Virtual Knight 1992
Virtual Reality for Bob began in 1992 at a small 2 bedroom apartment in Raleigh, NC. He had been working with REND386 - a DOS real time 3D software program. At the time this was one of the very few programs that could run live 3D on a computer. What we take for granted today was pretty difficult and very expensive back then. Combine with this the handful of people actually innovating VR technology at the time and it puts Bob's accomplishment with Virtual Knight in perspective.
Back then, Bob had the honor of touring the computer lab at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. There he tried a virtual walkthrough of an art gallery running on the one of a kind, multi-million dollar Pixel Planes computer system.
This inspired him to bring this technology to the hands of the general public. His original design concept was fairly simple but has still not made it to market yet.
This is a sketch from then which shows a player wearing a very lightweight pair of sunglass like displays. The computer is built into the glasses as well as the earphones and motion tracking. The player wears a ring that is tracked by a sensor underneath the visor.
While that is a noble goal - the reality was and still is - nothing like this exists. SO the best way to bring something like this into existence is to start with the basics - build the technology step - by - step.
The first step was a prototype Virtual Knight system. The finished prototype debuted in 1994 at the Discovery Zone in Raleigh. Features include a 10 foot radius walk around area, stereoscopic 40 degree field of view hand made display and a unique sword tracking system referenced to the player's body.
The success of that system prompted the creation of Virtual Knight II which was based on the Orion game system from Dynamic Visions. The software was "Die By The Sword." It worked fairly well but still lacked the clean and simple vision of the original concept.
Virtual Knight III is only on the drawing board and since the time the images below were created, the vision has progressed in scope and design.