Dubbed the “Crystal Cove Prototype”, this new version of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset comes with a head tracking camera that monitors the user’s head position in 3D. Making use of the numerous LEDs that almost bedazzle the Rift prototype, the camera allows users to move their heads backwards and forwards, as well as up and down, in order to get a closer look at in-game objects or to peek under tables and over cover. Obviously, this is a massive jump forward from previous Rift iterations that simply tracked head rotation.
In addition to three-dimensional head tracking, this new prototype sports an OLED display that features a low persistence. What that means is that motion blur is greatly diminished. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey describes the new screen as one that has pixels that “blink”. According to Luckey, no other OLED display on the market features technology like this. “Our new OLED panel in the prototype switches in well under a millisecond,” he explained, “so it’s faster than any LCD monitor on the market … what we’re doing is we’re taking the image and flashing it on when it’s correct, and only keeping that on for a fraction of a millisecond and then turning it off and then going black until the next pulse.”
The best part about this new addition to the Rift is that it isn’t going to change the price of the final product. Despite this providing “a top-notch positional tracking system”, the boost in technology won’t increase the price of the final consumer version. What that price will be remains to be seen, but Oculus has always aimed for around $300.
As for when we can expect retail versions, the team from Oculus had nothing to announce. They did, however, promise further announcements for later in the year.
Be sure to read this Gizmodo article if you want a very enthusiastic report on what it feels like to use the new Crystal Cove Rift.