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VR Interfaces: Binocular Omni Orientation Monitor


Overview of Binocular Omni Orientation Monitor
The human brain perceives depth only because it has two eyes for visual input. Each eye sees a slightly different angle of the same scene (as evidenced when you hold your finger in front of your nose, then look at it with one eye closed, both eyes and the other eye closed ? the image shifts).

These two separate views are combined in the brain to form a single, 3D image, with parts of the data from each eye used to work out relative distances.

To replicate this effect in VR, you require a device that can do the same thing ? give each eye a separate view. Enter the BOOM or Binocular Omni Orientation Monitor.

The Binocular Omni Orientation Monitor or BOOM is one of the oldest VR displays, and direct ancestor to the HMD. It consists of a 3-D display device suspended from a weighted boom that can swivel freely. Sometimes this boom is mounted on a trolley, sometimes affixed to the ceiling.

BOOMs had their heyday when HMD devices were massive, bulky things, weighing as much as a small child. The BOOM was superior as all its weight was held by its mounting, and not by the user?s head. The viewer holds the view port of the device to their eyes, viewing the 3-D environment stereoscopically through it, without supporting any of its weight on their neck.

Because the BOOM is separate to the user, only contacting them through the view port, heat dissipation issues are almost non-existent, and battery size is similarly far less of an issue than for a head mounted display.

BOOMs typically communicate the user?s point of view to the computer system by the position and orientation of the view port. Typical BOOM configurations will swivel in six degrees of freedom, moving up and down and swivelling on the boom as well as rotating about an axis point, to closely replicate head movements without being attached to the head.

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