Microsoft is experimenting with multi-person virtual reality that allows people to interact and share virtual worlds with other people for the first time, according to reports. The Comradre project (pronounced "comradery"), led by Jaron Lanier, has already involved several projects in which more than one person experiences and interacts with the same object in virtual reality.
The VR experimentation is not connected to Microsoft's HoloLens holographic computer, Technology Review reports, instead it uses custom headsets made from smartphones and laptop computers. The exact applications that Microsoft plans to use the technology for are not yet clear, though it is expected to find use in gaming and communications.
Within virtual worlds, multiple users would potentially be able to find new and innovative ways to handle and access information, allowing for more immersive collaborative projects. Researchers involved in the project have so far developed a wide-range of applications, ranging from a way to visualise mathematical equations, to a platform for children to play together in virtual reality.
According to the researchers, the main factor currently holding back multi-person virtual reality is the limitations of technology used to track users. "The critical aspect for multi-person virtual reality is that you have to track everybody's movements very accurately in their own scene," said Jeremy Bailson, founding director of Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab.
With the Comradre devices, external sensors track the wearer's head movements, while the headset monitors the movement of the other user. Microsoft is yet to respond to a request from IBTimes UK for more information about the Comradre project.