Oculus Rift Crystal Cove brings improved tracking and OLED displays

Written by Edward Chester

January 7, 2014 // 10:30 p.m.

Tags: #ces-2014 #crystal-cove #oculus-rift #oculus-rift-crystal-cove #oled #persistence

Oculus has revealed the latest prototype Oculus Rift, called Crystal Cove, which adds improved tracking and OLED displays.

Previous versions of the virtual reality headset use LCD displays, which are inherently slower than OLED. With the new OLED panels the headset provides more freedom for use of faster framerates. In particular, the Crystal Cove prototype uses the fast refresh rate to provide low persistence images to reduce motion blur.

Low persistence refers to the effect of actually showing the image for a reduced period of time, with the image going blank between frames. This tricks the eye/brain into filling in the blanks and perceiving a smoother image. It's the same principle applied to some LCD monitors that pulse the backlighting on and off to reduce the appearance of motion blur.

Joining the new screens is a boost to the tracking abilities. Crystal Cove uses a tracking camera that faces the user and a series of white dots on the Oculus Rift - just like they do for movie motion tracking - to add positional as well as motion tracking. Now when the user leans over or crouches down the Oculus will detect this and respond accordingly. Previous versions couldn't handle these types of motions, which detracted from the sense of immersion and could lead to heighten motion sickness.

The addition of these new features isn't predicted to add to the final cost of the commercial hardware, with VP of Product, Nate Mitchell, telling Polygon that "Cost has always been at the crux of the entire Oculus platform, if the hardware is not affordable, it might as well not exist. We made sure this is a low-cost solution without sacrificing any quality. This is a top-notch positional tracking system."

There is no further word on when the final Oculus Rift will arrive and exactly what its specs will be.

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