PS3 Controller with Samsung Gear VR on Galaxy S6

This is a work in progress. 

Now that I have my Samsung Gear VR up and cranking, I’m looking for some games to mess with, and I’ve noticed that some games need a game controller. Samsung apparently sells a bluetooth controller for use with the galaxy s6, but I’ve seen mentioned that many bluetooth controllers will work with it. So, my PS3 SixAxis controller sitting next to my neglected PS3 – seems like it would be a likely candidate? 

Some searches later, I’ve found a few guys who bound their ps3 controller to their android phone and used it inside games. Every instance I’ve seen so far shows the use of an OTG cable to physically connect the controller to the phone for the initial pairing setup… and as luck would have my, my hacker brother has an OTG cable laying around. This cable basically converts the normally “slave” mode port on the phone into a master USB – the phone physically supposrts this mode internally, but you have to use this adapter cable to get it to behave this way. 

I’m still in progress on this and will update more once I’ve been able to try pairing the ps3 controller my to galaxy s6 and see if we can make it all work inside the Gear VR. 

3D 360 degree Spherical Video for VR

I recently acquired a Samsung Gear VR headset to use with my Galaxy S6 phone. As soon as I tried it on, I was able to experience what I’d been looking forward to trying – seeing a virtual world around me which convincingly stays in place when I move my head around. I’ve known that the full version of the Oculus Rift was able to do this, but wasn’t sure how good the Samsung verison would be- well, it’s good. 

I checked out some 360 degree photos and videos, but I realized that even though I can look in all directions, the images and videos were not in 3d. And if you think about it, the normal way to snap a 3d photo or to record a 3d film is to use a pair of cameras set eye width apart. This works fine, until you try to make it work in a Vr world where the viewer could move and look in any direction – how do you have two cameras pointing in “every” direction at the same time, set eye width apart? Seems like an impossible task. Note that this is not a problem in games, because they can re-render the image immediately from any perspective, and create the two stereoscopic images for your eyes on the fly. 

I was wondering if having an array of cameras might gather enough info that software might be able to build a full 360 degree view that is also in 3d- and it appears this is exactly what a few companies are doing (or attempting to do). Even google is in on the action. Here are a few solutions I found: 

360Heros –  – Uses a big pile of 12 gopro cameras to capture a stereoscopic view of all 6 directions from a viewer’s perspective. 

Panocam 3d –  – wear it on your body or use a tripod, captures full 3d stereoscopic video using 24 cameras!

Google Jump –  –  an array of 16 gopro’s in a circle, so it appears to be meant for looking around in a cylinder, not so concerned about 3d above and below you (I assume?)Ody

GoPro Odyssey – – derived from the google project, uses the smaller gopro 4 cameras. Apparently can control all the cameras at once, and can sync the frames to be exact with each other. 

It will be interesting to see what happens next with this technology, perhaps to bring the cost down and make it available to the consumer. I can envisions spherical camera lenses, reflectors, and low cost cameras being combined in such a way to provide this fucntionality cheaply, and perhaps it will be the next big feature to be included with smartphones.

Of course the shortcoming of 3d video like this is, the vr user can look around, but can’t actually move within the environment. Maybe the next iteration will be to set up a grid of 24 of these 24 camera clusters…. Just kidding!

ip67 android phone

Samsung is releasing a ruggedized version of their latest Android based phone called the Galaxy S4 Active. It is being marketed to the “active” crowd, and the ip67 rating means it is ruggedized in various ways against water, shock, and other elements.

This is the same rating we used to use with the big clunky mobile computers we would use in process plants for collecting data in the field. The ruggedized rating meant these computers could take some pretty rough abuse and keep running, which is obviosuly a necessity in those environments.

Why not use this phone as a replacement for those big clunky computers? The missing element is safety certification. Those old computers were also certified to be safe for use in potentially dangerous environments, which means it shouldnt be able to create an explosion in areas where explosive gases might happen to be leaked.

Most likely this phone is already safe enough to use in those environments, but this does not mean they are certified for such use. The safety certs require the device be put through some pretty harsh testing to make sure that it is not capable of creating sparks etc. Once the certification organization has proven this, it receives the certification for the level of dangerous use it has been tested for. This process is not inexpensive, and since it is only useful for a relatively small sub-market of mobile computing, not very many devices get this process done.

In addition, just because these new phones are way smaller and lighter than their predecessor, this doesn’t mean they would be a good fit for service in industrial environments. Imagine wearing gloves to try to activate a touchscreen – this is why industrial mobile computers still tend to use big keyboards. Also, battery life is already a problem on most modern smartphones, so imagine needing to use them in the field for hours on end- unless a much larger battery can be fitted, it just isn’t going to happen.

These devices might find a fit in some semi-industrial uses though. A worker or foreman who spends shorter periods of time in the field, but still needs a device that can handle the environment, could be a good fit for this new phone.

It will be interesting to see any third party companies try to adapt this commoditized technology in a way it can be further utilized in hazardous industrial environments.