Jo Jørgen Stordal is the VR producer at the Germany-based company PointMedia. He is also the man who – along with three other insane entrepreneurs – thought it would be good fun to use an Oculus DK2 to pilot a tank.
“We are four crazy entrepreneurs that a few days ago realized a daring VR-stunt,” Stordal said via an email to UploadVR. “We let the operator drive a heavy battle tank through live streamed VR.”
“We want to show how powerful VR can be,” Stordal says in the above video. “By letting the driver of this – a tank weighing 44 tons – steer with nothing more than VR goggles.”
In order to accomplish this goal, they mounted a 360-degree camera on the rear of the tank, and placed a high-end PC inside of the beast itself.
The camera in question uses two “extreme fisheye” GoPro cameras – each with 280 degrees of total vision – to create a comprehensive sphere of recordable space that encompasses the entire area surrounding the tank.
The biggest challenge the team would face in attempting this stunt was lag. Anyone who plays games online will tell you that even the tiniest bit of input lag between your controls and your display can completely throw off your gameplay. This problem becomes even more serious when you replace jungling in League of Legends with navigating the trees and boulders of the German outdoors in an honest-to-goodness panzer. It seems that all problems were mitigated, however, and the experiment was pulled off.
Interactive 360 footage of the full drive was posted to Facebook and can be viewed by dragging your mouse around the video below.
The big question one might ask when presented with something such as this tank adventure is: “why?”
For Stordal, the answer to that question centers around VR evangelism. He, and his team, wanted to prove to the world that VR can already accomplish more than what most people give it credit for. In his mind, this demonstration served to further that goal:
“With this project we did prove that with hardware that is just ‘off of the shelf’ …everyone can build and stream live VR for various project[s].”