Amir Rubin, CEO of Sixense, the distributors of the Razer Hydra controller and manufacturers of the wireless STEM controllers, which have been described as enabling a 3D mutli-touch interface and will could become the first “mouse of VR.”

Amir-Rubin-269x200Amir talks about how the intention of Sixense is to create presence in VR by bringing your body into VR in an intuitive fashion. He talks about the differences between a physical-based solution like the STEM controllers versus using gesture controls with a camera-based system.

He talks about the history and timing of the Razer Hydra, and how it was a tough sell to convince developers that this paradigm shift was needed for interacting in 3D spaces — especially before virtual reality came along. He talks about the challenges faced with shortages of the Hydra and how they’ve been supporting exciting VR projects.

He talks about the modular design of the STEM controllers, and how developers will be able to bring all sorts of different peripheral objects into VR by using the STEM pack component.

Amir then goes into what first inspired the creation of Sixense, and how he wanted to be able to provide VR training experiences where the technology didn’t get into the way, and that people could have as much immersion and presence as possible in order to tap into their deeper intuition. He believes that almost every experience in reality could be improved with virtual reality, and he wants to help bring that sense of immersion and presence to people through Sixense technologies.

Finally, he talks about the lessons learned from the failed VR revolution of the 90s, and how that has influenced the collaborative mindset that Sixense has as well as others within the VR community. He’d like to help make the VR revolution happen this time around, and help provide incredible educational and training experiences as well as allowing people to step out of reality and have boundless entertainment experiences where they can live out their wildest fantasies.

Reddit discussion here.


  • 0:00 – Intro Sixense proving presence in virtual reality. Presence requires bringing your body into VR. Partnering with Razor Hydra. Working on the wireless STEM controllers.
  • 1:36 – Timing of Razer Hydra and being out of stock. Not manufactured by Sixense. Providing Hydras to exciting VR development projects. Hydra designed to enable people working with 3D applications as “3D multi-touch” technology. It was nice to have, but hard to convince developers. Valve was supportive, but Hydra was hard technology to justify adopting before VR. Carmack’s contribution to resurgence of VR. Hydra became the mouse of VR. Creating a wireless version with STEM, and the stoppage of manufacturing of the Hydra
  • 5:29 – Modular design of the STEM System controllers – Three components: STEM base. STEM controllers with lots of buttons and joystick controller. STEM pack that can be attached to other objects to get 6 DOF control with them. Trying to make it as simple for developers as possible.
  • 8:04 – How do you see the difference between VR input differences between camera-based gestures and controls with physical buttons? Camera-based gestures can be great if line of sight and you have an intuitive use case. But simulating using objects in VR doesn’t work as well because it’s not natural. Sixense sensors and input devices in order to be able to use your intuition rather than learning a new sign language. Power of bringing hand and eye coordination into VR. Sony & Oculus using a combination camera and physical controllers. Sixense SDK supporting other 6 DOF controllers like Sony Move and Intel RealSense camera for perceptual computing.
  • 11:28 – What was the inspiration for the creation of Sixense Entertainment? Amir was inspired by VR in the 90s. Saw how much gear that military soldiers had to wear to have their VR training exercises. General wanted to have soldiers have a VR experience without mentioning all of the technology that was getting in the way. Creating a system that’s 100% experience delivery where the transition between reality and virtual reality is seamless and fast. Focusing on the consumer VR version, and wants to create VR training experiences where you forget about the VR tech and easily forget reality and step into a fantasy world and experience all of the experiences you want to. Don’t worry about the constraints of technology because it breaks VR immersion.
  • 15:01 – What is driving you now? Is it a business desire or is there something in VR that you want to experience? Reality isn’t as good as as it should be. VR can improve on nearly everything we have in reality. Step into entertainment experiences and transform into a character and live out your fantasies. Explore resort vacations with his family. Go anywhere together in with your family. Everything that you need to can come to you digitally.
  • 17:11 – How have you seen the VR industry evolve since you’ve been involved with it? Learn from the failures of the 90s. The technology was not there yet, but the business execution was also lacking from too much competition and not enough collaboration. He’s seeing a lot more collaboration this time around from Oculus to the open collaborative mindset of Sixense. Can’t support professional applications. Focusing on the has market at the moment. Integrating with the Sony SDK. Sixense wants to collaborate with other hardware manufactures and distributors.
  • 19:57 – What is the ultimate potential for virtual reality? Every use case of reality can be improved by virtual reality. Education and training implications are huge.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

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