iFixit has scored the Oculus Rift developer kit and performed the obligatory teardown so that gamers can see what exactly will be shooting virtual reality-like visuals into their eyes. The site points out that this VR headset is still a prototype, and likely not what consumers will receive when the gadget finally goes retail. Still, prototype or not, iFixit seemingly had nothing but praises for the device, which is good news.
"One of the most innovative technologies brought about by the Rift is its head tracking capability," the report states. "Accomplished with a gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer, the Rift allows for 3 degrees of freedom so you can look around the virtual world without having to move your entire virtual body."
Indeed, Oculus Rift essentially allows the wearer to "mouselook" using their head rather than a mouse. During some hands-on at CES 2013 in January, this aspect took some getting used to at first, but eventually pulled us right in. Imagine sitting in a chair and looking over your shoulder only to see the virtual world behind you? The immersion was incredible – too bad there was no way to actually move without using a gamepad.
"If you look closely, you can see that the left-hand image is framed slightly to the right, and vice versa," the report states. "Our brains—fantastic computers that they are—note the disparities between the images in each eye, calculate the angles and dimensions, and merge them into a single image with perceptible depth."
As for actually taking apart the Oculus Rift, the procedure included removing the display from the strap assembly, then the lens cowling, and then the display itself -- which is an Innolux HJ070IA-02D 7-inch LCD screen – from the assembly (the back of the LCD hosts a Himax HX8851 timing controller). After that, iFixit ripped out the Oculus Tracker V2 board.
The teardown reveals the board to feature a STMicroelectronics 32F103C8 ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller with a 72 MHz CPU, and an Invensense MPU-6000 six-axis (gyro + accelerometer) motion tracking controller. The A983 2206 is suspected to be a three-axis magnetometer used in conjunction with the accelerometer to correct for gyroscope drift.
"The back of the sensor board is covered in shiny contact points, presumably for easily testing each board in a spring contact rig," the report states.
To see the new Oculus Rift developer kit in pieces, check out iFixit's full teardown here. Overall it has a 'Repairability Score" of 9 out of 10 which is good news for those of us who will likely manage to accidently sling the headset off our heads during wild Team Fortress 2 gunfights.