Popular Mechanics Cover Story Features MxR Lab

Published: May 28, 2014
Category: News

The June issue of Popular Mechanics charts the rise of virtual reality and the development of the Oculus Rift. In telling the story of Palmer Luckey, the developer of the Oculus Rift who worked at ICT before launching his start up, the article describes Luckey’s time at ICT and his experiences using the Wide 5 HMD.
“In 2011, Luckey got a dream job working as a technician at the Mixed Reality Lab (MxR) at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT). There, he had a chance to cross deep into VR territory. On Sept. 25, he posted the following on MTBS3D. [These excerpts are condensed and lightly edited.]
I told you guys I would give a writeup on what it feels like to use the Wide5/body tracking/Unity based engine setup we have at my work … It sounds crazy, I know, but The Matrix is so much closer than we all think … ”
The article also mentions Mark Bolas and notes that the MxR Lab is a joint effort between ICT and the USC School of Cinematic Arts that trains art and engineering students in virtual-reality design and also works on a number of military systems. It mentions that Bolas and a business partner started developing the Wide5 in 2005. It is an HMD with a horizontal field of view of about 150 degrees, and it is studded with light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The story states that Bolas, who was working on developing low-cost VR, assigned Luckey to a team already at work on some of these projects, which include several generations of inexpensive, immersive head-mounted displays.