The Journey of Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift is one of the most famous gadgets which is making different headlines every now and then. It is a virtual reality headset which was developed by Oculus VR, an America based technology company founded by Palmer Luckey in June 2012. Palmer had announced the Oculus Rift as a video game device and he launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his project. The campaign was proved successful and it garnered approximately $2.4 million dollars. It was more than ten time which Palmer had expected to get.

Since the Kickstarter campaign, various pre-production models of Oculus Rift have been developed and around five of them were shown to the public. Two of such models were given to the various video game developers so that they could understand that how Rift will work and how can they develop such interactive games or applications. But, it did not stop various strong supporters of Oculus to purchase the device and use it. The game of Oculus skyrocketed when Facebook acquired it for more than 2 billion dollars. It brought the Oculus into a prominent limelight of public and media.

Let’s go through the various models which were developed at different levels of Oculus journey-

1. The initial prototypes-
Palmer Lucky, the founder of Oculus was working as the head-mounted display designer at the Institute of Creative technology which is the research Institute of the University of Southern California. He had already earned his name as the biggest personal collector of largest head-mounted display units. He developed the idea for creating a new kind of head-mounted display which is dedicated for gamers and is inexpensive. Then he formed the Oculus with the help of Brendan Iribe and Michael Antonov the co-founders of Scaleform, engineer Jack McCauley, Nate Mithcell and Andrew Scott Reisse.

So the initial prototype of Oculus had a duct-taped head-mounted display. it had a high-speed IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) and a 5.6 inch LCD display, visible via dual lenses that were fixed over the eyes to provide a 90-degrees horizontal and 110 degrees vertical stereoscopic, 3D perspective.

2. The Development Kit 1-
The development Kit 1 was developed for the Kickstarter campaign for Oculus so that the developers of mobile app development company can get a glimpse of the product and how they can develop the apps and games for it.

It has a 7-inch screen with a quite lower pixel switching time than the original prototype, reducing the latency and motion blur when the user turns his head. The pixel fill was also better reducing the screen door effect, and making the individual pixels less visible. The LCD was brighter and the color depth is 24 bits per pixel.

3. HD Prototype-
An HD prototype was developed with a 1080p LCD screen and was shown at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. It overcame the problem of poor resolution associated the DK1. It the double number of pixels and reduced the screen door effect and made objects quite clear. It is the only prototype which was never made available to the public.

4. Crystal Cove prototype-
In January 2014, an updated version of Oculus Rift was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show. It had a special low persistence of vision OLED display as well as a better motion tracking system that used an extra camera located on the headset to get the infrared dots. The motion tracking system allowed to the device to detect various physical actions of the user like leaning and crouching. It helped to help the users get the perfect response from the device from their action.

5. Development Kit 2
The second development kit was started shipping in July 2014. It was little bit refined version of “Crystal Cove” prototype. It had some prominent changes compared to the first development kit like higher resolution (960*1080 per eye) low persistence OLED display, better refresh rate, positioning tracking, a detachable cable, and most importantly the omission of the need for the external control box.

In February 2015 Oculus announced that over 1,00,00 units have been sold of Development kit 2.

6. Crescent Bay Prototype
In September 2014, Oculus presented an upgraded version of the Rift, given the codenamed crescent bay prototype. It had the greater resolution than DK2, lower-weight, built-in audio and the 360-degree tracking thanks to the presence of tracking LEDs in the back of the headset.

7. Consumer Version
On May 6, 2015, Oculus VR announced that the consumer version of Rift would be shipped in the first quarter of 2016 with pre-orders starting from January 6, 2016. On M 25, 2016, the first batch of Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets were started shipping for the early customers. It was an improved version of crescent bay prototype providing per-eyes display running at 90 Hz with a higher combined resolution than DK2, 360-degree position tracking, integrated audio, and a significantly increased positional tracking volume.

Oculus was developed primarily as a gaming device and continues to focus mainly on the games. A number of video games which could be played with the help of Oculus Rift are Euro truck simulator 2, Dirty rally, Project cars, Elite: Dangerous, and some popular games like Minecraft and Flight simulator X.

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