3D Vision Blog

A normal user's look into the world of 3D Stereo Technologies

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The Oculus Rift HMD is on Track for Shipping in March

February 4th, 2013 · 10 Comments · 3D / AR / VR / HMD


Some good news for everyone that is expecting their Oculus Rift developer kit like me. The team at Oculus has shared some interesting information about final units and their production and has confirmed that they have finished the first pilot run at the factory for 40 complete units and are on track for starting the mass production by plan and have Oculus Rit dev kits start shipping in March. Hopefully there will be no extra delays caused by the upcoming Chinese New Year that starts in a few days. The delay that has moved the initially announced November/December 2012 release to March this year caused by the need to change the display used in the Rift has apparently also allowed the team at Oclulus to implement some new and interesting features in the final dev kits of the device and now that is is already finalized and in production they have shared more details about these as well.

One of the more serious concerns about the device was that it may not be suitable for people wearing contact lenses or prescription glasses, something that has been a bit of a problem for pretty much all consumer-oriented HMD devices we’ve seen so far becoming available on the market. It is not an easy task to properly block the external light and allow for the use of glasses and compromising with any of these can lead to compromises with the experience and when you are designing a device intended for better immersion such compromises are not a good idea. It is a fact that our eyes are not able to focus properly at objects very close to them, so that is why HMD devices have to use optics to allow our eyes to be able to properly focus on the displays inside them. And if you are having problems with your vision as many of us do nowadays you need to wear contact lenses or prescription glasses in order to be able to properly see the image produced by an HMD device such as the Rift.


The initial prototype of the Oculus Rift did not directly address the needs of people that wear contact lenses or prescription glasses, but the extra time that the team at Oclulus had due to the screen delay has allowed them to work on that issue. So the final dev kits will come with three pairs of removable eyecups, instead of just a single, permanent set. The different eyecups should allow to switch the focal distance of the developer kit between three predefined settings, so if you are nearsighted and your vision isn’t too bad, you may be able to use the developer kit without glasses or contacts.

Here is how the interchangeable eyecups will work:
– If you have normal vision (20/20 or 6/6 vision) or you wear contacts, your vision inside the Rift will match your vision in real life. You’ll have to use eyecup set A.
– If you’re farsighted, you’ll have no visual problems in the Rift because the optics are focused at infinity (which makes your brain think it’s looking at something far away). You’ll also have to use set A.
– If you’re nearsighted, the additional eyecups, B and C, should allow you to see inside the Rift as if you were wearing glasses. Again, this is because the lens cups change the focal distance. If you’re moderately nearsighted, you’ll have to use set B. If you’re very nearsighted, you’ll have to use set C.


Unfortunately there is no word yet what diopter ranges are the sets B and C going to cover, so it is hard to know if these will work for you or not and even if they work how well will they do. And while this solution is not perfect, it is better than nothing. The interchangeable eye cups with different lenses will be suitable only for nearsighted people, if you have other issues with your eyes such as astigmatism these will not help you. There however is another thing that may allow you to use the device with the standard eyecup set and your prescription glasses, this is the Adjustable Assembly solution – a geared mechanism that should allow you to extend and retract the assembly that holds the screen and the eyecups to position it comfortably. This means that you will be able to extend the assembly to provide extra clearance for glasses or a larger brow, though the size of the prescription glasses would probably matter much and you will be able to fit only smaller ones, though this could also lead to reduction of the FOV you get. If however you don’t need to wear glasses or need extra space you should be able to retract the assembly, bringing the lenses closer to your eyes, and thus increasing the field of view you will be getting.

If you have missed to join the effort in Kickstarter, you are still able to pre-order the Oculus Rift developer kit at the official website for $300 USD with estimated shipping date currently set for April 2013. Have in mind that this is for the same dev kit that everyone else will receive in March. The consumer version is apparently being worked on, but we are probably not going to be seeing it anytime this year, as developers will also need some time to implement support for the Rift in various games and applications, as currently there are only a few already announced.

For some more details about the currently ongoing production of the Oculus Rift dev kits…

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Photos of the Latest Oculus Rift Dev Kit Prototype

November 28th, 2012 · 6 Comments · 3D / AR / VR / HMD

Here is how the latest working prototypes of the development kits of the Oculus Rift 3D-capable HMD device currently look like and the Oculus team expects that this is how the final Dev Kits will most likely look like as well, maybe with some minor changes. Probably won’t win any design awards, but with the development kits of the device the functionality is far more important and when the consumer version of the Rift becomes available then they can focus on more appealing design. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait around four more months before we’ll be able to actually get the first Dev Kits of the Oculus Rift, meanwhile there should be more information about the device becoming available soon from Palmer Luckey and the Oculus team…

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The Oculus Rift Dev Kits are Being Delayed for March 2013 Shipping

November 28th, 2012 · 2 Comments · 3D / AR / VR / HMD

The Oculus team has just announced that the shipping for the developer kits of the Oculus Rift 3D VR headset have been rescheduled to March next year due to various reasons causing the delay. Can’t say I’m surprised as similar faith probably will follow with other Kickstarter projects that simply did not expect to get such an overwhelming user interest such as the Rift. That however does not mean that I’m not disappointed by the fact that my early DIY dev kit is not already in my hands as initially promised and that I’ll have to wait 4 more months as literally thousands of other Kickstarter backers of the project. Hopefully the extra wait will be for good as apparently the latest prototype of the device that the Dev Kits will be based on has some changes from the specs of the earlier prototype. Based on this current schedule, the goal is to ship the majority of the Dev kits by mid-March shipping them in the same order as the Kickstarter pledges were received (first come, first served) with all the kits expected to sent out by mid-April 2013. Any pre-orders taken post-Kickstarter are expected to ship in late April 2013 with the delivery for US residents expected to take 5-7 business days and international backers should receive theirs in 2-3 weeks, depending on the destination.

The early Oculus Rift prototypes were using 5.6″ LCD panels, but unfortunately the production of that display panel has been discontinued, so the final design will apparently use a new slightly larger 7″ LCD panel with resolution 1280×800. The bright side is that the new display should be better than the old one in almost every key area including response time, switching time, contrast, and color quality. The improved switching time of the panel actually alleviates most of the motion blur people saw in earlier prototype demos according to Oculus. The downside to the new 7″ panel is the weight is going to be approximately 30g more.

The original Oculus Rift prototypes used an off-the-shelf sensor from one of the leading sensor vendors and while the original sensor was high quality, the Oculus has decided to develop their own 9DOF motion sensor that excels in VR-critical areas. These new sensors should be part of the developer kits shipping in March. The new Oculus sensor will support a refresh rate of up to 1000 Hz, which is several times faster than the previous sensor. In addition to the accelerometer and gyroscope, it also includes a magnetometer, which opens new doors in terms of sensor data and head-tracking. The data coming from the new sensor will be accessible using the Oculus SDK in easy to manipulate formats (quaternion, matrix, Euler angles). The raw sensor data will also be available for those that want to do the math themselves.

Also all developers will be invited to join the Developer Center and start discussing Rift development before the kits begin shipping. The Developer Center will have the latest Oculus SDK, engine integrations, official forums, support system, and ways to send hardware/software feedback directly to the Oculus engineering team.

The other good news is that plans for an even better consumer version of the Oculus Rift are already underway, but these will not be coming anytime soon and if we consider the time needed for the production of the Dev Kits we could probably expect an improved consumer version not earlier than the end of the year 2013 or more realistically sometime in 2014…

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