Get your arse to Mars

posted in Space by Cargo Cult on Friday November 6 2015

Another one of my side-projects went out of control, this time becoming part of a temporary exhibit for the Museum of Flight's Spacefest event.

Disclaimer: Our HMDs are not hermetically sealed against near-vacuum.

Walk around on a huge, life-sized tract of Martian terrain built from raw Curiosity navigation camera images using my photogrammetry techniques. Then, get a majestic overview of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko before teleporting down on to its surface, using a super-high-resolution version of Mattias Malmer's comet nucleus shapemodel constructed from Rosetta imagery. Finally, to round it all off - have a quick go with Tilt Brush, a 3D sketching program.

I have now personally put many members of the general public into space. Giving VR demos is fantastic. To anyone thinking it's just a fad, and will wilt away like 3DTV did - you should see how people respond.

It runs for the next few days. Hurry hurry hurry! I'm not sure how the ticketing works, but beyond entry to the museum it's free and you don't have to book in advance.

That's no Moon!

posted in Media by Cargo Cult on Thursday October 29 2015

The Last Man, a short(-ish) film from Gavin Rothery, art director bloke for Moon.

Goes well with the dismal Seattle weather.

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Having a lovely day? All bright and cheerful? Destroy it all with this great piece of post-apocalyptic horror.

In other news, experience three minutes on Mars - which I may have had something to do with.

Teleportation, today

posted in Virtual Reality by Cargo Cult on Friday September 25 2015

Who needs a holodeck?

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Fellow adventurer in photogrammetry David Finsterwalder has recorded a video of my scanned scenes as uploaded to Steam. The first two are office scans (while he merely gets the remote experience, the second can also be run aligned with the actual demo room for a suitably brain-bending tactile experience) while the third is Iceland.

A certain photo caption is looking suspiciously prophetic.

An elaborate ruse to get people to look at my holiday photos​

posted in Virtual Reality by Cargo Cult on Monday September 21 2015

Oh, hello again.

I've been busy.

Viewing this at home melted my brain.

That brief mention of photogrammetry in an earlier article turned into a fully-fledged obsession. Viewing things on a flat monitor was certainly interesting, but viewing them in a super-high-end VR headset was something else entirely. A church door from Twickenham, with super-detailed textures - walking up to it in VR from half a world away was quite unearthly.

But this door was just one object, surrounded by CGI nothingness.

So I've been figuring out how to scan entire scenes, using wide-angle lenses and the like - and performing low-poly reconstruction to get the cleanest, most seamless results possible. And, of course, documenting the process.

Photogrammetry in VR - a general guide in three parts.

Do you want to join this revolution? No, let me rephrase that. You will join this revolution. Capture the world, and let distant people see where you have been.

It's like photography, only you're actually there.


posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Monday June 15 2015

It's okay, you can all stop emailing me this link now.

Actually, please don't - it's bloody fantastic.

In case you're not aware, a certain Ralph Mirebs somehow got access to a forgotten Baikonur hangar containing an under-construction Buran and a high-fidelity boilerplate stand-in, assuming I've parsed the machine-translated Russian correctly. And, having done so, he took lots of lovely photos.

I thought I knew all about the fate of this Soviet shuttle programme (it proved splendid reference for areas in Portal 2), but apparently they're really good at keeping intriguing things hidden at that Kazakhstan cosmodrome.

Exif tags suggest the images were taken back in May 2010, which kind of adds to the intrigue. How secret are these things?

I think I'm in love.

Covered in slowly-accumulating bird-shit and decades of miscellaneous detritus, but hidden nevertheless.

Glass cockpit? Kind of, if you ignore the holes.

Thanks to Steve K., another Steve K., Paul T., Jeff B., Laura D. and anyone else I've forgotten!

Also, I promise to start posting more regularly here. I'm building up a nice backlog of interesting things...