The Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift VR Headset

The marriage of mobile technology and super-fast computer processing has given birth to a new generation of wide-angle virtual reality, and the trailblazer in this next-generation scenario is the Oculus Rift. Still under development, this device is already moving entertainment laterally, taking gaming in new directions by combining viewing and motion tracking inside a lightweight headset. The wearable gear generates superbly detailed computer-generated environments that deliver realistic depth perception within a seamless display.

Developing The Oculus Rift Headset

Initial prototype builds of the Oculus virtual reality headset were unwieldy, but all of the components were in place. The mobile market provides the screen density required to convince the eyes of a separate reality. Built-in sensors react to the turn of a head or the tilt of a shoulder, and this aptitude for motion also comes from current tablets and smartphones, from the accelerometers and gyroscopes integrated within portable electronics. The blending of all of these established components combines with a clever headset to deliver cutting-edge graphics right in front of a user’s vision, a rendered environment that reacts to the smallest turn of the wearer’s head.

Tomorrow’s Entertainment Medium

Sporting stereoscopic rendering elements placed directly in front of a gamer’s vision, individual users can descend into a battle arena and arm up to fight a death match, swinging round in real time to blast a surprised enemy. Look up or down, swing out around a blind corner and walk the hallways of some fantastical computer-generated environment, it’s about to become possible to become part of a game for the first time. The separation of senses from an entertainment medium or gaming scenario is the last thin veil between human senses and the simulated world of the computer, and the Oculus Rift is pulling this curtain aside.

It remains to be seen how well the general public will react to wearing headsets for the sake of entertainment. The device will obviously cramp social interaction even more than the television and the smartphone already does, isolating those who make the move to embrace the format, but it’s difficult to turn down this Holy Grail of entertainment, the chance to be catapulted inside a game or interactive video. The device has become smaller, more compact and powerful. It has also recently been bought up by one of the biggest players in technology development, confirming the momentum of virtual reality in the consumer market.

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