We've got an Oculus Rift in the office, and - while a truly impressive piece of kit - it's a headset filled with caveats. The resolution is low, the motion can be nausea inducing, and, after spending enough time in its chamber of isolation, you'll probably emerge to find co-workers have stuck a crude knob drawing to your monitor . Beyond the development kit, though, Oculus VR have been introducing increasingly promising solutions and features as it works towards a commercial version.
First there was the HD version , and now at CES 2014, they've announced a new prototype called Crystal Cove. It features a low-persistence OLED display, designed to make the device more comfortable for users by reducing motion blur and 'smearing'. The new device can also better track your movements, thanks to a camera that detects infra-red dots that have been placed across the headset. Now able to track you in 3D space, it enables the Rift to, for instance, register crouches and leans.
The Oculus dev kit uses an LCD display, as anyone who's strapped it directly onto their face will know. The new OLED displays naturally run at a lower latency, but, in typical Oculus style, also is specially created for low-persistence. "In the past," Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe told Wired , "people would have to stop moving to stare at something. With low persistence, you can continue to stare at an object or read text while you're moving your head."
Despite the promise of the new tech, it's still a prototype, and its final design and application are all subject to change. It's exciting to see the thing progress from an already strong starting point, but it would be nice to have some idea of what, where and when the Rift will finally be released to the public.