller in hand. This project came to be known as Hand Physics Lab(HPL) and after 6 months of being released on SideQuest(Oculus Quest XR marketplace) in May of 2020, was downloaded over 100,000 times.
Since the release, many people from different backgrounds have given valuable feedback and praise, helping refine the way HPL tracked hand movements, the nuances of how joints align and move in relation to one another and objects of interaction. And proving XR can enhance the way we interact with our environment. HPL consists of 85 levels of interactive gameplay, with each level rating you on various factors, such as completion time and precision. There is also sandbox mode with 15 different setups, to really have fun and experiment with hand and object interactivity. People are also able to sit, stand, play in dark/light mode and 1st/3rd person view. It’s truly an amazing experience for understanding hand-movement tracking within a XR environment.
But for those of use looking for a bit more intensity in our gameplay, Holonautics has produced a XR game named Humanoid Operated Living Organism Proprioception(H.O.L.O.ception/Holoception). “Holoception is a cartoonish, physics-based action combat game where you control a stick figure that mirrors your head, hand and finger movements.” It is based on a concept, to enable people to experience XR in 3rd person perspective, verses the traditional 1st person view. Likened to having an out-of-body-experience, when it comes to how your brain processes position in relation to its environment. Which is complicated to achieve. But of course the brain adapts and players can experience the game as if they were controlling the main protagonist of an action movie. Even though Holoception was created to be played in 3rd person perspective, players can still switch to 1st person if not quite comfortable or adjusted to the god-like view. Holoception showcases switchable haptic UI within an XR environment.
Understanding the value of knowledge gained by these endeavors, Holonautic’s teamed up with XR Bootcamp, producing a MasterClass for mid/expert-level virtual reality(VR) developers to learn the fundamentals and complexities of building “state of the art extensible Interaction framework for hand tracking including custom interfaces , kinematic and physics-based interactions.” A definite XR bootcamp for XR developers seeking to enhance and refine their XR experiences.
The Holonautics will be the recognized experts establishing the standard for seamless haptic input for immersive experiences. Such expertise is priceless in the advent of extended reality. It is what distinguishes them as XR pioneers. One day, you’ll peer Around Your Screen to find Holonautic a household name. Thank you for reading!