Kimoyo is named after the kimoyo beads in Black Panther-- they're beads that allow you to start a 3D video call right in the palm of your hand. Hologram communication, or "holoportation" as we put it, is not a new idea in movies. Similar scenes occur in Star Wars and in Kingsman, for example. However, holoportation is certainly an up-and-coming idea in the real world!
What it does
In the completed version of Kimoyo, users will be able to use an HTC Vive to view the avatars of others in a video call, while simultaneously animating their own avatar through inverse kinematics (IK). Currently, Kimoyo has a prototype IK system working, and has a sample avatar and sample environment to experience!
How I built it
Starting this project with only a basic knowledge of Unity and with no other VR experience (I wasn't even sure what HTC Vive was!), I leaned on mentors, friends, and many YouTube tutorials to learn enough about Vive to put together a working model. So far, Kimoyo has been done almost entirely in Unity using SteamVR, VRTK, and MakeHuman assets.
Challenges I ran into
My lack of experience was a limiting factor, and I feel that I had to spend quite a bit of time watching tutorials, debugging, and trying to solve very simple problems. That being said, the resources available saved me a lot of time, and I feel that I was able to learn enough to put together a good project in the time available. The actual planning of the project-- deciding which hardware to use and reasoning through design problems-- was also challenging, but very rewarding as well.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I definitely could not have built Kimoyo alone, and I'm really glad and very thankful that I was able to learn so much from the resources all around me. There have been bugs and issues and problems that seemed absolutely intractable, but I was able to keep going with the help of others around me!
What's next for Kimoyo
The next steps for Kimoyo is to get a complete, working version up. First, we plan to expand the hand inverse kinematics so the full upper body moves naturally. We also plan to add additional camera perspectives and settings, integrate sound, beginning work with a Unity network manager to allow multiple people to join an environment, and of course building and deploying an app. After that? Future steps might include writing interfaces for creation of custom environments (including AR?), and custom avatars, as well as developing a UI involving the Vive controllers-- Kimoyo has so many possibilities!