In March 2014, Facebook announced it had acquired the company Oculus VR for nearly 2 billion dollars. But what does this company offers? It is certainly one of the innovations of the foreseeable future: a virtual reality helmet called Oculus Rift.
This kind of a ski mask is connected to a computer and it has a lot of talking going on about it.
As we are used to by now, this innovation is American and comes from some backyard engineering. A young Californian, Palmer Luckey, aged 19 is passionate by virtual reality and is quite frustrated that he cannot find an accessory that offers him the opportunity to dive in the universe of video games. He then decides to create his own virtual reality helmet: in a ski mask, he places 2 LCD screens and adds lenses that will give him stereoscopic images. Thanks to his helmet, he is able to obtain a very vast vision field. Whole of it is then mounted with movement sensors and so, when Palmer plays a character, he doesn’t need a remote controller anymore, he just needs to move his head. It is an immediate and total immersion. Motivated by his findings, he writes an article in a forum dedicated to virtual reality, and the creator of the mythical games Doom and Quake seizes the opportunity to ask him for a prototype. In a couple of months only, the project lands in the world of crowdfunding with a Kickstarter that reaches 2.5 million dollars in investments. The company Oculus VR is created and sends the first versions of the helmet to game developers that immediately approve it.
Principles of the Oculus Rift
This small wonder is a real concentrated of technology. Inside it, we can find head movement sensors that allow the computer to calculate the camera movements in the fame, 3D stereoscopic that adds depth to the environment and a massive 7-inches full-HD screen. The helmet allows a very large vision field of 100° in diagonal, which is nearly twice as much as what the competition offers nowadays. The goal is to cover the whole vision field to make the immersion total so that it would be hard for the player to distinguish the virtual from the real. The universe and the vision of Matrix is not that far away as it looks like.. L’univers et la vision de Matrix n’est pas si loin, semble-t-il…
The Rift 2.0 version
Whereas Oculus Rift is only accessible in a « developers kit » version and is thus currently only available to developers, a public version has come to the market with Oculus Rift 2.0. The characteristics are nearly identical to the original Oculus Rift even though the definition should soon get to full HD with 1920 x 1080. It also includes USB and DVI/HDMI ports for an average weight of 250g. This new version of the Oculus Rift is compatible with more games, as Unreal Tournament, Mirror’s Edge, Half-Life 2 and there is already talks about Doom 4 or Dragon Age 3. With such a connected object, as Second Life already offered it in its own ways in 2003, virtual reality is integrating more and more in our lives.
Further than for video-games, the whole world will know a revolution.