The simple computer cursor is being reimagined for virtual reality

Researchers have created computer cursors to interact in 3-D in single or multiuser, local or remote collaboration scenarios. Image: Hybridlab, Université de Montréal

Researchers have developed a technique to so that computer cursors can interact in 3D.

The system being announced at the SIGGRAPH 2015 conference in Los Angeles allows designers to manipulate 3D objects within a virtual reality.

“This isn’t a gimmicky rebirth of the cursor, it’s about rethinking how humans interact with computers as part of the creative process,” says lead researcher Professor Tomás Dorta of the University of Montreal School of Design. “Our new technology challenges the notion of what a cursor is and does.”

Users can use gestures and movements such as pinching and orientation to move objects within the 3D environment.

The cursor is being demonstrated within the Hyve-3D design system, a full scale immersive 3D environment which enables users to create drawings on hand-held tablets which can then be manipulated to create a 3D design.

The immersive images are the result of an optical illusion created by a high-resolution projector, a specially designed five metre spherically concave fabric screen and a dome mirror projecting the image onto the screen.

“Beyond its utility for sketching, we believe the 3D cursor has applications in a wide range of fields, such as architectural design, medical imaging and of course computer games,” Dorta says.

Thee researchers also have a variation of the interface which could work with smartphones and watches.

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