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New Oculus Rift Prototype Features Head Tracking, Reduced Motion Blur, HD AMOLED

Unknown Lamer posted about 10 months ago | from the metaverse-not-included dept.

Displays 156

crabel writes "The Oculus rift prototype Crystal Cove shown at CES uses a camera to track over two dozen infrared dots placed all over the headset. With the new tracking system, you can lean and crouch because the system knows where your head is in 3D space, which can also help reduce motion sickness by accurately reflecting motions that previously weren't detected. On top of that, the new 'low persistence' display practically removes motion blur." The new low-persistence AMOLEDs also achieve 1920x1080 across the field of vision. Reports are that immersion was greatly enhanced with head tracking.

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I didn't have much faith in this project.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897379)

..until John Carmack left id software to work on it.

Re:I didn't have much faith in this project.. (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 10 months ago | (#45898139)

Have you ever tried it? I've been working with the devkit and that's fantastic (until the nose bleeds start at 30 minutes).

Cool, so can I use it yet? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897437)

I feel like they've been talking about this for 2 years now and I've heard about 3-4 different versions of this thing which are "coming soon (tm)."

Just stop hyping the damn thing if you're not going to release it relatively soon. By the time this thing comes out for real, everyone will be tired of hearing about it already, like some awful, over-pushed summer blockbuster movie.

Re:Cool, so can I use it yet? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897451)

Oculus Rift Forever

Re:Cool, so can I use it yet? (2)

Rhaban (987410) | about 10 months ago | (#45897473)

https://www.oculusvr.com/order/ [oculusvr.com]

It’s not the definitive product, but you can try it if you want.

never gonna happen (1, Insightful)

Thud457 (234763) | about 10 months ago | (#45897541)

perfect is the enemy of good.
Carmack will keep dinking around with this and never ship a product. They should just get version 1.0 out the door and start working on 2.0. Instead, they're already on version three or four hand haven't sold one unit.

Re:never gonna happen (1)

somersault (912633) | about 10 months ago | (#45897577)

I'm not sure what you're talking about with "haven't sold one unit". Or do you not count the development kits?

Re:never gonna happen (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897625)

Probably he doesn't and he got a fair point here.

Re:never gonna happen (2, Funny)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 10 months ago | (#45898465)

No he doesn't, and you badly misspelled "has."

Re:never gonna happen (4, Insightful)

Ultra64 (318705) | about 10 months ago | (#45897591)

This is the second version, and they've sold thousands of units. I have one.

Re:never gonna happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897703)

Is it any good?

Re:never gonna happen (4, Informative)

Stele (9443) | about 10 months ago | (#45898063)

The resolution could use some improvement (and has for the real release) but the tracking is AMAZING. It really feels like you are immersed completely in a 3D world. It works best in environments where your movement is decoupled completely from vision (driving and flying simulators). I've never experienced motion sickness in my entire life but 20 minutes in Half Life got me feeling quite queezy.

Re:never gonna happen (3, Informative)

lordofthechia (598872) | about 10 months ago | (#45898389)

20 minutes in Half Life got me feeling quite queezy

And I believe this is why the consumer version has been delayed. They've identified possible sources for the VR nausea (lag, lack of head *position* tracking) and are working to resolve them.

I'm OK with the delays while they iron out these issues as I'd prefer a VR headset that has a lasting market presence to one that is introduced and in bargain bins in 3 months due to wide spread reports of users getting sick with minimal use. That said... I'm am seriously giddy about this thing.

Re:never gonna happen (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#45899563)

If nausea is, at lelalst partly, due to not actually accelerating up and down as you move around, it may ne insurmountable.

Re:never gonna happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897601)

You never had a Dev-Kit. The prototypes are not ready for the consumer. They only give you a glimpse about the future and the Dev a Kit to start development. You can't sell something that make most people motionsick in no time and has nearly no games to use.
With this prototype, they have nearly all features ready for the consumer. Till the end of the year, you will have your consumer kit and it will rock the world.

Re:never gonna happen (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897617)

They aren't going for perfect, but there are several things that it absolutely needs before it is ready. Head tracking tops that list easily. I have one of the earlier prototypes, and the lack is painfully obvious. Plus, core features like that have to be integrated into games, if you are missing it then you will have a compatability break between 1 and 2, which would be very harmful at this stage of affairs. The new display is less nesseccary, but it is something worth improving while they are working on getting other things running.

Depends on your customer (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 10 months ago | (#45897673)

Carmack will keep dinking around with this and never ship a product. They should just get version 1.0 out the door and start working on 2.0.

Have to be careful with that when it comes to technology. You might be quite right but in many cases if the technology isn't sufficiently well developed then then potential customers get pissed off and never come back. This can be true even if you eventually work out the problems. See Apple's Newton for an example. A lot depends on the sort of customers you have and how forgiving they are of rough edges on technology. Consumer electronics customers tend to be not too forgiving in my experience.

I used to do a lot of work with (older) technology like this in my day job. The market for this sort of stuff is surprisingly niche. Military, some industrial prototyping/testing, marketing and in some cases entertainment. It's one of those things that sounds like a good idea but the real world applications are more limited than I would have thought when I first got into VR technologies. Even if the software is easy to use (it usually isn't) there has to be a lot of effort (thus $) put into virtual model development which means that you have a chicken and egg problem. No one wants to develop the software unless there is an installed base of hardware and no one wants to buy the hardware without the software.

Re:never gonna happen (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 10 months ago | (#45897789)

Given that we've had 'imperfect' (read 'downright sucky') VR available to the public essentially without success for over a decade now, I'd say that they have reason to keep polishing.

Whether or not Oculus Rift will be the eventual winner, or whether somebody who polishes faster will get to it first, I have no idea; but shoddy VR implementations are pretty uncompelling except for 5 minutes of novelty use.

Better in theory than practice (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 10 months ago | (#45898071)

Given that we've had 'imperfect' (read 'downright sucky') VR available to the public essentially without success for over a decade now, I'd say that they have reason to keep polishing.

I used to work with technology like this about 10 years ago. Even if it were spectacularly good imaging that isn't really the problem with it. The biggest problem is that most people do not like wearing headsets. Oh, you can get someone to try it out for fun once or twice but after that the novelty wears off quickly for most. You might get some hardcore gamers and technophiles to buy it but I really cannot see this being a mass market item. It's fairly expensive to make, the market size is relatively small, there are a lot of development costs, etc. Don't get me wrong I think it is neat and I wish them the best of luck but I don't see this being interesting to a wide audience.

I have no idea; but shoddy VR implementations are pretty uncompelling except for 5 minutes of novelty use.

Even very good VR implementations are uncompelling except for 5 minutes of novelty use. Somewhat like 3D glasses this is a technology that sounds better on paper than it turns out to be in practice.

Re:Better in theory than practice (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 10 months ago | (#45898189)

One word:

Porn

Even very good VR implementations are uncompelling except for 5 minutes of novelty use.

Five minutes is about all it takes.

Re:Better in theory than practice (2)

bmajik (96670) | about 10 months ago | (#45898297)

I'll tell you what will make Occulus Rift a ton of money.

It needs an additional peripheral. Specifically, something that slides over the male genitalia and has programmable motors, maintains a certain amount of heat, and can be cleaned and lubricated.

Call it a milking machine with a USB port :)

With that peripheral and a VR headset, you have the possibility to make highly immersive pornography.

We've established that porn is the killer app for new technology.

VR porn may be what pushes the development and adoption of consumer VR.

Frankly, I'm shocked that the "milking machine" isn't already a real thing....

Re:Better in theory than practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45898983)

Or they could use the massively amount of available technology and market it for women.
Many women now watch porn.

Re:Better in theory than practice (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 10 months ago | (#45898363)

I think there is a market for maybe five computers in the world.

Re:Better in theory than practice (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 10 months ago | (#45898459)

I can't help seeing a huge similarity between what you are saying and what people said about smartphones, when I was such a geek for carrying around a HP28s / Psion IIIa / Palm Pilot / PocketPC. After decades of slow improvement, something can reach a threshold a suddenly take off.

Re:Better in theory than practice (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 10 months ago | (#45898767)

I can't help seeing a huge similarity between what you are saying and what people said about smartphones, when I was such a geek for carrying around a HP28s / Psion IIIa / Palm Pilot / PocketPC.

I don't remember anyone thinking the potential market for smartphones was a niche market. The problem was that the state of technology didn't allow for a form factor and features with mass appeal. Smartphones were a convergence of several technologies for which there was already a proven demand (phones, PDAs, cameras, personal computers). VR headsets do not enjoy the same situation. Virtually nobody uses them or needs them for any practical purpose today. There are a few incredibly small niche applications in the military and industry. There may be some interest as an entertainment device though the potential market seems limited. I can't see anyone other than hardcore gamers and technophiles buying one of these and even then they won't be able to use it for much more than a few games.

After decades of slow improvement, something can reach a threshold a suddenly take off.

Possible but I don't really see the application that would drive demand. (and before someone brings it up, porn is not the killer app here) The problem with the smartphone was getting the technology to a usable form factor. The potential value and uses were obvious even when it wasn't clear exactly what form it would/should take. The same isn't true for a VR headset. All of the potential uses are very niche and I honestly cannot conceive of any reasonably achievable form factor that would overcome people's objections to wearing them. Something like Google Glass isn't much more than a curiosity to most people and it has FAR more utility and is far less objectionable to wear among the public than a full immersion VR system. I honestly cannot think of a single reason I would buy one of these and I'm someone who as worked directly with this sort of stuff in my professional life.

While I can't deny that maybe someone smarter than me will come up with a form factor that has relatively wide appeal, I'm pretty dubious of it. I've seen a lot of this sort of thing and without some practical application with significant appeal it simply won't be more than a technical curiosity.

Re:Better in theory than practice (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 10 months ago | (#45899339)

It boils down to whether you think Virtual Reality is a viable concept - whether it will displace the ways we currently accomplish things that we deem to be worthwhile.

The immediate appeal of Oculus Rift to me is that I like racing and flight simulators, and I think it will be perfect for that. But the immediate barrier to my buying one is that I have a 15 year old son who already disappears into the Minecraft world for as many hours per day as he is allowed to do so. "Gaming" doesn't even quite cover it; the other day we were trying to get him off Minecraft to come to dinner, and when he came to the table he said he'd been chatting for an hour with another kid because their mutual online friend had just committed suicide. That is very "real" stuff - both because he never would have known these kids outside the game world, and also the role that immersive gaming might have played in a kid's disassociation and depression leading to suicide in the first place (I emphasize "might.")

Already I watch the kids sitting there at the computers like zombies, snacking and picking their noses, not looking up when I enter the room to say "hi." And I dislike the thought that I look just the same way sitting and frittering time away on the computer. Then I imagine the same thing plus an Oculus Rift, so they literally can't see what's happening in the room, and I can't see what they're doing. To me it seems not unlikely, but all too inevitable.

Re:Better in theory than practice (1)

iMadeGhostzilla (1851560) | about 10 months ago | (#45898811)

Agreed -- as a rule, anything that requires people to change their physical behavior (wear something, move in a different way), faces enormous obstacles, unlike changing a mental behavior (e.g. use snapchat instead of instagram or whatever). But it has happened. ... I'm thinking, DDR for example got many people to jump and dance in front of the screen, but it used the kind of movements that didn't deviate much from what the people had been using elsewhere. The headset is a different story though, you never wear one elsewhere.

I too wish them luck and think the humanity has to go through the attempt of doing this right, and if it ends up like something we don't want, at least we've tried it. Now seems like a good time tech-wise and they have good people on board.

Re:never gonna happen (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 10 months ago | (#45899025)

The eMagin HMD from about a decade ago wasn't "downright sucky." It worked great for stereoscopic vision with head-tracking, thought the FOV and resolution were nowhere near those of the Rift. Playing F.E.A.R. on it was immersive and terrifying. The only problem was that Nvidia dropped support for it shortly after release. It would have easily been worth the $1,000 it cost if it had allowed upgrade of the video driver beyond the version that was current when the HMD was released. Instead Nvidia taught me to never depend on them.

Devkits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897851)

That's why they released dev-kits.
It would be a mistake to release the current version as a finished product as the name would suffer major damage.
This way early adapters can play around with it, the developers can get feedback and they don't suffer such high losses during the investment phase.

Re:never gonna happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45898091)

If this one reduced motion blur by that much and added a second dimension of head tracking that sounds like a worthy use of time and effort. Perfect is the enemy of the good is more about people bitching about Teslas being able to burn and ignoring the delta between them an the alternative. Or going down the road of NIH in bureaucracy where they will not allow an activity even though it is significantly better than the alternative.

Re:never gonna happen (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | about 10 months ago | (#45898177)

I disagree, this is a paradigm shift for consumer devices, if you get to the market with something that causes vertigo/nausea in 50% of your users (due to high latency, some people can adapt, some can't) you will have a LOT of bad word of mouth and significantly cut your sales. When it comes to VR now either you do it very very very well, or it's better to not do it at all: I am really glad to see that they are taking their time with this and are going for the lowest amount of latency before shipping.

Re:never gonna happen (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 10 months ago | (#45898193)

In this case though I think they may be right - VR has a bad name that will work against it because of the crappy hardware released in the 80s and 90s. Getting it right (enough) this time could well be the difference between having it take the world by storm, and being just another historical curiosity. And the single biggest weakness with the devkit would seem to be nausea - pretty much everyone agrees it starts fairly quickly, especially in First-person games, and takes a month of two of acclimation to fade. That may be okay for us hard-core gamers, but I'm sure they want our less dedicated friends to try out the headset for a bit and decide they must have one as well, and that's going to require a less painful acclimation curve.

At this point though it sounds like there's not actually much more to be solved in the helmet itself - they've got the higher resolution, faster response screen, and positional tracking to avoid the disorienting disconnect between actual and in-game head movement. I don't see much more they could add to directly improve the experience beyond bringing latency down firmly beneath the perceptual threshold - and if they can't do that with off-the-shelf electronics then I'd say it's time to get this sucker onto the assembly line and start working on the 2.0

On the other hand, if they've managed to source high-speed 4K screens that won't be ready until July, well then I hope they spend the next several months dialing in the remaining details on this version. And having followed all the drama with the Pandora handheld, I really, *really* hope they've got some folks on staff with lots of experience producing consumer electronics, because getting the device finalized is only the first half of the battle.

Re:never gonna happen (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 10 months ago | (#45898659)

You know that every tech company has version n+1 deep in development and version n+2 at the experimental stage in the window before version n ships, right? It's a tendency which is remarkably insensitive to development timescales, be it a yearly phone or a half-decadal console.

Re:never gonna happen (1)

iMadeGhostzilla (1851560) | about 10 months ago | (#45898711)

Carmack ships. He has a track record.

Re:never gonna happen (2)

Dripdry (1062282) | about 10 months ago | (#45898783)

What kind of propaganda are you pushing, who are you working for, or how ignorant are you to not have read seemingly ANYTHING about the Oculus Rift before posting this? The entire idea has been to ship some time in 2014.

More importantly, Carmack just came on and it's not HIS project. If I'm not mistaken he was tapped after the car crash that killed the fellow who was heading this part of the project.

Jeez, seriously, how does this stuff get modded up?

Re:Cool, so can I use it yet? (1)

ledow (319597) | about 10 months ago | (#45897553)

Until I personally can buy it, for money, today, with the option of next day delivery, it doesn't exist.

Pre-orders, etc. do not count under this definition, you'll notice.

Saved me from a lot of junk that never actually arrived (everything from battery technologies, the "never-ending-development" games, to all kinds of fancy hardware and consoles).

Literally, ignore it until you can click "Buy It Now" somewhere.

Re:Cool, so can I use it yet? (1)

Threni (635302) | about 10 months ago | (#45897621)

Personally, next day is too vaporous for me - it's same day, or it's as if it didn't exist.

And I want one in green.

Re:Cool, so can I use it yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897631)

Plug your info in right here (probably not a goatse): https://www.oculusvr.com/order/ [oculusvr.com]

Re:Cool, so can I use it yet? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897777)

Until I personally can buy it, for money, today, with the option of next day delivery, it doesn't exist.

Pre-orders, etc. do not count under this definition, you'll notice.

Saved me from a lot of junk that never actually arrived (everything from battery technologies, the "never-ending-development" games, to all kinds of fancy hardware and consoles).

Literally, ignore it until you can click "Buy It Now" somewhere.

Sounds like you should stop visiting Slashdot and check out Deal Extreme or Thinkgeek or some other page for things that have passed beyond the development stage.
Seriously. Any Slashdot article that might interest you is going to be filled with comments in the style of "How is this news?".

Re:Cool, so can I use it yet? (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 10 months ago | (#45898479)

Literally, ignore it until you can click "Buy It Now" somewhere.

Why are you here? Just sit over at walmart.com clicking reload.

Re:Cool, so can I use it yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897557)

I will not be tired. I had a Dev-Kit and i want to stay informed. Every time they talked about the Rift, they have a new Version with new Features. If you don't want to read about the next big thing, than shut the fuck up and don't read anything about it. We others sell our soul to our new VR-Overlords.

Re:Cool, so can I use it yet? (1)

aiadot (3055455) | about 10 months ago | (#45899583)

They better not lose track of time. Honestly, after seeing the new prototype yesterday I'm stating to think the final product won't be available until 2015. If sony announces and releases a true VR headset for the PS4 this year(not the new HMZ whatever), they'll lose their biggest advantage: being the first to the market. And it's not only sony, valve is reportedly working on a vr headset of their own and there are also castAR, glyph and infinityEye as minor competitors as well.

On a side note why did they even bother showing a prototype at CES anyway? It's not like they need to attract funding and investors anymore. And it's hard to imagine that the CES crowd doesn't know about the rift anyway. At this R&D stage, secrecy is one of the keys for success.

Long term effect (5, Interesting)

BennyB2k4 (799512) | about 10 months ago | (#45897445)

Thinking way out there... but if the Rift catches on, will significantly more brains be trained to cope with motion sickness? Will we be better equipped for space travel? I wonder if it will reduce motion sickness medication sales.

Re:Long term effect (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 10 months ago | (#45897503)

No. Long-term effect is that productivity plummets around the world as there's a collective "shut up and take my money" (from myself included). I want, yesterday!!!

Re:Long term effect (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#45897531)

Think about the people you know who can't read in the car. Reading in the car doesn't make them handle it better next time, they just vomit twice.

Re:Long term effect (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 10 months ago | (#45897665)

Not in my personal experience, while I admit never having asked others.

When I was a kid I couldn't read in a car. After some decades I learned how to avoid the sickness (for me, it has to do with keeping a fraction of my focus on the movement of the car).

I effectively learned how to... "focus only 80% on the text", to be able to read in a car.

Re:Long term effect (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 10 months ago | (#45897803)

Think about the people you know who can't read in the car. Reading in the car doesn't make them handle it better next time, they just vomit twice.

That's a lot like saying that because you can't do a pull-up you'll never be able to do a pull-up. It presumes that a process of adaption through incremental improvements is impossible.

It isn't like reading in the car makes a person vomit immediately, perhaps if they just read for one minute more each day they would get to a point where it wouldn't make them sick. Or maybe it is a matter of the speed of the car, where if they were able to increase speed 1mph each day they would acclimate.

Re:Long term effect (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 10 months ago | (#45897953)

Or perhaps it's like color-blindness, where no amount of "training" will let you reliably distinguish red and green if you weren't born with the appropriate retinal architecture.

Or like holding your breath, where you can improve to a degree with training, but if you try to push beyond a certain limit, you're just giving yourself irreversible brain damage.

I've always assumed that VR sickness is a handicap I'll just have to deal with. I suppose it's possible that I could overcome it with training, but training that repeatedly takes me up to or over the brink of nausea seems really, really unappealing.

Re:Long term effect (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#45898101)

There are genetic, environmental, genetic, congenital, cultural, and mental factors with different levels of relevance for every single human characteristic. Trying to reduce even the most genetic(like colorblindness) to just one factor is going to get some false positives and false negatives.

Re:Long term effect (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#45898113)

oops, that second genetic was supposed to be "epigenetic"

Re:Long term effect (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 10 months ago | (#45898199)

Sure. But there isn't a single human genotype, phenotype, or culture that will let its members thrive at zero partial pressure of oxygen. No matter who you are, you can't hold your breath indefinitely. (At least not without external support.)

Now, I'm pretty sure that susceptibility to VR sickness isn't as predetermined and immutable as oxygen metabolism, or even color-vision defects. I have no idea where it falls on the spectrum, but I'm skeptical of anyone who says "you just need to practice and get over it."

I think that means we agree...?

Re:Long term effect (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#45898231)

Yeah, we agree, and I just like to get that point out any time genetic determinism comes up, because that path leads down a lot of evil roads. That's all.

Re:Long term effect (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 10 months ago | (#45899111)

I think the reality is that we'll fall into three groups. Those with no VR sickness, those who can practice and get over it, and those who will always have VR sickness unless the tracking latency gets down to a few milliseconds.

Re:Long term effect (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 10 months ago | (#45898247)

There is no training to "overcome" motion sickness. The arrogance, and lack of understanding of the problem is going to make the vomit helmets so much fun to watch. There is a genetic predisposition to get past motion sickness which is why British tend to handle it better, and Asians tend not to. Ballerinas technically "adapt" to the spin that normally causes motion sickness, but it's just a trick. They learn to lock their eyes on a distant object though a portion of the spin. You screw up the trick and you get a dizzy ballerina. Which is why you always see a Ballerina keep they head locked in one position and quickly whip it around. The same trick is for sailors. Just look at the horizon for a bit and the brain will regain it's balance. Not possible on a Sub though underway, and it's not possible if your not able to see the real horizon like with the Oculus Rift. You can take your dramamine, but personally I don't like being drowsy when I play games. You can get lucky and be British and not have a sever case of motion sickness. Or you can avoid things that make you sick like the rest of us.

Re:Long term effect (4, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 10 months ago | (#45899007)

There is no training to "overcome" motion sickness.

NASA disagrees. [discovery.com]

"Previous studies have shown the training can enhance tolerance of motion sickness in 80 percent of the participants within six hours of training, notes NASA in a summary of the Navy study."

Re:Long term effect (0)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 10 months ago | (#45899607)

Show me actual experimental results. Your link actually states -

The experiments didn't get too far, in part because the training required making astronauts sick enough on rotating chair tests so they could learn to master their body's responses.

When your only successes are people who's careers depend on being able to "handle" the situation your going to get slightly different results. I can certainly force vomit back down my own throat if I had to. It doesn't mean I've overcome it. Just that I'm tolerating the discomfort.

Motion sickness (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 10 months ago | (#45898325)

It isn't like reading in the car makes a person vomit immediately, perhaps if they just read for one minute more each day they would get to a point where it wouldn't make them sick.

There are very very few people who would go to that effort in this case. 99.999% of people would get motion sick once and then never use the device again. Since it is for entertainment purposes primarily what would be the point?

Re:Long term effect (2)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 10 months ago | (#45898121)

I don't know about that. While I do realise this is an anecdote, and I can't rule out physiological changes, I do recall suffering a lot from motion sickness as a child (travelling in the back seat and messing with my brothers limited my view of the outside of the vehicle, causing the motion sickness) but after a lifetime of playing games, reading books (with breaks whenever I felt sickness coming on) I've found that the length of time i can go before any motion sickness kicks in gets longer and longer. I can easily now watch a full movie hunkered down in the back seat without feeling sick.

I can't say whether it's a natural thing for you to be dulled to this as you get older, or whether I've trained myself not to get motion sick, but I feel like it is something you can get used to.

Hell, we've all heard about people "getting their sea legs" when their body just gives up trying to coordinate what it sees to what the inner ear tells it and after time you stop feeling sea sick. I have not tried the Rift (or any VR headset) but I hope that when I do I should be able to use it fine. I think I'd make a good test case, as someone who is prone to motion sickness, but who has 'overcome' it to see if the VR headset will require retraining or not.

Re:Long term effect (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 10 months ago | (#45898735)

I couldn't read in the car for years, I'd just get a big headache and feel sick. Then I started having to take the bus to university, 30 minutes both ways, for 3-5 days a week. It took me a few months but I adapted and now I can read anywhere just fine. So yes, you can most certainly adapt.

Re:Long term effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897607)

Based on personal experience and experimentation on friends it seems that regular travel based motion sickness and "vr sickness" isn't entirely related. Friends who get regular motion sickness all the time did fine in my Rift and some of us who have never had motion sickness in our lives got VR sick. It wasn't a complete reversal though as some from both camps overlapped. Based on what I've seen regarding it we have to just entirely forget any connection between motion sickness and being uncomfortable during VR. It's probably an entirely different part of the brain/inner ear that is affected by the experience.

Looking forward to trying it with proper positional tracking though as I think that was what triggered it the most for some of my friends. That and badly coded demos (not mine).

Re:Long term effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45898313)

They are related you're just unaware that there are 3 types of motion sickness.

Re:Long term effect (1)

cmonkey_1973 (844398) | about 10 months ago | (#45897993)

Or, motion sickness becomes darwinianly (it's a word. Now. Shut up.) more prevalent as those who can't plug into the Rift and have sex with Virtual Jennifer Lawrence are the only ones left breeding...

Can't wait (1)

mvar (1386987) | about 10 months ago | (#45897507)

I really hope this doesn't turn out to be what the 3D trend has become for movies. Contrary to other past attempts for VR headsets, now there's both the hardware and the knowledge available to build something revolutionary that actually *works*. Plus JC is on-board so expectations are very high.

Re:Can't wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897639)

3D died on the vine, as this will too. Most people who invested in TV sets regret their purchase [ibtimes.co.uk] and for movies it's just a gimmick for them to charge more, much like cable TV and satellite companies used to add a 'HD surcharge' to your bill and it never went away. Now everything is HD, and we're still paying that damned surcharge.

Re:Can't wait (1)

prelelat (201821) | about 10 months ago | (#45898493)

That seems a little cynical don't you think? More and more movies are coming out that have a 3D showing if you look I would guess you would notice it trending up for blockbusters and kid movies. I will give you that it doesn't work well at home because passive TVs have been until recently, rare. Passive 3D tv and projectors are also quite expensive right now but watch and I bet you will see a slow trend towards more people buying them as the technology becomes more reasonably priced.

Saying the Oculus is a passing fad is bordering on being a troll, are you a troll? It's more than 3D it makes using your computer an immersed environment. It's like saying TV screens for radio are a silly idea, it brings something that people have been craving for decades. To be right in the action. Think of how much you get into a game and think how much more enjoyable it would be if you could look around, see enemies and depth. Adjust your shots based on distance. Go explore places and feel like you are seeing it as though you are there. Explore 3D models of cars, planes and so on. If they can finish working out the kinks(this article suggests they have made a major leep in doing so) I would snap one up in a heartbeat.

Re:Can't wait (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 10 months ago | (#45899235)

3d is what it always had been. Height, width, and depth. In movies people complain that you can't refocus, and that means it it not 3d. Well, you also can't look at anything not in frame either, even if it just was in frame- you ser and focus on what the director wanted.
Such people generally say it has to be a hologram to qualify for the 3d label.
But what you pointed out is we will have a new intermediate level. Better than 3d, but no eye tracking for refocus. Immersive 3d. Maybe eye tracking for reasons other than focus.
And yet another intermediate, immersive with refocus. It will work for just the user.
And finally, we might get to holograms. My point is we are going to need to agree on terms so we can talk intelligently without constant clarification.

Re:Can't wait (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 10 months ago | (#45897735)

Plus JC is on-board

I thought Jesus was my co-pilot. Two-timing bitch...

Re:Can't wait (4, Interesting)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 10 months ago | (#45898381)

I've watched 10+ movies in the cinema in 3D, including Avatar, The Hobbit, Star Trek Into Darkness and Gravity in IMAX and a range of others in regular 3D. As many other people will tell you Gravity and Avatar are a different class of 3D movie to everything else. As for the rest, I can easily tell they used 3D as a gimmick. You got the odd spear/bee/shrapnel flying out at you from the screen to remind you that the movie was 3D, because frankly for all else, you can easily forget it/not notice it.

However, I have also played computer games in 3D. The difference between a game and a movie is that the movie chooses specific things to show you in 3D. In a game, they simply render EVERYTHING from 2 viewpoints and transmit that to each eye. I played Crysis 2 on the XBOX360 and was blown away by how it (I really dread to say) added a new dimension to the game. The HUD was rendered to be right up in your face and everything was at not just varying, but the RIGHT depth behind it. Far away monsters were far away, close up were close up and everything in between had it's own natural place. If you had water splash it felt real. It didn't feel like your vision had simply been blurred, it felt like something had actually blocked you, it was there, real.

I also have an account from a guild mate who played WoW in 3D and wonders how he ever managed to play it flat before, all the players now seemed like they were actually standing in places in relation to eachother, and he wonders what would happen if WoW had player collision seen in other games, because when viewed in 3D it looked so horrendously wrong for one player to be standing in the sprite of another, shattering the complex illusion of realness by the 3D effect.

There is so much other than simple games that the Rift could be used for. I paraphrase Palmer Luckey when I say "The reason [Palmer] had chosen to make the rift the way I have, is to make a device that doesn't strive for perfection in one area, and falls down in others. I wanted to make something that was good enough in as many areas as possible, and be affordable, so that we can get it out to people. It is not until people have it, and start using it, that we'll know what it can be used for". He may have mentioned the Kinect as an example of something made for one use, being put to many unforeseen other uses.

You could use a HD version of google streetview to record famous places and locations. Then people could explore them without having to make the trip there. You could use them for 3D conference calls (imagine using a future version of FaceRig to make the Rift Headset disappear). The problem is that there's not enough of these out there for inventors to invent with just now.

What people are thinking this could be used for is only the tip of the iceberg. The reality might turn out to be so much more than first though.

Shut up and take my money (1)

xtal (49134) | about 10 months ago | (#45897515)

I've wanted one of these since I played around with an early unit from VIO, I think, in 1996.

Please, pretty please, ship this. Stat.

Re:Shut up and take my money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897661)

They are shipping the Dev Kits RIGHT NOW. Really, you can buy one RIGHT NOW. Now it will not magically appear on your head the moment you press the Order button so I'm sure it does not exist for some people.
And It will not be the final version, you are buying a dev kit. But $300 and the ability to get it in a few weeks. What the fuck are you waiting for?

Re:Shut up and take my money (1)

xtal (49134) | about 10 months ago | (#45897881)

I wear glasses... Not an option for me, unfortunately. The lenses they provide are pretty kludgey.

I will get LASIK if required for the commercial version.. they need to ship it, stat.

Re:Shut up and take my money (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 10 months ago | (#45897995)

You should get lasik anyways. I did a couple years ago, and it was some of the best money I've ever spent.

Re:Shut up and take my money (1)

prelelat (201821) | about 10 months ago | (#45898505)

I would buy one right now but it always seems like the retail version is just around the corner. i would rather wait and get a model with tracking and a better screen. I can hardly stop myself from getting the dev model, but I know I won't be able to justify getting the retail one when it comes out then.

Re:Shut up and take my money (2)

xtal (49134) | about 10 months ago | (#45898739)

I don't care what the retail one costs.. it's not just the HMD; you can find very high end HMD units and they're awesome - it's the integration into all the games that makes this irresistible.

Re:Shut up and take my money (1)

AJH16 (940784) | about 10 months ago | (#45897975)

Agreed, I will certainly buy one if the price is at all affordable. I've been waiting for a good, motion tracking headset since the old iGlasses display that came out and worked with MechWarrior 2 in DOS. Resolution has been my main stopper since then, but this has not only the resolution, but a giant leap forward in tracking.

AMOLED means blacks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897641)

They missed something. AMOLED screens also mean the thing now has ultra contrast and the ability to do pitch black, that is very important for immersion, at least to me. I can deal with the reduced color accuracy.

AMOLED is a bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897907)

If they stick with OLED, I'll lose all interest in the product since they're notorious for their burn-in (or rather burn-out).

It's bad enough on phones.

Re:AMOLED means blacks! (wow, racist much?) (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 10 months ago | (#45898067)

pitch black

ready for Doom3 !

Re:AMOLED means blacks! (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 10 months ago | (#45898639)

AMOLED is perfectly capable of good colour accuracy these days. The current Galaxy has a screen that rates as well as Apple's last generation of IPS screens.

IMO it really needs 120hz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897751)

But last I heard, that wasn't happening in the foreseeable future.

Re:IMO it really needs 120hz (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 10 months ago | (#45898669)

Why? Your visual system updates at something like 70 times per second, 60 Hz is basically enough to saturate it.

heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45897763)

They should bundle these with a Fleshlight.

How FAST is the tracking camera? (2)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 10 months ago | (#45898037)

As I understand it, one of the big problems with VR sickness is latency. If the display refresh and the tracking-camera frame rate are both 60 Hz, there's no way to get less than 33ms of lag as the display tracks your movement -- and that's assuming zero time to process tracking info and render the scene.

I'd hope that they're using at least 120 Hz refresh on the display, and something much faster for the tracking camera, but I don't know what the state of the art is like on the tracking end.

I seem to remember many years ago some research with non-progressive field rendering -- I don't remember if it dropped to low-res/faster-updates during fast motion, whether it blurred everything but central vision, or something else. In any event, I think it required highly non-standard display hardware. This was probably in the CRT days. I'd think it would work well to drop back to (say) 480p resolution during fast slews, increasing the frame rate 4x, but I don't know how accessible the necessary hardware/software would be.

Re:How FAST is the tracking camera? (5, Informative)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 10 months ago | (#45898215)

The model demoed is said to have 30ms latency, total, from user input to screen. They've mentioned their end goal is sub-20ms. Current thinking is that 7-15ms is the ideal where we aren't able to perceive any lag.

Re:How FAST is the tracking camera? (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 10 months ago | (#45899257)

Thanks for the numbers. I'd mod you up if Slashdot worked that way.

Re:How FAST is the tracking camera? (1)

abies (607076) | about 10 months ago | (#45898427)

If the display refresh and the tracking-camera frame rate are both 60 Hz, there's no way to get less than 33ms of lag as the display tracks your movement

Not sure how important tracking camera is versus rotation detectors (ones which were in previous dev kit). Orientation is sampled 1000Hz. Camera is probably less, but they have prediction for movement (you cannot change position velocity as fast as rotation speed), so it might be non-issue.

Regarding display refresh - there is 60Hz and there is 60Hz. With new display, they are not taking 33ms to refresh the display - they are 'blinking' it very fast and then it is black for most of the time. This means that 'blink' can be very much up to date and next one will be also up to date. There will be no 'smearing' of pixels while they are changing. At same time, there is something in our brains, which composes multiple single frames into continous motion (has something to do with the way eyes are naturally moving).

Movement prediction, 'blinking' display and bit of wetware in your brain can possibly create a very good effect. No guarantee that they will achieve it, but I would not make statements about minimal latency purely based on time between display refreshes with the new OLED screens.

Re:How FAST is the tracking camera? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45899121)

Or we should go much higher than 60 fps.

Silicon Graphics did a lot of research to VR sickness for their military fighter jet simulators. They found that you need a minimum, and sustained, frame rate of 80 fps to eliminate VR sickness in pilots (you know those pilots that shouldn't have that much motion sickness to begin with).

A few years ago the BBC showed off a demo of 300 fps television. The difference is absolutely stunning, objects that move across the screen are so much sharper compared to 50 fps. This is because the eye can track objects much more cleanly at high frame rates and properly resolve details.

Re:How FAST is the tracking camera? (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 10 months ago | (#45899241)

Ah, yes, now I remember reading about the short-display approach. That still doesn't help with latency, though, if you have to render the entire frame before you can "blink" it, and then wait a full frame interval before "blinking" the next frame.

The flow I assumed is something like this: acquire the tracking image (takes one tracking-camera-frame-duration), then read it out (can be arbitrarily fast), then process it for localization (can be arbitrarily fast), then render the next frame of your scene (can be arbitrarily fast), then send it to your display (takes one display-frame-duration), then display it (can be arbitrarily fast). You can't get around the (tracking-camera-frame-duration + display-frame-duration) latency without doing some partial-frame trickery, as far as I can see.

Re:How FAST is the tracking camera? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 10 months ago | (#45898621)

Their solution here is that the frame is shown on-screen for significantly less than the full 33ms, then the screen blanks, so you're not getting out-of-date visual information. The flicker rate is high enough that you don't notice the gaps.

Re:How FAST is the tracking camera? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45898637)

" and something much faster for the tracking camera"
They were previously using a COTS head tracking system with custom firmware that tracked in the 200Hz range. Their new custom solution was supposed to be 1000Hz

Re:How FAST is the tracking camera? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45898715)

If the display refresh and the tracking-camera frame rate are both 60 Hz, there's no way to get less than 33ms of lag as the display tracks your movement -- and that's assuming zero time to process tracking info and render the scene.

That's assuming the display refresh and the tracking camera display and capture frames at exactly the same time, which is not necessarily the case. If they can control the synchronization of the two, they can adjust the latency to be as low as the processing/rendering time required.

Re:How FAST is the tracking camera? (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 10 months ago | (#45899169)

Not if you have to capture an entire tracking image before you process it, and render an entire frame before you display it. That may be an invalid assumption, though -- if they can break these down into line-by-line processing (or some other smaller-than-a-screen increment), then yes, improvement is possible.

Where the fuck is Microvision? (1)

F34nor (321515) | about 10 months ago | (#45898119)

I have been tracking this for a long ass time and with both google glass and oculus I keep asking where the fuck is Microvision? Their tech deals with all of the FOV, depth of field, focus, focal length, and resolution issues in spades so... WTF?

Re:Where the fuck is Microvision? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45898537)

I'd like the answer to this, too. anyone know?

Re:Where the fuck is Microvision? (1)

abies (607076) | about 10 months ago | (#45899183)

Are we talking about same Microvision which has 720p resolution and needs a 'screen' at least 6 inches from the projector and cost over $300 per piece? Imagine oculus rift with that front part 20cm long...

Spacial concerns (1, Funny)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 10 months ago | (#45898355)

I'm a bit worried that if I'm in a complete and total 3D immersive space that I won't be able to use it indoors for fear of bumping into invisible furniture.

I'm in a modest house and I have a tiny postage stamp yard. My Wifi signal is pretty good out on the street, all things considered, but I'm also afraid that if I revert to a five year old and play in the street that I'll be hit by an invisible car.

Have they considered making safe places to use this as part of their marketing strategy? Sort of a big open VR gym? And in that case, let's make multiplayer games where I can shoot my friends who are being presented to me as orcs. It'll make laser tag look like kinder blocks.

Re:Spacial concerns (1)

jiriw (444695) | about 10 months ago | (#45899015)

That's where this [kickstarter.com] comes in. Call it a trackball for your feet (although it's actually concave) with added thigh-strap.
Then there's also projects working on representation of your body in the 3d world, including relative position of your various body parts, like Stem [kickstarter.com] . Combine these three and everything first-person should be quite immersive without you falling through a window, tripping over garden tiles or being run over by the school bus. As long as you're okay with poor feedback when you bump into something virtual or slice through your favourite adversary with a katana of your choice. They didn't fix that part to satisfaction yet.
With Oculus Rift alone, your immersion will only be adequate for vehicle simulation, racing games and maybe some top-down strategy.

mod Up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45898629)

BSD machines am protesting head spinning fact there won't recent article put be on a wrong Asshole5, as they My bedpost up my
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