Sunday, March 01, 2015
Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2
One of my "splurges" on return to the night shift was to buy an Oculus Development Kit 2.
What is an Oculus DK2? Well only one of the coolest new gadgets that came out last year. Oculus VR is a company that had been working on a Virtual Reality Head Mounted Display for quite some time. The current version is only intended for Developers, who use the DevKit version to build and test support for the upcoming commercial model. However, you don't have to be a Developer to buy one, though they do recommend you wait for the final public version.
So about two or three weeks after receiving it I decided it was high time to try it out. I just finished working a bunch of shifts, and now I had some time off to play.
After figuring out how to connect everything up I started looking around for something to try it with. I came across a site called The Rift Arcade that spotlights and reviews demos and games for the Oculus.
One of the demos that looked interesting was the GE Subsea Experience. They were pretty impressed with it, so I thought I'd give it a try.
First I started up the Oculus VR Configuration and made sure it was set up correctly. Part of the setup process was to show a demo scene. I didn't have any super high expectations, so I was more then pleasantly surprised to see how immersive it appeared. The demo displayed a desk in front of me. When I looked around the head tracker changed my view to show me looking down. The image looked just like I had done it in real life. It was almost disorienting to see my virtual chair that I was sitting in, instead of the "real" chair that I was occupying. I even found myself exclaiming out loud "Wow, this looks pretty cool!"
Next I loaded up the GE demo. I was instantly transported into a deep sea sub that was floating on the surface. I started looking around, and my viewpoint changed just like it I was there. I could look up, side to side, and even down again to see my virtual arms and hands resting on the virtual chair. Everything in real life was gone, and I was fully immersed in my Virtual World.
The experience was like being on one of those Disney Rides that wraps you up in a fantasy virtual world. I felt like I was physically someplace else. I started squealing like a little kid as I enjoyed the best VR experience I have ever had. Finally, a consumer grade Head Mounted Display that works! It really is something that you have to experience yourself. The YouTube videos don't do it nearly enough justice. Seeing it in stereo vision without those goofy split views really pulls you in.
So yeah, I think Facebook got their $2 Billion worth out of buying Oculus VR. This tech is going to change everything.
For Developers (and hobbyist like me) the good news is that you can use the Unreal Engine to build new games for the Oculus Rift. Currently the Unreal Engine is FREE for students, and a mere $19.95/month plus 5%. Not a bad deal.
March 1, 2015 | Permalink