Rift, Vive, and Virtual Reality

Discussion in 'VR and AR' started by idsn6, May 8, 2013.

  1. idsn6

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    With developer units now in people's hands, I thought it appropriate to have a dedicated thread for the Oculus Rift and the new prospects for virtual reality that was not hitched to John Carmack's star endorsement.

    Modern VR is the most excited I have been about technology in years, and I am very bullish about its outlook. There may be parallels to be found with tablet computers, where early products simply did not match up to prognostications and languished for years. Only now, by slipstreaming the mobile revolution, can these categories advance and capture consumer interest. Most other nascent tech strikes me as very niche, and while some of it seems to pair well with the Rift (e.g., Hydra, Leap, Omni), the only accessory which I would consider a near requisite for VR is a good pair of headphones with robust positional HRTF audio.

    The cross-audience appeal of the Oculus Rift is already evident. From the very young to the very old,

    the immersion is instantly accessible across a broad spectrum of people, including those outside the realm of gaming.


    Games are obviously the main driver and aim of VR at the moment, and the potential there is enormous. A horror game renaissance seems inevitable, and the applications for less obvious genres (and even newly viable ones) are going to be very interesting. I am highly optimistic for the reach beyond gaming, however. While the idea of Johnny Mnemonic-esque computer interaction is probably neither practical nor desirable, the attractiveness of VR across so many segments of the population could create new markets for virtual vacations, pornography, films, and specialized applications such as modeling or simulation. The Rift already begs to be shared with friends and family; a common hardware/software platform and centralized app store could be the final pieces for a truly consumer friendly breakout product.

    There are clear issues and areas of improvement for this first vanguard of VR. Resolution, ghosting, sensor drift, positional tracking, and the like seem to be low-hanging fruit that can be solved with time and inevitable mobile advancements, as with the still somewhat unwieldy physical form factor and controls. The much more difficult problems of latency and related issues (see: Carmack, Abrash, Abrash) are more concerning, particularly for those sensitive to motion sickness. Still, even with these limitations in a rough non-consumer prototype, the overall consensus (judging from the common reaction of literally slack-jawed awe, a phenomenon I have privately and affectionately been dubbing "Riftardation") appears to be that VR is fast approaching the threshold of Good Enough, and absent a duplex direct neural interface I believe that this is the way forward for the near future.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. MfA

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    I still think latency isn't going to be huge issue unless patents make the obvious solution impossible ... which is to use image based rendering to generate near realtime feedback to head rotation. The image processing can be done in a fraction of a ms as can be the orientation measurement ... making the display the limiting factor.
     
  3. Pressure

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    That last picture reminds me of Sword Art Online.

    [​IMG]

    Despite all the technical "flaws" with current solutions, the biggest obstacle is still price. $1,499 to join the Oculus Rift Club is prohibitive in any way you look at it (*Gasp*, ignore this ... the Kickstarter were $300).
     
    #3 Pressure, May 8, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2013
  4. Malo

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    Any new technology is always prohibitive to most at the beginning. Adoption, mass markets, manufacturing refinements will gradually reduce the costs.
     
  5. idsn6

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    Where is this $1499 figure coming from? The developer kit for the Rift is $300, and I expect the consumer version to be in that ballpark.
     
  6. Pressure

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    Sorry, I messed up! Somehow I mistook the price of Google Glass with Oculus Rift ... I'll be over here in the Corner of Shame for a while.
     
  7. eastmen

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    I'm going to go out on a limb and say the Consumer Rift will come out at $400 and feature a better 5 inch screen.

    I'd gladly pay that price
     
  8. Daozang

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    I find myself hoping you are wrong and right, at the same time...!
    I think 300$ is a nice starting price, a price that might make the adoption rate go up and the mass manufacturing go up as well.
    But I really want a better resolution...
    And I'd gladly pay a hundred more for it!
     
  9. sebbbi

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    One of my colleagues brought his Oculus dev kit to the office last Monday, and I played with it a bit. The latency is very low. It is there, but doesn't irritate me. The display resolution is a bigger problem. I can easily see the RGB subpixel layout of the display.

    But even with the low res display, Oculus is deeply immersive and feels natural. If the consumer model has a better resolution display and they price it correctly, it could become a popular device.
     
  10. Billy Idol

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    What about motion sickness? Did you have any problems with it?
     
  11. Daozang

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  12. thatdude90210

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    Wow, that looks pretty awesome. Just hope I don't break something in the room while playing that. :)
     
  13. Rodéric

    Rodéric a.k.a. Ingenu
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    We have one at the office, it's interesting, but resolution is too low, display lag and ghosting are too high.
    Gimme the same with a retina display with well calibrated colours, no display lag neither ghosting and maybe...

    (Though it's still really odd when you play w/ mouse & keyboard, also it isolates too much from your surroundings IMO, too accident prone. [Don't try to drink/eat with that on, and don't move your hands around too much or you'll spend a lot of time trying to find things again, don't try to look at your keyboard to check where a key is or your hands are either...])
     
  14. Scott_Arm

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    They should put a forward facing camera on it, so you can press a button in the game and view the world in front of you. Lol.

    I love the idea of this thing, but I think it's going to get a little scary when you having people with gaming addictions that can no longer see what time of day it is by looking out of the window, or even seeing a clock in the room.
     
  15. Malo

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    Sounds like when VR was tried 10 years or so ago. So try again in 10 years or so from now again?
     
  16. PixResearch

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    I was quite impressed by the dev kit tbh. The consumer device is bound to go with a higher res display but they did say the idea was to get it in the hands of devs quickly. The screen already took a res boost compared to what was advertised on the kickstarter.

    It is in need of a front facing camera and a couple more sensors for positional awareness. I suspect few of the devs will be experimenting with their own front facing cameras for things like horizon detection and orientation.

    Still waiting on mine to arrive though! Big shipping delays...
     
  17. sebbbi

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    I used in only for 10 minutes or so. Didn't have any problems, and I usually have huge issues with motion sickness. The low resolution (ability to see separate RGB subpixels) was clearly the most distracting thing for me. Not enough to kill the immersion, but definitely something that needs to be solved before the consumer model launch.

    I wasn't that sensitive to display resolution until I got used to a 284 ppi phone screen and the retina ipad.
     
  18. idsn6

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    Oculus's concept for the eventual (c. 2014) consumer version shows that they are at least aware of these limitations of the developer preview model.

    [​IMG]

    Even 1080p is far from Retina, but I believe it is enough to be very attractive as an initial offering to the market. Abrash points out that if VR breaks through to broad adoption its equalizing effect could be a boon to the industry: improvements to immersion are viscerally obvious, so claims of diminishing returns would once again be dominated by an arms race toward higher resolution/framerate/responsiveness/verisimilitude.

    Augmented reality per se doesn't particularly excite me. Rather, I would like to see potential uses of stereo cameras to augment the virtual reality. Warding the user away before they bump into a meatspace obstacle is an obvious start, but using them for hand tracking and absolute positioning should be the goal. There are already very cool demos in combination with, say, Hydras, but providing this functionality without peripherals would be ideal.



    I believe that high-fidelity unencumbered hand/body tracking in combination with virtual reality is the point where the body transfer illusion really comes to the fore. Since touch appears to be an important component in this illusion, the experience may be enhanced by priming the user with simultaneous touches in both spaces (I wonder whether this could be performed with one arm touching the other, or whether, like tickling, it takes a third party to fully fool the brain). Once the player has transferred perceptual ownership to their virtual limbs, experiences like this climactic Dead Space moment are going to be significantly more affecting.

    That begins to segue into the dangers of VR. I think that the full bore realization of this technology may be an incredibly potent superstimulus, and if it gains real traction in the market I will frankly be very surprised if people do not die. Obviously there are a large number of hurdles that must be successfully passed over several years before this becomes a real concern, but in that eventuality hopefully the creators of virtual content will show some restraint and responsibility to allow VR to come into its own.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Rodéric

    Rodéric a.k.a. Ingenu
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    I think they are on the right track, and I'll test again when they sell the Oculus Rift 2.

    There's a real disconnect between moving your head around and having the remaining of your body immobile, plus your neck isn't meant to move that much to begin with :p

    I wonder how to make good use of that device, I haven't given controls any thoughts but it doesn't seem trivial to have something both natural and useful... (unless playing while standing up)
     
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