Oculus Rift in a nutshell

I had the chance to quickly test the Oculus Rift and I want to let you know if the rumors are right.

Ocu what?!?

Wikipedia says: The Oculus Rift is an upcoming virtual reality head-mounted display. It is being developed by Oculus VR, who have raised $16 million, of which $2.4 million was raised with crowdfunding via Kickstarter. ... 

The kit consists of to devices. The control box and the headset.

So you have a device (headset) on your head where each eye sees another image of a screen. This is giving you the feeling that you are within a 3D room. The head rotation is measured and send to the computer (just rotation, no translation).

You do have a device (control box) which is connected to the computer using HDMI/DVI and a USB Interface. The device has a cable which is connected to the google. You need special software to render the image for the rift but basically it is a regular HDMI/DVI output. The movement from the head is send to the computer using USB. All in one relatively simple.

If you are e.g. short sighted there are different lenses you could put in the headset.

Ok but is it really that good?

Well. If you do expect the ultimate virtual reality experience I have to disappoint you. At least the version I tested had a poor resolution. You could see the pixels and the lines in between. BUT this is something you forget very fast because you have an incredible field of vision (its like you wearing a ski-goggle) and also the movement of your head is processed with a low latency. I was wearing the Rift for at least 10 Minutes but had absolutely no sickness or dizziness. It feels very authentic. The Rift will be released to the public in 2014 but there are already a lot of adaptations for current applications. Also they announced that the final version will have a higher resolution.

I definitely want one!

Update 2018

Bought a DK1 some time ago, build a crane : http://www.barth-dev.de/projects/software/oculus-rift-crane/

Bought another one for the university (project still top secret 😉 )

and found a nice page about VR: https://www.bananatic.com/blog/virtual-reality-guide

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About Thomas Barth

Thomas Barth, born 1986, is a german teaching fellow and Ph.D. student. He studied electrical engineering in Darmstadt, Frankfurt and Helsinki and worked 7 years in industry automation before he switched to embedded systems and microelectronics. To read more about him, click here.