Oculus Reveals 'Half-Dome' VR Headset Prototype at F8 Conference

The prototype HMD device offer a glimpse of where the next generation of VR headsets is heading.

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Hot on the heels of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s public apology tour is the arrival of the F8 conference, an annual developer event for all things Facebook. On the first day of the conference, the company’s VR division, known as Oculus, officially released its new Go headset. The device is low-priced and intended to get the VR experience into as many hands as possible. While this is good for the overall VR ecosystem, enthusiasts are thirsty for the bleeding edge advancements of the technology and Oculus threw these folks a bone during the second day of the F8. The Oculus ‘Half-Dome’ HMD prototype was shown off at the conference and is packed with the latest advancements in VR projection.

Maria Fernandez Guajardo, Head of Product Management, Core Tech at Oculus, explained that her job was to “help take the research that’s happening within the company and turn it into practical building blocks for future projects.” The ‘Half-Dome’ HMD is the latest fruit of the Oculus research, sporting a 140-degree field of view (the Oculus Rift only has 110-degree field of view), varifocal displays, and some form of eye tracking.

The wider field of view appears to be the result of the use of Fresnel lenses. To help assist in making near-field objects appear sharper and in better focus, the headset uses an active varifocal displays. These displays physically move within the headset to provide the best possible image, likely with the help of eye tracking. Guajardo said that the system is silent and will be imperceptible to the end user. There was no mention of any specific upcoming products that will incorporate these advancements, but seeing the technology at work will give many VR enthusiasts reason for excitement.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

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