How the Oculus Rift Works


Reviews, Availability and Possibilities
Attendees playing “EVE: Valkyrie” at the Intel booth at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Attendees playing “EVE: Valkyrie” at the Intel booth at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas, Nevada.
© ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Early impressions of the developer model have been largely positive. Many people think the Rift is incredibly cool, including one early adopter's 90-year-old grandmother [source: Kooser]. It has been called a game changer for, well, gaming.

There have been the expected complaints about nausea and dizziness, and some concern about using glasses with the Rift. You can actually use the headset with most eyeglasses, depending upon their size and shape. To accommodate glasses, you adjust the distance of the lenses to your face by turning two screws on either side of the headset -- the closer the better so that you're getting the maximum field of view. Using it with glasses is not recommended, however, due to the risk of scratching your eyeglass lenses and the certainty of reducing your field of view. They do recommend swapping out the Rift's lenses to see if any of them will work for you without glasses. The longest set (A) was made for people with 20/20 or farsighted vision, the mid-length set (B) was made for people with moderate nearsightedness and the shortest set (C) was made for people with more severe nearsightedness. The Oculus team is planning to make the consumer version a little more eyeglasses-friendly.

Positive reactions to the newer Crystal Cove prototype have been even more effusive due to the higher resolution, reduced motion blurring and positional tracking. Both iterations of the device received Best of CES accolades in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

As of early 2014, you can purchase the developer version directly from the Oculus VR site for $300, but the release date and price point for the consumer version have yet to be officially announced. But with so many dev kits and even better prototypes out there, hopefully -- especially with the financial backing of Facebook -- the wait won't be long for VR fun in our living rooms.

Author's Note: How the Oculus Rift Works

I have been longing for virtual reality since "Tron," the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" holodeck, "The Lawnmower Man" and "The Matrix" (the horror aspects of all but one of those aside). It's not like I haven't experienced virtual reality. I've done my fair share of simulator rides, and tried the headset arcade games once or twice, but I remember it being expensive, extremely low resolution, imprecise and not all that immersive.

As it always does, technology has improved by leaps and bounds, graphics have gotten better, and now with the Oculus Rift, it sounds like more enjoyable and believable VR is within our grasp. It's still not the holodeck, but I can't wait to try out the 1080p consumer model whenever it becomes available.

And I might just break down and get the developer model in the near future. I am, after all, a developer (although I haven't yet delved into game development). Or I could just build stuff in "Minecraft" like I do now in regular 2-D "Minecraft." Constructing random castles, shearing sheep and taming ocelots and wolves may be even more satisfying in 3-D VR. Although running face first into a creeper in an immersive reality might be the stuff of nightmares.

Related Links

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