Revolutionizing Virtual Reality: The Oculus Rift

Although the Oculus Rift has comparatively been known to the technology world already, Facebook’s $2 Billion purchase of the Oculus brought much renewed interest to their product.  Many people still do not realize the fairly next generation technologies they have implemented into the product, and thus after examining these, we can see Facebook’s justification for buying such a magnificently engineered piece of virtual reality accessory. It very well may be the much-anticipated future of gaming accessories that we have dreamed of for decades, (since Sylvester Stallone’s out of body experience in Demolition Man from 1993).Until now, Virtual reality was blurry, buggy, and nauseating. Here is what makes the Oculus Rift revolutionary.

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The Brain

Oculus’ biggest challenge: moving realistic virtual reality exactly with your own head and body movements, without lag. The Rift uses readings from its brain, developed by Nirav Patel who previously had a software job at Apple, which contains a gyroscope, accelerometer, and a magnetometer to evaluate head motion. To enhance this data and reduce lag, the Rift takes 1,000 readings a second, allowing a revolutionary thing: the prediction of motion and pre-rendering of imagery.

The Display

Even today’s most enhanced LCD displays can take up to 15 milliseconds for all of the pixels to render. The Rift uses AMOLED screens which can render in less than 1 millisecond. In addition, Oculus figured out how to deactivate these pixels just as fast so there is no blur when you move or shake your head.

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The Optics

To achieve the effect of an image filling your entire field of view without distortion, heavy expensive lenses are typically used. The Rift, however, utilizes a pair of cheap magnifying lenses and Oculus developers distort the effects of their games to seem visually accurate when viewed through the lenses.

Positional Tracking

Before the Oculus Rift, other virtual reality headsets let you look around but never implemented moving around. The Rift has a small external camera that monitors 40 infrared LEDs that allow the tracking of motion, thus permitting you to crouch, lean, or approach an in-game object.

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