Oculus VR’s immersive gaming headset the Oculus Rift had a strong showing at CES 2014 with its latest prototype, codename “Crystal Cove”. While last year’s CES marked the first time most people got to see the device after its highly successful Fall 2012 Kickstarter, this year showcased a number of key improvements including OLED displays and motion tracking functionality.
The new prototype does away with the LCD displays featured on the traditional Oculus Rift development-kit in favor of an OLED display, which runs at a lower latency (around 30 milliseconds, nearing the 20 millisecond latency that Oculus aims to achieve) and utilizes low persistence imaging. The prototype also lowers motion blur, which helps to reduce motion sickness induced by the player moving their head and having the image appear stagnant. The OLED displays also allow the user to read text easier, and the 1080p resolution makes the images look less like the player is seeing them through a screen door.
The new Crystal Cove prototype also features positional tracking. The updated Rift headset has infrared dots affixed to it that are detected by an external camera, which can then tell if you are leaning or otherwise moving in 3D space. This allows the player to peek around corners in a game, and in the tower defense demo shown at CES, the feature allows the player to lean in to get a better look at the controls. Not only does this translate into orientation changes, but also motion changes, which was previously only possible with traditional input controls.
The Oculus Rift is still in development, so these features may change in their execution and will likely improve as time goes on. No definite price point or release date has been set for the Oculus Rift.