This afternoon Oculus revealed a new VR headset – a prototype called Half Dome. This new headset isn’t necessarily a replacement for any previous headset – it’s a testing ground for what’s to come. This new headset project was revealed at F8, Facebook’s developer conference, where other VR and social networking projects of all sorts were also revealed as they are each year.
This Maria Fernandez Guajardo, Oculus head of Core Tech product management, spoke about the next-gen headset project Half Dome. This device’s intent is bringing some of virtual reality’s bigger annoyances out into the light and squashing them in kind. These include the likes of variable depth of focus – the ability to see things up close and far away – and tunnel vision.
This Half Dome headset expands the field of view of the wearer well beyond that of a standard Oculus Rift – or Oculus Go, for that matter. Oculus Rift and HTC Vive both offer 110-degrees of view – Half Dome is said to roll with 140-degrees at least. It also has a set of displays sharper than those included in the standard Oculus Rift – but that’s nothing new. We knew that’d be coming inevitably.
What’ll be most interesting is seeing how Oculus uses internal sensors (inside the headset, pointing inward at the user) to track where the user’s gaze goes. That’ll assist in the dynamic re-focusing of the viewer’s field of vision. The most simple way to see how this will be helpful is in the picking up of a tiny slip of paper with a note on it. Once you pick it up and bring it close to your face, you should be able to read it better than if it were a few feet away.
Half Dome works to capture the movement of objects outside of itself and its connected controllers. This means tracking fingers, hands, and other body parts, too. That’s already begun in earnest at more companies than just one – just you wait!