U.S. Patent No. 11,045,725: Controller visualization in virtual and augmented reality environments
Issued June 29, 2021, to Valve Corp.
Filed/Priority to May 14, 2019
Hey, where’d my controller go? A common question when playing VR.
U.S. Patent No. 11,045,725 (the ‘725 patent) relates to a virtual representation of a controller in a virtual/augmented reality environment. The ‘725 patent details an optical tracking system with optical sensors, and the tracking system determines the location and orientation of a moveable tracked object (likely the controller) based on the determined angular location of one or more of the sensors, causing a display to present a virtual representation of the movable tracked object in the virtual environment. The optical tracking system receives context information relating to the virtual environment in which the movable tracked object is used, causing the system to alter the virtual representation of the object based on the received context information. The ‘725 patent also could allow notifications received from an external device to cause alterations to the virtual representation of the object based on the received notification, such as a phone call or a notification someone is at the user’s door. The ‘725 patent could allow tracking of a controller, as well as varied representations of holdable controller objects in VR and AR, without requiring a differently shaped controller.
Controller visualization systems and methods for use in virtual/augmented reality environments such as walk-around virtual reality environments are described. The virtual representation of a physical control device may be altered based on the context of the virtual environment. Certain embodiments combine the virtual rendering of the tracked control device with a real-time video representation of part of the operating space. In certain embodiments, the display of additional information relating to the function of interactive elements may be displayed based on context, such as when a specific action is required from a user in the virtual space.
- An optical tracking system, comprising: control circuitry operatively coupleable to one or more optical sensors of a movable tracked object that is positionable within an operating space, in operation, the control circuitry: for each of the one or more optical sensors, computes an angular location within the operating space; determines the location and orientation of the movable tracked object based on the determined angular location of the one or more optical sensors; causes a display to present a virtual visual representation of the movable tracked object in a virtual reality environment with a location and orientation within the virtual reality environment that corresponds to the determined location and orientation of the movable tracked object in the operating space; receives context information indicative of the virtual reality environment context in which the movable tracked object is used; and alters the virtual visual representation of the movable tracked object based on the received context information.