Oculus has been in the news for a while now, really picking up speed about a year ago with their first prototype of the Oculus Rift shipping to some developers.
The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset that allows you to look around in a game with the same, natural head motion that you would use to look around in the real world. The first prototype was very promising, but had some downsides such as low resolution screens which made what you see look like you were looking through a screen door. New, higher definition prototypes have been tested and, that issue at least, will definitely be solved before the device ships to consumers.
More improvements were made with the new Crystal Cove prototype they showed at CES this year.
Crystal Cove’s added features included high resolution OLED displays, a new technique called “low-persistence-of-vision” which changes how images are displayed on the screens, and a new head tracking technique that uses an external camera to judge head position and distance.
The low-persistence-of-vision technique is something that gets rid of incorrect or irrelevant image data. Simply put, normally a monitor gets a frame from the system and displays that frame until the next frame is fed to it. This means, during movement, a lot of the visuals you are seeing are already incorrect. The new technique from Oculus flashes a frame and then removes it, leaving just black. At a very high framerate this leads to more true visual data and an enhanced experience.
All of these changes add up to a more fluid experience. A standard gamepad is still used as the main input when using an Oculus Rift. This is something that the team at Oculus hopes to overcome in the future by using more cameras and sensors to detect full-body motion, but for now it is something that we are going to have to stay used to for the main control of our games.