Hot on the heels of launching their $199 VR headsets, Oculus took the stage at the F8 Developer Conference and showed off the Half Dome. Don't be fooled by its apparent similarities with the Oculus Rift - the real surprises are inside.
Half Dome's means of operation relies on mechanical innards of the device, which move lenses closer to and farther away from the eye. Furthermore, prototype lenses boast a 140 degree field of view, or FOV as it's commonly abbreviated.
Combination of movement and wide FOV should ensure that Oculus' Half Dome allows for sharp imaging regardless of proximity. Moreover, the company ensured that movement of lenses is silent, so as to prevent any squeaking or anything that may prove to be detrimental to immersion.
The company's representative performed a test by moving virtual items closer to his face, which immediately removed blur from visible elements. This would suggest that the technology is well on its way to production but there's more to this.
Unfortunately, Oculus skimped quite a lot on details, not even providing side to side comparisons when demonstrating hand recognition. This is usually the first clue that we're looking at a prototype in a very early phase of development.
We're guessing that things are probably too laggy for a proper demonstration and we're not even slagging Oculus off, we're just erring on the side of caution. After all, it wouldn't be the first prototype that's dumped along the way.
The company expects the technology in Half Dome to be available in VR headsets within five years. Oculus also revealed their plans for individual 4K panels for each eye, although it's still too early to think about any sort of consumer oriented implementation. After all, the current crop of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive devices rely on 1200x1080 panels.
In related news, analysts have pegged Oculus Go to outsell all VR gear available in 2018, except perhaps for Google's cardboard based solutions. It has been projected that the combination of attractive pricing and a chance to get a taste of VR will lead to Oculus Go selling 1.8 million units.