'Power Loader' Exoskeleton Vive demo

About the project

I am a Sci Fi film fan, and if you are reading this website, you will probably also be familiar with the movie that has inspired this work - Among many other pieces of pretty inspired design that appear in this film, the big yellow 'Power Loaders' used in several scenes really made an impression on me.

I always thought it would be great to get into one of these machines and stomp around a cargo bay, and with the advent of the Vive and other immersive VR technologies, it is possible to do just that.

I want to build something that will serve as a test bed for ideas with the Vive, as well as a possible foundation for a larger game project. The Power Loader project is in it's very early stages, but it is already possible to walk around in the exoskeleton, using your arms to drive the movement of the loader arms.

My current thinking around a 'story' for the demo, will be that you are a cargo-loader on a large spaceship. When the ship crash-lands on an alien planet, all the soldiers are killed, and it is just you and a couple of crew members. You must use your power-loader to repair the ship, make excursions into the hostile environment on the planet you have crashed into, and get the ship back into space.

The Vive controllers map quite nicely to the functionality I want to put into the loader, so I think think this will be a really neat demo.

Development history - Images and Videos

2016-07-09 Picking up objects, putting them down, Teleporting around the room is all working fairly nicely. Its a great feeling to have this stuff working so nicely in VR.

2016-06-17 Added rotational constraints to the loader arms IK, and added the ability for the jaws to open/close/rotate, and added rigging for hydraulic cylinders.

2016-06-03 Working on an basic outline for the cargo bay. The glowing rods are supposed to be part of the ships drive system, and repairing them after a crash with the power loader will be one of the players' tasks.

2016-05-31 Got the loader working in a Vive environment. Player can walk around, move crates and move the loader arms. It is amazing how little is needed in terms of graphical complexity to be immersive. Tried it out with a couple of people, they all think its cool, which is what i'm going for. Need to figure out how to do screenshots for VR.

2016-05-26 Got the loader into Unity3D, and since I couldn't figure out how Unitys IK system was supposed to work, wrote my own. Needs constraints, but the basic approach seems to work well for my needs. The loader arms follow the white cube 'targets'