Oculus Rift iOS App Transforming Video Streaming

Aug 04, 2016

The Oculus Rift has been seen as a gamers’ device that enhances their experiences by fully immersing their lives into their favorite games. But, for Genuine’s Senior Digital Technologist, Rob Brecher, he realized the Oculus could also provide a unique video streaming experience for gamers and non-gamers alike.

So, he set out to find a dead simple way to stream 360˚ videos to the Oculus Rift headset, which would also allow Genuine to create ad hoc immersive experiences. However, it was quickly realized that there wasn’t a solution like that available, so Genuine’s digital technology team and Brecher created their own solution.

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Using an inexpensive, off-the-shelf 360˚ lens for the iPhone (which you might recognize as the GoPano micro of Kickstarter fame), Brecher built a native iOS app that can stream video in real time through a browser using Unity 3D. The app first unwarps the video using raw image data supplied by the iOS SDK, compresses it, and then sends it via a socket connection to Unity 3D. Using the received image data as a texture, Unity 3D places the viewer in the center of the 360˚ scene. And, Oculus Rift SDK handles the rest of the experience. By using a socket connection, it can be supported natively by both Unity 3D and the iOS. But, this could easily be swapped out for any other method of video streaming.

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“This solution to merging a 3D experience into video streaming is unlike everything else we’ve seen out there that’s currently using the Oculus Rift technology,” said Rob Brecher. “Using the iPhone that many people already have, and a $60 accessory, people will be able to create an immersive 360˚ video experience live, on the spot.” While the best viewing experience is with the Oculus Rift, the 360˚ video streams could easily be viewed from the browser or from another mobile device, making the experience available to everyone. Genuine created a video demo to showcase just how simple this process can be implemented:

As the resolution of VR headsets and mobile cameras improve, this could easily become the preferred method for broadcasting live events. The viewer could be given the ability to watch from a predetermined angle, or at any time, take control of the “camera” and be free to look around wherever.

Additionally, the future of the Oculus Rift paired with a 360˚ iPhone camera has the opportunity to change how the retail industry and even the healthcare industry use digital technology.

This is the future of virtual reality. At Genuine, we believe without the limitations of distance and time, the Oculus Rift and 360˚ iPhone camera will open doors for new opportunities that can be used for businesses, education, live broadcasting events, and more.

Want to learn how Genuine can help you with your next digital, creative, tech or media project? Get in touch with us at contacts@wearegenuine.com.