Oculus Rift Crescent Bay Prototype Review

Oculus has a very large booth setup in the middle of the Las Vegas Convention Center during CES 2015. Facebook money is certainly apparent in their setup. No expense has been spared.

Once I arrive I am directed towards a dimly lit 12’x12’ (approx.) sound proofed room. The Oculus staff member handed me the Crescent Bay and I easily place it onto my head and remain standing. Here is what happens next…

Demo Content
Demo takes you through around 12 different scenes. The demos start of simple and gradually advance in complexity and action. The standout scenes are:

  • T. Rex standing in front of me where I can move in, look around and even crouch next to the T-Rex.
  • Sci-fi city scape where I'm standing on a ledge. Looking down over the ledge is very disconcerting. I stepped off the virtual edge but my brain was screaming “Don’t jump”
  • Long corridor with a T. Rex at the end. At first, it does not see me. It turns and spots me and stomps down the corridor toward me. It stops just in front of me, opens its mouth and roars and walks overhead, I look up its underbelly as it passes. Impressive!
  • Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) was demonstrated with the Showdown demo. I can compare this directly with the DK2 since I tried this at the VRLA event. Resolution and sense of presence (no lag) is certainly superior to the DK2

Hardware Summary

  • Lighter than DK2
  • More comfortable than DK2
  • Easier to place onto your head and does not give you “Oculus Head” to mess up your hair.
  • Only one cable that no longer gets in your way as much as it does in the DK2 

    Of note. In previous interviews with Oculus CEO 
    Brendan Iribe he stated the following as a minimum for good VR:
  • Six degrees of freedom
  • 360 degree tracking
  • Sub-millimeter accuracy
  • Sub-20 milliseconds of latency from you moving your head to the last photon hitting your eye
  • Persistence of less than three milliseconds
  • 90 hertz refresh rate
  • At least 1k x 1k resolution per eye
  • No visible pixels
  • Comfortable eyebox
  • Field of view greater than 90 degrees.

Field of View (FOV)
Field of view appeared to very similar to the 100 degrees in the DK2 device. Nothing too much new there.

Unfortunately the Crescent Bay still has the visible opening that allows you to see the floor if you look all the way down. This is OK in a dark room but can be distracting in a brighter room.

Resolution is a step above the DK2. Crescent Bay would be the same jump from DK2 as the DK2 was to the DK1. That is to say there is still some screen door effect (SDE) but is greatly reduced to the point it no longer jumps out at you and says “ugh, look at those pixels”

To those of you who have tried the Gear VR, very similar to the pixel density. Suggesting the Crescent Bay is a 1440p resolution. One interesting note about resolution, Palmer Luckey has even stated that 4K is not enough to completely remove all the visible pixels (Watch the interview with Palmer Luckey below)

Crescent Bay has one cable that appears to be of similar thickness to HDMI. My guess is HDMI/power cable perhaps with the Spectra7 chip.

Refresh Rate
DK2 is 75 FPS. Palmer and Iribe have stated they are aiming for 90 fps in the consumer version. 

Motion Tracking
The camera was not visible in the test room. However since the Crescent bay contains the LEDs on the back of the device as well as the front. The device maintains a full 360 degree ability.

Since the demo is a standing demo, I could duck, crouch and lean side to side. All without the device losing track of my movement.

I may be a little biased since I am passionate about VR. However I really enjoyed this demo. It proved to me at least that the Crescent Bay, as it stands now is ready in terms of the VR experience. What remains? I am sure the design engineers will love to play around with the device to "sex it up"
As Oculus has stated before. They are working on the control aspect of the design. With their recent purchase of NimbleVR some kind of hand/arm tracking will likely be their goal.

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