First Steps with the Lenovo Mirage Solo VR180 Camera

Following on from my unboxing post I have now had a couple of days to play with the camera and have to say that I am pleased with the results so far.

Although I have played with the “LucidCam” (post to follow) this camera proved to be more reliable and I got up and running very quickly with it.

This morning I took it out to a local field for a real world test with some willing bystanders (NB You should view this video in your Mixed Reality headset using the Steam Sourced “YouTube VR” App)

(“Watch in VR then watch one of those cows doesn’t bite your head off” :-))

Optimising Windows 10 Graphics for Mixed Reality

If you are one of those people who find yourself in Mixed Reality more often than simply using your PC then you might want to consider making the following change.

Go to To System->Display->Graphics Settings

By default you will find that this is set to “Classic App”

image

Change “Classic App” to “Universal App” and you will find another drop down appears.

From this drop down select “Mixed Reality Portal”

image

Click “Add” and then choose your preferred options for this app:

CONGRATULATIONS!

Your Windows 10 PC is now optimised for Mixed Reality!

Lenovo Mirage Solo VR180 3D Camera

image
So having originally ordered this from America and having waited patiently for the order to process I ended up cancelling and ordering through Lenovo UK.  A couple more weeks of waiting (supply problems apparently) and it finally turned up on my doorstep this morning.

What is it?

Essentially this is a 3d camera that has a wide field of view (180 degrees) so that an immersive experience of the images taken can be experienced in your VR headset.  It is billed as a 4K camera but while that sounds impressive you need to bare in mind that the resolution is shared across a wider plane than your TV and also two images (one for each eye) are also required to create the 3d immersive experience you should expect from your VR headset.  Images look good but I am still hungry for higher resolution devices (8k and then later 16k will offer a better consumer experience but we are just not there yet).

Specifications

  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 626 Platform
  • 2 GB RAM, 16 GB eMMC ROM, up to 128 GB microSD Card
  • Dual mics with single speaker
  • **Up to 2 hours battery life
  • 6 DOF IMU sensor
  • Starting at 139g
  • Dual 13 MP cameras, 180 x 180 FOV, up to 4K video @30 FPS

Resolution

Just picking up on the resolution it is worth noting that your 4k TV uses 8.3 megapixels within it’s 16:9 aspect ratio.  Here we have (for still pictures) 13 megapixels per eye to play with – but don’t forget that we are wanting to cover a much larger distance than your TV so the extra megapixels go some way to giving us a pretty decent still image.  For video the story is a little different and if your primary use of the camera is for VR180 video then I would urge you to check some examples and ensure that you are happy with the quality before your purchase (I will post some examples of my own once I have had a chance to “play” with the camera a little time).  Now, personally, I don’t have a problem with the 30Hz (30 frames per second equivalent)  video as this is similar to the frame rate you might expect at your local cinema (in fact it is slightly better).  However, gamers have a much more demanding requirement and are likely to be unnecessarily critical of the frame rate – it also has to be said that VR itself is almost always better the higher the frame rate that can be achieved.  With this in mind I look forward not only to higher resolutions of future models, but also increasing frame rates!

Features

The camera is able to support live streaming directly from it’s integrated WIFI (or, if you have it, via the LTE version, though I am not sure if this is available or supported outside the USA).  Of course the connection speed (or the availability of same) is the key factor here.

I was also pleased to see the tripod support screw (any VR shot is going to be improved by using a Tripod to steady the image and avoid camera shake).   This goes some way to compensating for the lack of display or viewfinder on the camera – though these omissions will likely put many off notwithstanding the argument that ‘you will always capture what you are pointing at”!!

The dual microphone support lends a vital element of audio realism to captured videos  when viewed in a VR headset.  The camera also has a single built in speaker though i am not sure how useful this is considering the camera has no built in display.

Unboxing and first impressions

This initial post I thought I would share the unboxing experience and also compare the camera with some other popular 3d cameras currently (or more accurately ‘historically’ on the market.
image

The packaging reminded me of a typical phone style package and is definitely an improvement on the bloated boxes we got with some of the other 3d cameras below.

Image

It comes with a USB C type charger as well as a handy pouch and two batteries – a nice touch!  It is a small camera, almost exactly the same size as the Panasonic LUMIX 3d camera shown below (Fuji 2d cameras also shown for comparison)

When charging the camera’s shutter release button glows orange, switching to green when fully charged.

In my next post I will let you know how I get on with the camera for stills and videos and if/how the results can be viewed in your mixed Reality headset!

image

image

 

NB Just spotted that Sebastian Ang has posted a VR180 review of this camera on Mixed Reality TV – well worth a look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CU96bkSIqfw

(Best viewed in the Steam-sourced YouTube VR App!)

Where can I get one (in the UK)

Try these links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Daydream-VR-Ready-Integration-Smartphone-Compatibility/dp/B0793JTT3R/

https://www3.lenovo.com/gb/en/smart-devices/virtual-reality/lenovo-mirage-camera/c/mirage-camera

 

 

How to get Mixed Reality working on a Surface Book

I found these notes on reddit and reproduced them here in case anyone else finds them useful:

 

I picked up a Surface Book last year, and it has quickly become my ideal laptop. I was excited to hear about Windows MR headsets working with lower spec machines, Windows Surface Book + Windows Immersive seemed like a match made in heaven.

Unfortunately, once I actually tried to get things up and running, I ran into quite a few issues. A little digging into forums indicated that several other folks were running into trouble as well. Even worse, Microsoft had directly declared the Surface Book line incompatible with Windows MR.

It seemed kind of silly that less capable machines were able to run the Mixed Reality Portal, so I dug a little deeper. There were 3 main roadblocks:

  • Surface Book fails the Portal Compatibility Check
  • USB recognition issues
  • Specific display adapter is necessary

The following guide provides workarounds for these roadblocks. Follow the guide at your own risk, there is some regediting involved that may lead to unexpected results (although everything is working fine for me so far).

SURFACE BOOK FAILS PORTAL COMPATIBILITY CHECK

Depending on the Surface Book you have, you may or may not be running into this problem. For mine, the check did not like the driver associated with the integrated Intel Graphics, nor the nondescript “Nvidia GeForce GPU”

Unfortunately, there is no way to update these drivers outside of a Windows update. Manually installing drivers got around the check, but the display adapters did not function properly. Essentially, you have to go into the registry to convince Windows to ignore the check.

Open the Registry Editor and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Holographic\FirstRun (you can paste that into the address bar at the top).

Create a new DWORD (32-bit) value (either via Edit or context menu) and give it a name of AllowFailedSystemChecks.

Double-click that value and set its data to 1.

You can now restart Mixed Reality Portal, and the “Next” button should be clickable no matter what. Keep in mind that if the compatibility check is right about whatever it doesn’t like, that you will run into issues later.

USB DEVICE NOT RECOGNIZED

So you get past the compatibility check and it asks you to plug in your headset. I plugged in my Acer VR HMD, and immediately got the message that the hardware was not recognized.

As it turns out, a very similar thing happens when trying to get a Kinect going on a surface book. There is some Surface specific part of the USB driver that causes an enumeration failure. The workaround is to open the Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class{36fc9e60-c465-11cf-8056-444553540000}.

Double click on the LowerFilters string and delete the Value Data “SurfaceUsbHubFwUpdate”

DISPLAY ADAPTER DIFFICULTIES

I got really excited at this point! Mixed Reality Portal started right up, recognized the Acer headset, and began downloading and installing things. Unfortunately, the trials were not over. As soon as the Portal tutorial started up, my monitor began to flicker and no video displayed in the headset. This “black flickering” happens if your dongle does not support mini display port 1.2 to HDMI 2.0. Windows have a specific list of adapters that they recommend.

I picked up the official Surface Mini DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 Adapter, and finally I was in business!

Interestingly, it seems to function best when I disable the Nvidia GPU in Device Manager and force Integrated Graphics only. I will continue to experiment to see if I can get it to run in low-spec mode using the Nvidia GPU.

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/WindowsMR/comments/785qbq/guide_get_surface_book_working_with_windows/