The Oculus Rift: Implications and Possibilities

Uploaded by Prelucid on 02.08.2012

Yesterday, the Oculus Rift went live on Kickstarter, quickly surpassing its funding goal
and proving that there's an audience for immersive 3D head mounted displays.
Now... I personally have a long history with virtual and augmented reality.
Back in 2002, I first began experimenting with total immersion
using a self-made one-screen HMD,
and tied it into camera tracking as well.
Since this was long before the Wii, Kinect, Playstation Eye and Eyetoy,
we didn't have a lot to work with. Back then we used SD cameras connected to our computers,
Max/MSP software, and the only portable and
affordable version of a mini screen was the PSOne LCD.
Even with those drawbacks, our projects were a success.
The first project put you in a bloody room, with loud sounds
heard past the rusty door through the HMD's speakers.
In addition to first-person viewing, you could also have
an outer body experience by seeing yourself from the top.
The other 2 projects were a haunted house and a skydiving simulator.
Knowing just how immersive and surreal virtual reality can be,
it really depends on the content creator to make that worthwhile.
From a developer perspective,
adding this functionality to any first person game will not
be much work at all.
It will be implemented into the Unity and Unreal Engines,
and the SDK will make it painless for any developer to implement.
All we are doing is rendering a second camera for a 3D effect,
and warping the image in order to accommodate
the lens' natural effect in the peripheral.
Anyone saying that this is the next hype machine is entitled to their opinion.
3D immersion really hasn't taken off because the tech is too expensive
and uncomfortable to use for long periods of time.
It can be graphic intensive.
3D video glasses are typically flawed in many noticeable ways.
I had purchased the latest entry by Sony,
the HMZ-T1
and it really did not live up to expectations
for technical reasons more than anything.
Of the most notable problems with Sony's device,
what stood out to me the most was the field of view
being so far off that it really seemed like I was staring at a screen
in a dark room as opposed to being there.
The other issues were related to discomfort,
the rim of the lens reflecting light,
and OLEDs themselves showing some manufacturing flaws.
Really, those of us who are truly interested in this technology
are the ones noticing the most important flaws,
including latency issues.
As for the Rift, it's incredibly important right now
that it goes into the hands of developers so we can begin
creating the content as well as helping to sort out
issues before it reaches consumers.
As an optional peripheral to more traditional content
that supports it, and possibly opening up the way
for more immersive interaction in digital worlds,
a device like the rift has the capability to breathe new life
into video games and movies.
It's only the beginning of virtual reality.
One step closer to a working holodeck.
What we know of the Rift prototypes so far is that it
uses a 1280x800 resolution screen split into 640x800 pixels per eye.
It has a 90 degree horizontal field of view and works well
integrated with low latency head tracking.
It's also very light.
Many people have shown concern about how the device will look or perform,
but this Kickstarter item is really only intended to help
launch the later consumer product by first getting it in the hands of developers.
Of what Palmer Luckey has hinted to,
the consumer product may support 1080p per eye
(that's 3 times the detail of the developer kit)
and by the time it is available,
developers will have the content to support it.