These Oculus Rift guys are just crushing it. As I have mentioned previously I worked with Virtual Reality technology about 15 years ago and it was pretty bad. The promise is amazing but the technology was just not ready yet.
The white dots on the surface of the Crystal Cove prototype in the image above are actually tiny infrared LEDs that send out signals visible to a camera specially designed by Oculus. This data is integrated with the gyroscope data that’s been in previous Rift prototypes to track your head’s absolute position and orientation as you crane your neck and lean forward, back, and side to side.
It’s hard to overstate just how much this changes the Rift virtual reality experience.
Optical tracking like they are doing just didn’t exist 15 years ago at a reasonable cost. It does add a huge amount of realism over just orientation sensors. It just blows me away that they are saying they want to ship these VR headsets for only $300!! Another innovation they are using are OLED displays. These don’t require backlights so they are much thinner, lower power and much cooler. I remember our VR helmet was heavy but also hot. Your eyes started to sweat after wearing them a while heh heh.
Very cool technology!! At $300 I bet a lot of these end up under the tree for Christmas 2014. I’ve always felt that the most effective learning experience is doing something yourself. You might not always get the chance but VR might be a good substitute.