Microsoft Research has shown off a new VR/AR technology which would bring some of the advantages of AR to the VR world while taking advantage of the fully immersive capabilities of a full VR rig.
Called Remixed Reality, the technology would use a special room littered with depth-sensing cameras which would then be used to feed a reconstructed point of view image to VR headset users in the room. That way the users will be able to control exactly what they see in the room, opening up the ability to virtually remix reality.
The researchers note this approach enables changing the environment as easily as geometry can be changed in virtual reality while allowing users to view and interact with the actual physical world as they would in augmented reality.
They characterize a range of manipulations that are possible with Remixed Reality: spatial changes such as erasing objects; appearance changes such as changing textures; temporal changes such as pausing time; and viewpoint changes that allow users to see the world from different points without changing their physical location.
The researchers describe some applications such as replaying meetings, redesigning rooms, creating portals into other environments or the kind of virtual meetings that include remote participants as if they are in the room that we are already very familiar with from science fiction.
Technical readers can see the full paper here.