Save some cash and print your own personal VR controller for next to nothing.
It’s no secret that virtual reality ain’t cheap. The budding industry is still in its experimental phase which means the technology needed to access VR isn’t going to be easily affordable for some time. So why not bypass all the expensive hardware and build a controller yourself using one of the cheapest materials readily available — paper.
Sounds like a dream, right? Well South Korean developer, Ko Jong-Min, is here to make those fantasies a reality with his deceptively-simple PaperStick interface.
Using smartphone cameras and webcams, select applications are able to track specialized text printed on a sheet of paper, recognizing it as a trackable controller. Simply print out the downloadable image from Paperstick.net on A4 paper in landscape mode, fold the sheet along the provided dotted line and voila!
You now have yourself your very own virtual reality gun, sword, hand, etc. Players just place their thumb on the ‘fixed’ position marked on the image and use their pointer finger to swipe the designated area like a trigger. One of the funnest apps currently compatible for the PaperStick is Poppist VR available on the Google Play Store for free. It’s a neat title that takes advantage of the PaperStick’s trigger, allowing players to fire a gun at various floating balloons for points.
The proof-of-concept is as interesting as it is accessible, but obviously there are some serious limitations. You know, because it’s just a piece of paper… For example, in order for the camera to read the printed typography the sheet must not only stay 8-12 inches away from the camera, but remain as flat as possible to be properly received by the smartphone/computer. Combine this with the fact that any sharp, sudden movement can throw off the cameras tracking ability and you have a considerable loss of in-game immersion.
For its price and convenience however, this is still an exciting technological advancement that could heavily impact virtual reality in the coming years. After all, the ability for consumers to create their own VR peripherals out of household items could drastically increase the accessibility of virtual reality by driving those intimidating hardware prices down.