Tutorial – Level 1 – The most basic OpenViBE setup

This tutorial is intended to show a short summary of how OpenViBE works in the most common use case of getting some data and then displaying it. It will show you how to connect the two main OpenViBE applications : the Acquisition Server and the Designer. For detailed description and documentation for these applications please look at their respective documentation pages.

In order to follow this tutorial you must download and install OpenViBE first.

“tl;dr”? An even shorter tutorial is available for real devices.

The basic idea

The purpose of OpenViBE is to get data from the acquisition device through the Acquisition Server and then send it to one or more clients. This client is usually, for now, the OpenViBE designer. The Acquisition Server and the clients (Designers) can be either on the same machine or different machines on the same network, or any combination of these.

The following diagram explains the possibilities:


In this example we are going to replace the real acquisition hardware by an oscillator. This is an option in the Acquisition Server in order to test the connection.

Run and setup the Acquisition Server

First you have to launch the OpenViBE Acquisition Server. If you have used the installer on Windows then it will be in your menu, if you have compiled it yourself the launcher is in dist\openvibe-acquisition-server.cmd. On Linux the launcher is in dist/openvibe-acquisition-server.sh.

You will be presented with the application window. For the purpose of this tutorial simply choose the Generic Oscillator from the drop-down list. For more information about the server look at the Acquisition Server documentation.

Run the designer and create your first scenario

In this tutorial we will not do any processing, simply display the data acquired from the server. If you would prefer a more complete demonstration with commentary, please look at the OpenViBE Video Tutorial.

Run the OpenViBE Designer. Either from the Windows menu, or the dist folder. You will see an application with two main elements. The scenario window on the left and the Box Algorithm list on the right. In the scenario window you can create signal processing chains assembled from the Boxes which you pick in the list. To learn more about the OpenViBE Designer, look at the Designer Documentation. A blank scenario was already created for you when you ran OpenViBE Designer.

We are only going to use two boxes the Acquisition Client and the Signal Display. The Acquisition Client gets the data from the Acquisition Server. Find the Acquisition Client box in the list (you can press Ctrl+F and type ‘acq’ in the search field in order to find it faster. Then drag this box into the Scenario window on the left. Now double click on the Acquisition Client box in the scenario. A windows like this will be opened.

These are the properties of the box. You can see that the Acquisition server hostname is set to a token ${AcquisitionServer_HostName}. This means that the box will use the AcquisitionServer_HostName variable which is set to some concrete value in the configuration. By default this variable equals to ‘localhost’ which is the machine you are on. To learn more about the configuration variables please look at the Configuration manager documentation. Close the configuration dialog.

Now search for the Signal Display box and drag it into the scenario. This box displays the signal it gets on the input. Now connect the two boxes. Click on the signal output (pink arrow) on the Acquisition Client box and drag a connector to the matrix input (green arrow) of the Signal Display box.

Your first scenario is now complete. You can save it for future use.

Run the acquisition and the scenario

Return to the Acquisition Server application. Click on Connect and Play buttons. This will start sending the data over network.

Go back to the Designer application and press the Play button in the toolbar. A window should appear showing the signal received from the Acquisition Server. To stop the scenario press the Stop button in the toolbar.

To build more complex scenarios please look at our OpenViBE Example Scenarios tutorials. The full list of available boxes is available in our Doxygen Documentation.

Using real devices

After you have the tutorial working with artificial data, you can try to change the Driver in the Acquisition Server to correspond to a real device you have (a brief summary of the steps). In that case make sure the device is connected and powered on before starting the Acquisition Server.

Enjoy using OpenViBE!

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