This is a great time for video game fans and tech geeks. Apple’s WWDC came and went, Oculus had their pre-E3 event, and E3 is on the horizon. There’s a lot of new content and product releases here, but today was dominated by a single product: The Oculus Rift.
What is Oculus?
Oculus is a relatively young company that produces a single product, the Oculus Rift. The rift is a virtual reality headset that allows for a user to be completely immersed in a virtual world. The application of this technology is virtually (ha.) endless, ranging from video gaming to 3D modeling software, to virtual desktops to organize your workspace.
The device works through a special camera tracking IR diodes mounted on the Oculus Rift headset. Software translates the movement of these diodes into movement within a game or other virtual program.
The company started with a Kickstarter project in 2012 but has since evolved into a huge company that was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion in March of 2014.
The event itself
Oculus revealed the final consumer version (CV1) of the headset at their special live-streamed pre-E3 event today.
The final design of the virtual reality headset was revealed. The headstraps have been optimized so that the device feels like it “goes away” once you put it on your head. The company confirmed that two small screens will sit in front of two special lenses that will provide a 3d effect to the screen’s output.
The company also announced a partnership with Microsoft, and will be bundling an Xbox One controller with every Oculus Rift. Microsoft will also support Xbox One game streaming to the rift through a virtual theater application, placing your 2d game in a 3d simulated home theater.
Oculus also revealed a special virtual reality control solution called “Oculus Touch.” These lightweight controllers will allow for a user’s hands to be tracked within the virtual world. Virtual reality input is hard, but Oculus really thinks they got this one right.
Why does this matter?
Many people see virtual reality as a huge potential market. The idea of virtual reality has come and gone, but nobody has been able to get it right up until this point. Oculus really thinks that they’re going to be able to bring true virutal reality to market with their first consumer-ready device.
The eventual application of this technology could be ground-breaking. Certain industries such as architecture would greatly benefit from a great virtual reality device. Imaging a product that would allow you to create a simulated desktop, with as many screens as you could ever need on which to do your work.
Oculus stated that their headset will be released “Q1 2016” and their hand tracking device will come out “H1 2016”. Nerds everywhere are salivating. We just can’t wait.
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