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New Oculus Rift Prototype Features Head Tracking, Reduced Motion Blur, HD AMOLED 156

crabel writes "The Oculus rift prototype Crystal Cove shown at CES uses a camera to track over two dozen infrared dots placed all over the headset. With the new tracking system, you can lean and crouch because the system knows where your head is in 3D space, which can also help reduce motion sickness by accurately reflecting motions that previously weren't detected. On top of that, the new 'low persistence' display practically removes motion blur." The new low-persistence AMOLEDs also achieve 1920x1080 across the field of vision. Reports are that immersion was greatly enhanced with head tracking.
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New Oculus Rift Prototype Features Head Tracking, Reduced Motion Blur, HD AMOLED Display

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  • Long term effect (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BennyB2k4 ( 799512 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @10:43AM (#45897445)
    Thinking way out there... but if the Rift catches on, will significantly more brains be trained to cope with motion sickness? Will we be better equipped for space travel? I wonder if it will reduce motion sickness medication sales.
    • No. Long-term effect is that productivity plummets around the world as there's a collective "shut up and take my money" (from myself included). I want, yesterday!!!

    • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @10:53AM (#45897531) Homepage Journal

      Think about the people you know who can't read in the car. Reading in the car doesn't make them handle it better next time, they just vomit twice.

      • Not in my personal experience, while I admit never having asked others.

        When I was a kid I couldn't read in a car. After some decades I learned how to avoid the sickness (for me, it has to do with keeping a fraction of my focus on the movement of the car).

        I effectively learned how to... "focus only 80% on the text", to be able to read in a car.

      • Think about the people you know who can't read in the car. Reading in the car doesn't make them handle it better next time, they just vomit twice.

        That's a lot like saying that because you can't do a pull-up you'll never be able to do a pull-up. It presumes that a process of adaption through incremental improvements is impossible.

        It isn't like reading in the car makes a person vomit immediately, perhaps if they just read for one minute more each day they would get to a point where it wouldn't make them sick. Or maybe it is a matter of the speed of the car, where if they were able to increase speed 1mph each day they would acclimate.

        • Or perhaps it's like color-blindness, where no amount of "training" will let you reliably distinguish red and green if you weren't born with the appropriate retinal architecture.

          Or like holding your breath, where you can improve to a degree with training, but if you try to push beyond a certain limit, you're just giving yourself irreversible brain damage.

          I've always assumed that VR sickness is a handicap I'll just have to deal with. I suppose it's possible that I could overcome it with training, but trainin

          • There are genetic, environmental, genetic, congenital, cultural, and mental factors with different levels of relevance for every single human characteristic. Trying to reduce even the most genetic(like colorblindness) to just one factor is going to get some false positives and false negatives.

            • oops, that second genetic was supposed to be "epigenetic"

            • Sure. But there isn't a single human genotype, phenotype, or culture that will let its members thrive at zero partial pressure of oxygen. No matter who you are, you can't hold your breath indefinitely. (At least not without external support.)

              Now, I'm pretty sure that susceptibility to VR sickness isn't as predetermined and immutable as oxygen metabolism, or even color-vision defects. I have no idea where it falls on the spectrum, but I'm skeptical of anyone who says "you just need to practice and get over i

              • Yeah, we agree, and I just like to get that point out any time genetic determinism comes up, because that path leads down a lot of evil roads. That's all.

              • I think the reality is that we'll fall into three groups. Those with no VR sickness, those who can practice and get over it, and those who will always have VR sickness unless the tracking latency gets down to a few milliseconds.
        • There is no training to "overcome" motion sickness. The arrogance, and lack of understanding of the problem is going to make the vomit helmets so much fun to watch. There is a genetic predisposition to get past motion sickness which is why British tend to handle it better, and Asians tend not to. Ballerinas technically "adapt" to the spin that normally causes motion sickness, but it's just a trick. They learn to lock their eyes on a distant object though a portion of the spin. You screw up the trick and yo
          • Re:Long term effect (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @01:18PM (#45899007)

            There is no training to "overcome" motion sickness.

            NASA disagrees. []

            "Previous studies have shown the training can enhance tolerance of motion sickness in 80 percent of the participants within six hours of training, notes NASA in a summary of the Navy study."

        • It isn't like reading in the car makes a person vomit immediately, perhaps if they just read for one minute more each day they would get to a point where it wouldn't make them sick.

          There are very very few people who would go to that effort in this case. 99.999% of people would get motion sick once and then never use the device again. Since it is for entertainment purposes primarily what would be the point?

      • I don't know about that. While I do realise this is an anecdote, and I can't rule out physiological changes, I do recall suffering a lot from motion sickness as a child (travelling in the back seat and messing with my brothers limited my view of the outside of the vehicle, causing the motion sickness) but after a lifetime of playing games, reading books (with breaks whenever I felt sickness coming on) I've found that the length of time i can go before any motion sickness kicks in gets longer and longer. I c

      • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
        I couldn't read in the car for years, I'd just get a big headache and feel sick. Then I started having to take the bus to university, 30 minutes both ways, for 3-5 days a week. It took me a few months but I adapted and now I can read anywhere just fine. So yes, you can most certainly adapt.
  • I really hope this doesn't turn out to be what the 3D trend has become for movies. Contrary to other past attempts for VR headsets, now there's both the hardware and the knowledge available to build something revolutionary that actually *works*. Plus JC is on-board so expectations are very high.
    • Plus JC is on-board

      I thought Jesus was my co-pilot. Two-timing bitch...

    • Re:Can't wait (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RivenAleem ( 1590553 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @12:21PM (#45898381)

      I've watched 10+ movies in the cinema in 3D, including Avatar, The Hobbit, Star Trek Into Darkness and Gravity in IMAX and a range of others in regular 3D. As many other people will tell you Gravity and Avatar are a different class of 3D movie to everything else. As for the rest, I can easily tell they used 3D as a gimmick. You got the odd spear/bee/shrapnel flying out at you from the screen to remind you that the movie was 3D, because frankly for all else, you can easily forget it/not notice it.

      However, I have also played computer games in 3D. The difference between a game and a movie is that the movie chooses specific things to show you in 3D. In a game, they simply render EVERYTHING from 2 viewpoints and transmit that to each eye. I played Crysis 2 on the XBOX360 and was blown away by how it (I really dread to say) added a new dimension to the game. The HUD was rendered to be right up in your face and everything was at not just varying, but the RIGHT depth behind it. Far away monsters were far away, close up were close up and everything in between had it's own natural place. If you had water splash it felt real. It didn't feel like your vision had simply been blurred, it felt like something had actually blocked you, it was there, real.

      I also have an account from a guild mate who played WoW in 3D and wonders how he ever managed to play it flat before, all the players now seemed like they were actually standing in places in relation to eachother, and he wonders what would happen if WoW had player collision seen in other games, because when viewed in 3D it looked so horrendously wrong for one player to be standing in the sprite of another, shattering the complex illusion of realness by the 3D effect.

      There is so much other than simple games that the Rift could be used for. I paraphrase Palmer Luckey when I say "The reason [Palmer] had chosen to make the rift the way I have, is to make a device that doesn't strive for perfection in one area, and falls down in others. I wanted to make something that was good enough in as many areas as possible, and be affordable, so that we can get it out to people. It is not until people have it, and start using it, that we'll know what it can be used for". He may have mentioned the Kinect as an example of something made for one use, being put to many unforeseen other uses.

      You could use a HD version of google streetview to record famous places and locations. Then people could explore them without having to make the trip there. You could use them for 3D conference calls (imagine using a future version of FaceRig to make the Rift Headset disappear). The problem is that there's not enough of these out there for inventors to invent with just now.

      What people are thinking this could be used for is only the tip of the iceberg. The reality might turn out to be so much more than first though.

      • by Andrio ( 2580551 )

        My favorite use of the Rift, and what really showed me the gameplay applications the VR gives, is the game "Lunar Flight"

        You're inside the cockpit of a lunar lander. What really makes it cool, is that you have to look around at your controls. If you want to turn the lander on, for example, you have to turn all the way to your right where the power button is to be able to activate it. If you want to access your map, you have to turn to the left where the monitor is. Looking around at your different monitors

      • However, I have also played computer games in 3D. The difference between a game and a movie is that the movie chooses specific things to show you in 3D. In a game, they simply render EVERYTHING from 2 viewpoints and transmit that to each eye.

        This is how Hollywood is doing 3D Movies in postproduction. If it was shot with a 3D camera (one with two viewpoints), everything would be in 3D.

        I think the bigger issue is that in a 3D movie the depth of field is not always infinite. There are many shots where the person talking is in focus while things in the foreground and background are blurry. Even if you try to focus on the background, which appears to be a different focal plane, the background will remain blurry and it breaks the illusion.

        • Yes, that too is something that doesn't happen in a computer game, and something that only a very brave person might try in a movie. Movie makers use focus as a way of keeping your attention on what they want you to watch. Perhaps there is a limitation on using a camera to record movies. Perhaps they could make an animated movie (Pixar or similar) where everything is always in focus, and you chose yourself where to look.

  • I've wanted one of these since I played around with an early unit from VIO, I think, in 1996.

    Please, pretty please, ship this. Stat.

    • by AJH16 ( 940784 )

      Agreed, I will certainly buy one if the price is at all affordable. I've been waiting for a good, motion tracking headset since the old iGlasses display that came out and worked with MechWarrior 2 in DOS. Resolution has been my main stopper since then, but this has not only the resolution, but a giant leap forward in tracking.

  • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @11:48AM (#45898037)

    As I understand it, one of the big problems with VR sickness is latency. If the display refresh and the tracking-camera frame rate are both 60 Hz, there's no way to get less than 33ms of lag as the display tracks your movement -- and that's assuming zero time to process tracking info and render the scene.

    I'd hope that they're using at least 120 Hz refresh on the display, and something much faster for the tracking camera, but I don't know what the state of the art is like on the tracking end.

    I seem to remember many years ago some research with non-progressive field rendering -- I don't remember if it dropped to low-res/faster-updates during fast motion, whether it blurred everything but central vision, or something else. In any event, I think it required highly non-standard display hardware. This was probably in the CRT days. I'd think it would work well to drop back to (say) 480p resolution during fast slews, increasing the frame rate 4x, but I don't know how accessible the necessary hardware/software would be.

    • by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <> on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @12:06PM (#45898215) Homepage
      The model demoed is said to have 30ms latency, total, from user input to screen. They've mentioned their end goal is sub-20ms. Current thinking is that 7-15ms is the ideal where we aren't able to perceive any lag.
      • Thanks for the numbers. I'd mod you up if Slashdot worked that way.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        Which input? the controller or the motion sensors?

        The problem with motion sensors is that there is always unavoidable lag. If you use accelerometers you need to smooth the input a little to avoid it jerking about. Of you use cameras you need to wait for a full video frame, although you can of course raise the frame rate.

        Modern controllers are horrible too. Wireless introduces lag. Not much, but it all adds up.

    • by abies ( 607076 )

      If the display refresh and the tracking-camera frame rate are both 60 Hz, there's no way to get less than 33ms of lag as the display tracks your movement

      Not sure how important tracking camera is versus rotation detectors (ones which were in previous dev kit). Orientation is sampled 1000Hz. Camera is probably less, but they have prediction for movement (you cannot change position velocity as fast as rotation speed), so it might be non-issue.

      Regarding display refresh - there is 60Hz and there is 60Hz. With new display, they are not taking 33ms to refresh the display - they are 'blinking' it very fast and then it is black for most of the time. This means that

      • Ah, yes, now I remember reading about the short-display approach. That still doesn't help with latency, though, if you have to render the entire frame before you can "blink" it, and then wait a full frame interval before "blinking" the next frame.

        The flow I assumed is something like this: acquire the tracking image (takes one tracking-camera-frame-duration), then read it out (can be arbitrarily fast), then process it for localization (can be arbitrarily fast), then render the next frame of your scene (can b

    • Their solution here is that the frame is shown on-screen for significantly less than the full 33ms, then the screen blanks, so you're not getting out-of-date visual information. The flicker rate is high enough that you don't notice the gaps.

    • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

      The camera framerate isn't relevant, because it's not the primary source of motion data. Their motion sensor (which updates at 1000 Hz) is used for positioning, while the camera is used to provide a reference to prevent drift. The camera could probably work at even just 30 Hz and still be fine, because the accelerometres in the rift aren't going to drive that much off course in 1/30th of a second.

  • I have been tracking this for a long ass time and with both google glass and oculus I keep asking where the fuck is Microvision? Their tech deals with all of the FOV, depth of field, focus, focal length, and resolution issues in spades so... WTF?

    • by abies ( 607076 )

      Are we talking about same Microvision which has 720p resolution and needs a 'screen' at least 6 inches from the projector and cost over $300 per piece? Imagine oculus rift with that front part 20cm long...

  • I'm a bit worried that if I'm in a complete and total 3D immersive space that I won't be able to use it indoors for fear of bumping into invisible furniture.

    I'm in a modest house and I have a tiny postage stamp yard. My Wifi signal is pretty good out on the street, all things considered, but I'm also afraid that if I revert to a five year old and play in the street that I'll be hit by an invisible car.

    Have they considered making safe places to use this as part of their marketing strategy? Sort of a big
    • by jiriw ( 444695 )

      That's where this [] comes in. Call it a trackball for your feet (although it's actually concave) with added thigh-strap.
      Then there's also projects working on representation of your body in the 3d world, including relative position of your various body parts, like Stem []. Combine these three and everything first-person should be quite immersive without you falling through a window, tripping over garden tiles or being run over by the school bus. As long as you're okay with poor feedback when you bump into somethi

    • >Have they considered making safe places to use this as part of their marketing strategy? Sort of a big open VR gym?
      >And in that case, let's make multiplayer games where I can shoot my friends who are being presented to me as orcs. It'll make laser tag look like kinder blocks.

      The Rift wouldn't be right for that since it completely blocks your vision, but something like Google Glass with an AR overlay on the whole lens will inevitably be used to create something like Dream Park. http://en.wikipedi []
  • Why not just use an accelerometer to track in 3d space?
  • Finally they're using some resolutions that might actually be worth buying.

    I hated the way they talked about an "immersive" experience with pixelated low-resolution screens. Blocks are not immersive.

  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Thursday January 09, 2014 @03:44PM (#45909875)

    > 1920x1080 across the field of vision

    so depending on the stereo implementation method, per-eye will be 1920x540 or 960*1080.
    Sigh. Come on guys.
    Is it really soooo frikkin impossible to have a seperate 1920x1080 panel per eye?

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