Oculus FPV - First Flight
First flight of our Oculus Rift FPV system!
This system is completely digital. A laptop in the air compresses the video from the two cameras in realtime and sends them over 802.11n (2.4 GHz) down to the laptop on the ground.
Latency is around 120 ms - fully usable for flying!
Range is 50-100 m using built-in wifi-cards in laptops. We will increase this by using external APs. Ranges for e.g. Ubiquiti-systems are quoted as several km - using legal frequencies and power levels. When out of range and then back the reconnection is instant (no "connection broken, reconnecting...").
There is a huge difference between this and an analogue FPV system. The all-digital design means realtime HD video from multiple (not limited to 2) cameras can be broadcasted and received. The received images are then combined into a view-sphere which can then be viewed in a below-25-ms latency loop between ground computer and the Rift. Jonathan is working on the code to let the imu of the Rift determine what is seen.
This project is an R&D effort from Intuitive Aerial. We have dreamed of this system since before we heard of the Oculus Rift. It is like a piece of science fiction that just came true. We have plans for how we can go from software running on laptops to small specific-purpose units so no computer is needed (FPGA-based compression and encode, lower-latency camera connection, possibly integrate cameras on pcb). Such units would also be useful for regular FPV and would offer HD resolutions and wifi interoperability. Let us know if you want this to happen - right now Jonathan is the only one working on this, as his master's thesis project :)