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Oculus Rift

The Past, Present, And Future Of VR And AR: The Pioneers Speak
By , Marcus Yam

Oculus Rift is a name that every PC gamer knows. With the recent $2 billion acquisition by Facebook, Oculus VR is poised to make a big splash in the PC gaming space. Started as a Kickstarter project, the Oculus Rift is a VR headset that relies on the processing power of a PC to deliver the visuals right in front of your eyes. We've tracked Oculus Rift's progress through the various prototypes, and what we've experienced from the Development Kit 2, the latest model, would make us want to spend $2 billion on it too.

Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR, answered Tom's Hardware's questions.

Oculus Rift DK 2 Specs
Resolution960x1080 per eye
Refresh Rate75, 72, 60 Hz
Persistence2 ms, 3 ms, full
Viewing Optics100° Field of View (nominal)
Cable10' (detachable)
USB DeviceUSB 2.0
USB HostUSB 2.0 (requires DC Power Adapter)
Camera USBUSB 2.0
Internal Tracking
SensorsGyroscope, Accelerometer, Magnetometer
Update Rate1000 Hz
Positional Tracking
SensorsNear Infrared CMOS Sensor
Update Rate60 Hz
Weight0.97 lbs (without cable)
Included AccessoriesHDMI to DVI Adapter 
DC Power Adapter 
International Power Plugs 
Nearsighted lens cups 
Lens cleaning cloth

Tom's Hardware: Is your technology based on AR or VR, and why?

Oculus: Oculus's focus is on VR. VR is a technology that opens completely new doors for entertainment, communication, and more. It's really poised to change the world over the next decade, while true AR still feels like it's a way off from being ready for prime time. That said, VR and AR share a lot of the same technology and challenges and at some point the two will converge.

Tom's Hardware: When will we see mass adoption of VR and AR technology (defined as more than one million customers)?

Oculus: We believe we'll see mass adoption of VR within the next two years. AR will probably take a lot longer for mass-market consumer adoption.

Tom's Hardware: What are the technical hurdles still standing in the way?

Oculus: Many of the same ones we have always faced: latency, field of view, resolution, and the graphical horsepower required to render photorealistic environments at a high framerate.

Tom's Hardware: What are the non-technical hurdles standing in the way?

Oculus: Wearable tech is still a very new field and convincing people that virtual reality is a meaningful technology is still a major hurdle. Many people won't be interested in the technology until the hardware's form factor improves and we are closer to sunglasses. Virtual reality input is also a huge challenge! Nobody knows the best ways to interact in a VR environment yet, and natural interface hardware is still very primitive. The biggest challenge of all, though, is going to be content: other platforms benefit from decades of history, and a large degree of backwards compatibility. VR has to start from the ground up with content that is built around the strengths and weaknesses of the technology.

Tom's Hardware: What steps are needed to remove those hurdles? What is your company doing specifically and technically to remove those hurdles?

Oculus: We've been able to tackle many of the initial challenges by building the most talented team in the industry and investing heavily in custom hardware that is designed for VR. Until now, we've been able to leverage a lot of hardware directly from the mobile phone industry, but we're able to deliver a much more compelling experience if we deliver an integrated system built from the ground up. We're also investing heavily in content, doing everything we can to help developers and content creators create the best VR content possible.

Tom's Hardware: How will VR and AR change the gaming ecosystems in the future (PCs and components, consoles, controllers, and the games themselves)?

Oculus: That depends on how far into the future you look! VR will complement with traditional PCs and consoles for a long time, but in the long run, it has the potential to simulate even those experiences. VR demands a lot more from hardware than any console does, and the returns on computing horsepower will be obvious and impressive for a long time.

Tom's Hardware: How will VR and AR change the world outside of gaming? Give us the most remarkable, life-changing examples you expect to happen.

Oculus: Right now, the games industry is the only one that has the tools and talent required to build immersive 3D worlds, and that isn't set to change in the near future. When VR takes off, what we currently call the "games" industry will expand far beyond entertainment. Communicating in more human ways over long distance, education that goes beyond words on a page, training people to overcome their fears or survive in situations too costly or too expensive to simulate, the list goes on and on. All these experiences will be extensions of the gaming that we do today, some simulating the real world, and some simulating impossible worlds. We're most excited for the latter; people have always wanted to experience the fantastic, to see what they don't see in their everyday lives. What happens when anyone can be what they want to be and do what they want to do with no limitations? That's going to be remarkably life-changing for billions of people around the world.

Read more: Oculus Rift Development Kit 2: Another Eyes-On

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