Today, many companies and institutions hold large relational data sets that are so massive in size and scale that they are nearly impossible to visualize and understand. What if we could explore the data sets by traveling through a magical 3D world where only the imagination sets the limits? What if we could do this with only a few lines of code for any dataset? With sVRf and the Oculus we are closer than ever to achieving this.
What it does
sVRf gives users the ability to surf graphs effortlessly. Using Oculus Rift, sVRf users can navigate through a series of relational data placed in a three-dimensional world. By simply looking in the direction of a video, the user moves through space and sVRf automatically positions the user for an optimal viewing experience.
How we built it
Unity provides ample tools and effects to allow us to craft the perfect 3D world for our purposes. To implement two of our three main goals, virtual presentation and user experience, we needed Unity in order for us to position the screens exactly where we wanted and create custom camera controls to allow users to move through their media seamlessly. For the purpose of HackPrinceton, we have built integration with YouTube and a subset of the entire database. But sVRf can be applied to any graph: visualize your family's genealogy, your movie collection, or your social media connections with sVRf's simple API.
Challenges we ran into
Optimizing camera controls, rendering multiple tiles of information, and arranging them so they're more organized It was a challenge optimizing the "snapping" feature of sVRf which has to recognize user movements and decide which video to zoom in on. Luckily, we were able to overcome that challenge and create a reliable system that handles all kinds of user inputs smoothly.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The major features of sVRf are data acquisition, virtual presentation, and user experience. Within each we had our shining moment of pride. For data acquisition, it was the ability to scrape multiple layers of videos connected by a common theme. For virtual presentation, the crowning achievement was the ability for the program to generate the layers of videos in an interconnected web as it receives them from a source. Finally for user experience, the proudest moment came during the final run through the Oculus Rift, showing the seamless integration of all the navigation components that the user has to explore.
What we learned
A whole lot! From knowing little to nothing about how Oculus Rift works, we used our prior knowledge of C# to explore the possibilities that Unity has for virtual reality. Conversely, in order to obtain the media, we learned how to design a scraper to mine multiple layers of videos based on parameters like keywords and duration.
What's next for sVRf
Our demo showcases the potential sVRf has to change the way we interact with online media Not just limited to the scope of YouTube, sVRf has potential for a number of diverse applications, including sports and social media. Beyond what is seen in the demo, sVRf can visualize multiple streams from sports games or videos off the live feeds from your favorite sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.