New Oculus Rift Prototype Includes Positional Tracking Camera

New Oculus Rift Prototype Includes Positional Tracking Camera

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey claims the extra hardware won't significantly increase the final price of the unit.

Oculus has unveiled the latest prototype of its Rift virtual-reality headset at this year's CES. The new prototype, dubbed "Crystal Cove," will feature a full OLED display, that features low persistence for less motion blur, as well as a positional tracking camera that will come bundled with the headset. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey said that despite these additions, the consumer price of the unit won't significantly increase, as being affordable is the company's number one goal.

"Cost has always been at the crux of the entire Oculus platform, if the hardware is not affordable, it might as well not exist. We made sure this is a low-cost solution without sacrificing any quality."

Nate Mitchell, the VP of Product at Oculus, told Polygon a little more about the positional tracking camera. The camera will be included in the cost of the hardware, and will not be a separate purchase. It will add an extra three degrees of movement to the Rift, allowing the player to move their head in 3D space.

As for the OLED, Luckey said that "[the] new OLED panel in the prototype switches in well under a millisecond, so it's faster than any LCD monitor on the market," but didn't offer any additional details on what resolution the screen will have.

"Low persistence is really, really important. It's probably the most important thing we're showing. It doesn't sound really exciting... but it's incredible the difference low persistence makes," Luckey added. "You really have to see it. It's mind-blowing."

On the one hand I can respect the company's decision to make sure the Rift is absolutely 100% perfect before putting it out there, but on the other hand I want one now!

Source: Polygon


I definitely get what you're feeling in that last sentence! I have been holding off on buying the dev unit for too long now.

At first I was a bit baffled as to why one would want head tracking at all, what sort of game is going to have a real purpose for knowing the position of your head?

But then I realized, Hmm, maybe the position of the head could be used for moment? (Lean head forward to walk forward, etc..). Sure as hell beats using a fancy treadmill unless you really want to push for a full VR experience (I don't, nor do I have anywhere to put one of those damn things nor want to spend money on one).

Of course, having a head tracker like this means I'll likely be at my desk with a controller or keyboard anyways, so the need for additional tools to control movement might be pointless... Whatever.

This will actually add to the VR feel since head tracking can be implemented as camera controls and if the final headset has those tracking dots it will be far more accurate than any dumb consumer 3D camera. I not terribly excited about this thing, but I just hope they come up with a final product before their budget does run out. I doubt it will happen since John Carmack isn't a show off and everyone there has more self control, but there's this thought in the back of my mind of the last time an Id veteran left the company to work on the next big hyped up thing in games and kept getting sidetracked.

Also, at least this camera doesn't make the deal cost an extra $100 and might actually make the Rift better. Sorry, Kinnect, but you belong at the workstation of a tinkerer with great ideas try on you not in the living room peering into my soul judging how to make M$ more money.

I wager the resolution will be capped at 1080.

Right now the dev kit is $300US, with plans to make it cheaper. Even at 300 it would still be cheaper than most monitors currently on the market.

At first I was a bit baffled as to why one would want head tracking at all, what sort of game is going to have a real purpose for knowing the position of your head?

Any of them that wants to feel like you are looking into a virtual space.

It's not for a specific gameplay feature, but for more complete immersion.

With a picture filling your whole fiel of view, you would be constantly moving around your head instinctively. Directional tracking takes care of the basic head turns, so you won't feel like there is a static screen strapped to your face, but a 360° VR world surrounding you.

With that taken care of, the world would feel real enough that you would occasionally want to slightly recoil from a shock, lean forward to inspect something that you can barely make out, or twitch sideways. In those cases, even with directional tracking, the illusion would hurt, because the picture would stay static as you lean, reminding you that it is just a picture, and worst case, causing nausea.

Just imagine that while reading this, you once leaned backwards in your chair, and your vision didn't change at all. It's not like there is any USE for leaning while browsing the Internet, but lacking the ability would still be confusing as hell.

I had the opportunity to try out a prototype of the Oculus Rift and I was amazed. I am content this addition will only make it better. I am looking forward to a release.

While the camera is fine for head tracking while playing a flight sim or something else that has you sitting in a stationary position, what about people that want the full VR experience and spring for something like a Virtuix Omni? I love my TrackIR and it works amazing for what it is, but range of motion is pretty limited and I don't see how the Rift camera could be much better.

I'm really excited for this device and maybe this will end up working fine, but I was hoping for a solution more suited to full VR than a head tracking camera. Guess we'll just have to see how it plays out.


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