Oculus Rift: Hardware

One of the key elements of virtual reality is effective stereoscopy. In order to create it, each eye receives its own image. Modern technology allows achieving 3D effect on a single display in two ways: either by filtering a half of resolution (passive polarization), or by providing each eye with different frequency (active polarization). Both solutions have their drawbacks, affecting the quality of an image and causing eye fatigue.

However, Oculus Rift implements technology a little bit differently: it uses a single display, divided into two halves, one for each eye. This eliminates eye fatigue, which is characteristic for active shutter glasses, as well as diminishes polarization disadvantages. Moreover, while rotating the head, a three-dimensional effect is not lost.

However, a need to separate resolution arises. For example, 1280×800 display gives 640×800 for each eye. The prototype operates at a 1280×800 resolution. Oculus VR management believes that before mass production of Oculus Rift starts, the device will be equipped with a higher resolution screen with lower latency, which, of course, will be a great step forward. 1920×1080 display will give 960×1080 for each eye, which makes a big difference in the quality of an image.

The field of view is equally important component. Previously tested devices were limited to approximately 40 degrees, thus creating a feeling of looking through a window. Thanks to special optics, Oculus Rift provides the field of view of 100 degrees.

Also, a tracking system is very important for virtual reality. If the movement of the head is not synchronous with what is happening on the screen, the whole effect of immersion is lost. So, Oculus has developed its own sensor of head movements. Oculus Rift is tracking at 1000 Hz frequency and includes an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer to compensate drift.

The system works perfectly. There are six directions of the head movements, including rotations, tilts and motions along the X, Y and Z axes. When the device is taken on, a flawless precision is immediately felt. Oculus developers believe that the final customer version will possess improved tracking system and provide a more accurate sense of movement in three-dimensional space, allowing gamers to do more complex maneuvers.

The prototype weighs about 230 grams and hardly influences the load on the neck. The company plans to further reduce the weight of Oculus Rift and approach the weight of diving glasses.

Oculus Rift is charged via USB cable. Although during the demonstration the cable was not causing any trouble, it seems that with development of VR- technologies and extension of the diversity of movements the cable will have to be abandoned. Oculus has decided not to use the sound device in Oculus Rift, leaving this part for already existing products, at least for now. As it turned out, headphones perfectly match the system.