New Oculus Rift prototype adds Kinect-style motion tracking to the mix

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Intriguing news from The Verge, who over at CES have had a look at the latest prototype from Oculus, the company developing a potentially revolutionary virtual reality headset.

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The Rift has been in development for a couple of years – and whilst still months away from being released commercially, has received an awful lot of hype from gamers and the developers who have been lucky enough to play with a prototype as… well… its a virtual reality headset! Imagine playing Call of Duty with that on!

So what’s new? The Crystal Cove Prototype, as it’s called isn’t just the MacGuffin in the next Pirates of the Caribbean film, but is a headset that has a couple of major differences with the previous version. Most notably the front of the device is covered in tracking spots to be picked up by the camera (that will be included with the retail version) – this enables the Rift to figure out when you’re moving your head in actual space – not just left and right, as was only possible previously.

The other change with this latest version is the LCD panels inside have been replaced with OLED screens – like the ones found on the latest mobile phones. The upshot of this is that OLED enables the screens to update much quicker – meaning it’ll be more realistic to use. In fact – though the developers won’t reveal the exact spec (such as the resolution they run at) they have apparently said they’ve had to come up with a means to slow down the refresh rate, to give the images on screen more realistic movement.

It’ll be exciting to see what the final product looks like. Though you’re never going to be the coolest kid on the block wearing one of these, you won’t care as you’ll be too busy slaying dragons in Azeroth or whatever.

James O’Malley