Hands On: Rift Oculus VR Headset

Not only was this the coolest thing I saw at CES, but it is perhaps the coolest thing I've ever seen. As someone who has always been interested in the idea of ​​VR helmets, heartbreaking and always disappointed by the reality of VR helmets, I admit I made a rare (for me) THESE meeting on a lark. I heard something about their Kickstarter success, but honestly, I thought it would just be more of the same.

I was wrong. Not sure I've never been more wrong. Even at this stage prototype handmade, the Rift is amazing.

There's a scene in The Matrix where Neo first steps taken in the matrix after leaving the red pill. The screen becomes all warpy zooooom and suddenly it is elsewhere. This is not much of an exaggeration to say that this is what is placed on the Rift Oculus. Lenses, holding a promise distorted what lies beyond, rise to your face. At the same time blocks to hide the visual reality, the virtual is accurate ... Suddenly I found myself in a medieval square. Knights in armor stood nearby. Joseph Chen, director Oculus "Senior Product Manager, gives me a lever. It's weird, because it goes invisible (to me) in the real world, touching my hands in the real world, all the time I'm looking for a fruit stand and a guy in black armor. I look around, the view followed my movements so precisely, it feels quite natural. I pass another food stall, naturally looking down when I pass. I take the city as I would in real life, checking architecture, corners, panoramic views.

Switch game. The familiar sights and sounds of Unreal Tournament. Joseph told me that most people take 3 minutes or more to get the hang of it. It takes me less than 1. I mention this because I boast. Management and strafing are made with the joystick. But the goal ... oh aiming. Watch and learn. Not aim and shoot. The enormous benefits of the mouse and keyboard, users have more controller FPS players waving back to the order of magnitude better precision possible with a mouse on a gamepad. Rift seems a level beyond the mouse. He goes further, reflexes of the past and a certain level of instinct. As "CRAP this thing goes to my face" instinct.

Why Rift is so good, and why it is so much better than all the above, the speed, accuracy and realism of monitoring. This is why primary characteristics do not do justice. Specifications are the old virtual reality systems to justify their crappy tracking. You can paste a B & W TV in the Rift helmet and experience would be better than any attempt to VR that came before.

So early, So Good

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What is perhaps most surprising about how good the experience of Rift Oculus is, how it overshadows the start of pre-production hardware. The LCD screen of this prototype was the worst garbage LCD, with tons of motion blur. SDK version is shipping in March will have a much better screen. The consumer version, they expect to use a better screen with better pixel density. Think about how fast the screens of cell phones have gotten better and higher resolution, and you have an idea of ​​what they will be able to do.

And this is the genius of the Rift. They use off-the-shelf parts. Thank you to the iPhone, accelerometers cost a tiny fraction of what they were. Even with small LCD high resolution.

I was thinking I have to pay about $ 1,000 for a consumer version, and be happy about it. Then I discovered they strive $ 300. Take my money.

Bottom line

I guess it comes down to this: Rift Oculus is virtual reality, we have been promised since the dawn of video games, and really, the first days of science fiction. He jumps past all other attempts of technology and moves in the field of immersion. The feeling is so natural that it's easy to suspend disbelief that you are standing here in this world. And it is with LCD prototype of shit and early pre-pre-pre-production software and drivers.

When this thing finally ships, with a better screen (possibly a dream boy for OLED?), And a lot of software available, it could be a radical change in the game and who knows what else. If at all interesting to you, no doubt to see these guys: OculusVR.com.
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