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Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset Blows Past Kickstarter Goal 122

Virtual reality headsets have historically been very disappointing. While the concept has been fun and interesting, the technological realities never quite lived up to expectations, and hardware developers largely gave up on research into this kind of device. However, it's been long enough that display technology has caught up to our ambitions. So, where are our VR headsets? Well, hobbyist Palmer Luckey asked that same question, and when he couldn't find a good answer, he decided to build one himself. He and his team have built a prototype, and they just launched a Kickstarter campaign to distribute developer kits. The campaign blew past its $250,000 goal in hours. What's interesting about this particular campaign is that Palmer took the Oculus Rift to various development studios and managed to get enthusiastic endorsements from some big names, including Cliff Bleszinski, Gabe Newell, and John Carmack.
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Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset Blows Past Kickstarter Goal

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  • I'll believe it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by skovnymfe ( 1671822 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:27PM (#40848545)
    when I see it. Too many times we've been promised the world with super cool VR goggles and helmets and appendages. Also, if I have to go buy a console first, no sale.
  • So... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:34PM (#40848633) Journal

    Who else isn't surprised that demand for a more effective reality-attenuator remains robust?

  • Carmack (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:36PM (#40848657)

    Carmack is deeply involved with Oculus. He posts on their forums with his ideas and Oculus runs Doom 3. The guys from the verge got to play with a prototype:

    This could be a game changer. VR headsets done right.

  • 90s (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:40PM (#40848701)

    VR goggles have been promised to be the future of computers since the 90s. Since before the internet was a household term, even. And yet time and time again they fail to work. The reason is that our technology just isn't as sophisticated as our eyes. We have hundred megapixel vision, realtime depth perception, motion sensing, and they scan at around 200 frames per second. The amount of information our visual cortex processes and compresses for other parts of our brain make most supercomputers look stupid by comparison.

    It took millions of years to develop Human Eyeball v1.0. It's pretty arrogant to assume we'll just write a business proposal and KAZAM! (-_-) But hey, keep trying guys. In another 50 years or so, they might have evolved to the point where people don't get headaches using them.

  • Re:Carmack (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nschubach ( 922175 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:56PM (#40848869) Journal

    What bothers me is that the headset looks like it turns your character based on your head position in the video. It should be like a free look so you can be pointed down a hallway and looking around.

  • Re:90s (Score:5, Interesting)

    by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:58PM (#40848889) Homepage Journal

    Low enough latency with accurate enough eye tracking might take some of that strain off. Human vision has some interesting quirks [], and if you focus your rendering power where and when it matters, I'd bet you could make do with a lot less resources. Calling our vision hundreds of megapixels with 200fps just isn't fact. For example, we don't see anything at all when our eyes saccade [], the brain stops looking at input while the scenery is still in relative motion. This could be exploited, by only drawing when our eyes are not in saccade (of course you need to analyze relative motion of objects with where the eye is going. Read that wiki link for more on that, particularly the bits talking about fast moving objects. Still more reading here. []

    Basically, if you can track the eye and perhaps even motor feedback (if we get that far, yea) we can exploit all these eye motions. Drawing the full screen at a full rate all the time is extremely wasteful.

    I can't say anything about the motor feedback. Given the recent bionic eye [] work, and brain implants [] restoring a facsimile of vision, that might not be as far off as you think. We have basic working eye tracking already and a visor is the ideal environment for such a thing anyway.

  • Re:ugly specs. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Grave ( 8234 ) <(awalbert88) (at) (> on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @06:59PM (#40849661)

    640x800 seems low, but you're talking about a screen that is half the size (or less) of a modern cell phone - I suspect that, even being only an inch or two from your eye, you won't be making out individual pixels very easily.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller