You’ll never walk alone: Avatar-free multi-user VR

The goal is to break the main limitation of current VR systems, which is that they are for single users. The aim is to develop a cheap system where multiple users can collaborate with robots within an immersive virtual simulation environment to prepare for and conduct complex missions (e.g. construction, demolition, emergency response training).
Description of the Project: 

Many training and human+robot collaboration planning activities can benefit from VR. However, current systems do not support multi-user (i.e. two or more people put a headset on see themselves altogether immerse in the VR world without use of avatar). Some solutions for avatar-free multi-user VR have been proposed but are very expensive.

Streamlined integration with semantically-rich engineering models (E.g. BIM in construction) is of interest as well.

The student will develop a new Mixed Reality solution that integrates RGB-D camera with VR headsets, and processes (filter, segments, meshes, textures) the RGB-D content in real-time for seamless integration with the game content displayed within the VR headset. Then, develop a multi-user game that enables users to collectively navigate and interact with virtual environment, including a simulated robot for training and activity planning. Finally, developing new forms of game human+robot interactions that can be achieved through the use of real objects (e.g. standard tools) employed by users (as opposed to specific remote controls). Collaboration with industry partners in construction and gaming is possible.   

Resources required: 
Minor equipment (MS Kinect, VR headset), most of which is already available.
Project number: 
First Supervisor: 
University of Edinburgh
Second Supervisor(s): 
First supervisor university: 
Heriot-Watt University
Essential skills and knowledge: 
2D image processing
Desirable skills and knowledge: 
Game development (e.g. Unity)

[1] Bosché F., Abdel-Wahab M. S., Carozza L. (2016), "Towards a mixed reality system for construction trade training", ASCE Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering, 04015016.