Rift VR’s Oculus Rift is perhaps the most exciting thing to happen in the realm of videogaming for quite some time. Legendary game designer John Carmack thinks so anyway. Still, actual consumer units are a long way off..and probably longer now, as Rift demos a brand new prototype at CES
Called Crystal Cove, the new prototype is bedecked with little IR beads all over the front, that help increase positional tracking accuracy. Yes, this does mean that the Rift, like many other motion sensing peripherals, will require the use of a camera – but that won;t drive the price of the already expensive system up.
“Cost has always been at the crux of the entire Oculus platform, if the hardware is not affordable, it might as well not exist. We made sure this is a low-cost solution without sacrificing any quality,” Nate Mitchell, the VP of Product at Oculus, told Polygon. “This is a top-notch positional tracking system.”
Silly tracking beads aren’t the only new thing about this new prototype though; it now sports fancy OLED screens, which offer a much better resolution, and a refresh that affords something they’re calling low persistence; the pixels blink on for a very short amount of time.
“Low persistence is really, really important. It’s probably the most important thing we’re showing. It doesn’t sound really exciting… but it’s incredible the difference low persistence makes,” Rift Boss Palmer Luckey said. “You really have to see it. It’s mind-blowing.”
“Our new OLED panel in the prototype switches in well under a millisecond, so it’s faster than any LCD monitor on the market … what we’re doing is we’re taking the image and flashing it on when it’s correct, and only keeping that on for a fraction of a millisecond and then turning it off and then going black until the next pulse,” Luckey continued.
It makes using the Rift a much more comfortable experience, that feels more natural and eliminates much of that jarring judder seen in previous prototypes. Virtual Reality has already come a long way – and I suspect it’ll get much further still this year.
Unfortunately, Rift has no word on when we might see that much anticipated consumer version of the device, or just how much it’ll cost when it does finally become available. I want eyeballs on with the HD prototype of the Rift last year, and it was quite a surreal experience. I can;t wait to see how it’s gotten better.
Last Updated: January 8, 2014