Oculus Rift's latest prototype tackles simulator sickness, adds positional tracking

At CES, Oculus unveiled "Crystal Cove," the latest version of its Rift headset.


It may have the financial backing to make a commercial product, but Oculus is still experimenting with prototypes. At CES, the company unveiled "Crystal Cove," the latest version of its Rift headset. While the headset has been improved upon over the previous months--most notably adding 1080p displays--there's still room for improvement, especially as the company attempts to solve the riddle of "simulator sickness."

The latest headsets showcased in Las Vegas feature new AMOLED screens featuring "low persistence," which supposedly reduces motion blur, a factor in simulator sickness. Latency has been reduced to 30 milliseconds, getting close to the 20 millisecond "holy grail" mentioned to Wired.

One of the key new features is positional tracking, which lets users lean and move in the game by simply moving their head. It's enabled by an externally-mounted camera that keeps track of small LED lights on the headset--conceptually similar to how motion capture works, perhaps.

Of course, Rift is still evolving as a product, and the prototype is "not at all representative of the final consumer look and feel," says CEO Brendan Iribe. "Once we feel like something is good enough and we're confident we’ll be able to ship it with the consumer product, we feel good about announcing it."

Andrew Yoon was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

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