Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) have developed a system that they have dubbed Asynchronous Reality. According to a report drawn up by the ETH researchers, this allows people to rewind and replay reality. To this end, a team from the Sensing, Interaction and Perception Lab (SIPLAB) have installed depth cameras in an office to record objects and people in 3D. A computer system continuously records all events. Christian Holz, Assistant Professor of Intelligent Interactive Systems, explains in the report that the fact that this computer system can recognize and interpret causalities is “one of the core innovations of this work”.
The user wears a VR (Virtual Reality) headset and headphones. If necessary, this person can filter out everything outside of the task that they are currently working on. The user is then able to “play the events back in the same space and interact directly with objects to experience for themselves what has been recorded”, Holz explains further, adding that this “makes the recording feel very real”.
However, this disengagement from reality, which is also explained in a video, represents just one of the potential application scenarios. The system also enables users to experience realities where they were not even present. For example, teams working in shifts on a prototype could see every detail of how it was developed while they were away. What is special about the system is that users can subsequently direct their gaze to a specific object and determine its influence on what is happening around them.