We noticed that when learning any kind of motion, whether it is dance or martial arts, there are 2 primary modes of learning. The first is mirroring the instructor at the front of the classroom. The second is following the instructor through a more complex form where mirroring is an insufficient method of instruction as you rotate through the form. The problem with learning more complex movement patterns is that as you turn 90, 180, or 270 degrees, it is very difficult to see the instructor and this difficulty impairs the learning process.
What it does
Tai Chi VR surrounds the student of Tai Chi with a customizable number of instructors, from 1 to 8 instructors. The student is able to experience the instruction surrounded by these instructors. The student is also able to pause, speed up, slow down, step forward, and step backwards through the form.
How we built it
We used Unity as the game engine for Tai Chi VR. Modeling and animation of the character was done in Maya. Textures for the platform and sky were created using Photoshop. And audio was created using Fmod.
Challenges we ran into
The iteration cycle was a challenge because it required testing development on a VR backpack. While the VR backpack allowed for a premium untethered experience, it increased the time needed to test features, and certain features that worked well on a laptop, such as IBM Watson voice recognition, didn't perform the same on the VR backpack for unknown reasons. If we had the extra cables and adaptors to use the VR backpack for a tethered experienced, it would increase the speed at which we could test the experience, and still give us the freedom later to switch out the cables for an untethered VR experience.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are very proud of the experience created through the use of animation, sound, textures, and controls. The response of of our guests who tried the experience further validated that VR for learning motion is an approach that could be very valuable.
What we learned
We learned that testing is essential as software will behave slightly differently on different platforms, for reasons that may not be immediately apparent.
What's next for Tai Chi VR
We would love to incorporate gesture recognition of our guest and also introduce gamification, so guests could earn a score and compete with others