Oculus Rift: Virtual Reality Begins Here
The Oculus Rift is the first consumer-targeted virtual reality headset, developed and marketed by Oculus, a company owned by Facebook.
The Rift has an OLED display, 1080×1200 resolution per eye, a 90 Hz refresh rate, and 110° field of view. It provides a 3D audio effect, as well as positional and rotational tracking.
The positional tracking system, called the Constellation tracking system allows the user to use the Rift while sitting, standing, or walking around the room. This tracking is precise, low-latency, and sub-millimeter accurate.
The 7-inch screen also makes the stereoscopic 3D no longer 100% overlapping, the left eye seeing extra area to the left and the right eye seeing extra area to the right. The field of view is more than 90 degrees horizontal, and 110 degrees diagonal. The image for each eye is shown in the panel as a barrel distorted image that is then corrected by a pincushion effect which is created by lenses in the headset, generating a spherical-mapped image for each eye.
For the Rift to work it must be connected by a cable to a PC running Microsoft Windows that has the capability to run the Rift’s software. This computer should be equipped with a powerful GPU at least equivalent to a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 or AMD R9 290, and a CPU at least equivalent to Intel i5-4590. Oculus has produced its own line of Oculus-ready PCs that already meet the system requirements. Bundles consisting of both PC and Rift headset are available.
When the user puts on the Rift while no other content is being output to the headset, the default environment is Oculus Home which allows the user to launch VR applications they own, see if their friends are using the Rift, and purchase virtual reality content on the Oculus Home store without leaving the headset.
Today’s content for the Rift is developed using the Oculus PC SDK, a free proprietary SDK available for Microsoft Windows. However OSX and Linux support are planned for the future. The Oculus SDK is directly integrated with the popular game engines Unity 5, Unreal Engine 4, and Cryengine.
The Rift is an open platform. Developers do not need any approval or verification to develop, distribute, or sell content for it. They also do not have to pay any licensing fees.
A number of AAA games have already added Rift support and can be played with the Development Kit 2. These games include Project CARS, Elite: Dangerous, Euro Truck Simulator 2, and Dirt Rally, as well as a number of indie games such as Aaaaa! and Ether One. Fans and hobbyists have also modded support for the Rift into several popular titles which allow for extensive low-level modding, including Minecraft and Flight Simulator X.
Oculus is including Oculus Cinema as a free application, which allows the Rift to be used to view conventional movies and videos from inside a virtual cinema environment, giving the user the perception of viewing the content on a cinema sized screen. Oculus Cinema will also have a networked mode, in which multiple users can watch the same video in the same virtual space, seeing each other as avatars and being able to interact and talk to one another while watching the video.
The Rift also offers the opportunity to view 360° 3D videos and virtual reality movies (an entirely new medium). Spherical videos (commonly called 360° videos) can be viewed simply by the user moving their head around. The Rift also opens up the possibility for stereoscopic spherical videos, called 360° 3D videos.
It is widely believed that social applications will be the most popular virtual reality experiences in the long term.
As well as consumer uses, the Rift has attracted significant interest from industry and professional users for productivity enhancement, visualization, and advertising. For instance, a number of architecture firms have been experimenting with using the Rift for visualization and design.
It has been announced that the Norwegian Army has been experimenting with the Rift Development Kit 2 to allow for a greater situational awareness for their staff.
Rift is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Whether you’re stepping into your favorite game, watching an immersive VR movie, jumping to a destination on the other side of the world, or just spending time with friends in VR, you’ll feel like you’re really there.
From the moment you pick up Rift, you’ll feel and see the attention to detail that went into its design and construction. Customizable, comfortable, adaptable, and beautiful, Rift’s technology and design is as remarkable as the experiences it enables.