Oculus Demos Pre-Production Rift HMD

By Chris Chinnock
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Oculus was at I/ITSEC to show offs the new GearVR from Samsung (with support from Oculus) and the new Rift headset that will be launched by Oculus in Q1’16. The exact date has not been set, nor the pricing, however.

We got a chance to try the new Oculus headset. At CES they called this “Crescent Bay”. Now, it is simply called VV1 for consumer version one. The demo area is a small room with two sensors mounted about head high in the front of the room. These are used to track the headset and hand controllers (wands), which are studded with IR emitters.

Oculus says the CV1 will be offered two ways: one will be the headset and one sensor and the second adds the two wands and a second sensor. The second sensor is needed to track the complex wand movements in 3D.

For the demo, I was first presented with a menu of 8 games. The first one selected took me to an office-like set up. The wands have a couple of triggers and fit comfortably in each hand. In this case, the wands appeared as virtual hands in the VR environment where I was asked to pick up and move objects using the wands and trigger capabilities. I opened the copier and placed my virtual hand on the glass plate and pressed the copy button. It printed a copy of my virtual hand!

The second demo was a shoot’em’up game set in the old west. Now, my wands appeared as old time six shooters. To reload, I had to rapidly twist my wrist left and right. The game displays a number of targets to shoot with my left and right hand. While this was a 360-degree environment, the action was clearly focused in the front half of the world. It was fun.

Image quality is very good, but you can still see some pixel structure and aliasing on edges and more detailed structures. I did not notice any objectionable image smear of tracker latency, which is hugely important.