Sony Computer Entertainment’s (SCE) Project Morpheus virtual reality (VR) headset for PlayStation 4 is still in its prototype stages, the company has recently confirmed. We can expect, then, to see a range of updates and additions to the device in the coming months as work on its hardware continues. This week VRFocus has uncovered a new patent from SCE specifically that suggests Project Morpheus could incorporate real world lighting and acoustics into experiences.
The patent, which was published in May 2014, detailed ‘real world acoustic and lighting modeling for improved immersion in virtual reality and augmented reality environments’. On the augmented reality (AR) side, the patent suggests the system could be used to increase the realism of virtual objects in the user’s real environment, perhaps applying relevant lighting to any such objects.
When it comes to VR, the patent suggests that the lighting in the real world could change the lighting in the actual experience. For example, it could be that a videogame has its day and night cycle dictated by what time of day it is in the read world. If they were playing in the day, then the system might be able to register the lighter environment and replicate it in-game, becoming darker at night.
Interestingly, the patent also mentions ‘extending the virtual world into the user’s real world room’, which reminds us of Microsoft’s Illumiroom concept in which a project expands the world of a videogame to the walls of the user’s room. It also makes mention of doing the same with sounds, referring back to the acoustics part of the patent – perhaps the acoustics of our own rooms could effect the sound in an experience?
Whether or not this means anything for Project Morpheus is unclear at this time, though it’s certainly an intriguing concept. VRFocus will continue to follow the development of the device, reporting back with any more updates on its progress.