Valve Has Now Added a 3D-Correct Camera Passthrough to Index Headset
The passthrough view feature has been in the Valve Index VR headset right from the beginning but now the company has released an experimental update that will make the camera view a lot more realistic through a synthetic image that will more accurately match what the user’s eyes should actually be seeing.
The new camera passthrough mode is known as ‘Room View 3D’ and is geared at delivering a more accurate representation of the user’s environment.
The new mode will leverage the computer vision algorithms that have been developed by Valve, Occipital and Arcturus Industries. The computer vision company Occipital develops sensors and algorithms used in positional tracking and scene geometry scanning. The Arcturus’ technology on the other hand, appears to have been developed by the team working at Occipital.
In order to activate the new mode, users simply have to toggle Room View to 3D via the Camera tab under the SteamVR settings. This will need the SteamVR 1.13 which can only be accessed when a user opts into the SteamVR Beta.
When a user changes the Room View Style to Opaque, they will get the best representation of the capabilities of this technology. However, it will still work well with the stylized modes. The passthrough image that delivers offers the right depth and scale for most objects.
However, you will still notice some visible warping on the objects even when you move your head a little fast. This is the same effect that you would see with the 3D-correct Passthrough+ feature on the Oculus headsets. The experience is not the same, however. Facebook’s Oculus headsets are black and white. Valve’s Index headset, on the other hand, will show the true colors of the room. This represents a significant improvement.
The Valve passthrough tech fails when it comes to close up objects. An UploadVR test saw in distortion of the hands to an extent where they were barely recognizable.
According to Valve, the passthrough functionality is “rapidly evolving” and there will be “more experiments” in the coming months. Valve’s high-resolution cameras have great potential so it will be interesting to watch how the computer vision functionalities of the Index headset evolve.