No one quite knows what the final specifications of the consumer version of the Oculus Rift headset is going to be like. Chances are it will have a much higher definition screen, possibly 4k but at least 1440P, full positional tracking (in 360 degrees) and a built in headset. However something that now seems likely to be included also is hand tracking, thanks to a purchase Oculus made late last week of a firm that makes a camera that slots onto DK2 headsets.
It’s called Nimble VR and it works in a similar manner to Microsoft’s Kinect camera, using 3D imaging to accurately represent your hands within a game and it’s as simple as clipping it to the front of the headset. Of course what Oculus will likely do is build the camera functionality into the headset itself, possibly using two and giving it the ability to augment reality as well as virtualise it.
Nimble was actually in the middle of its Kickstarter when Oculus announced the buyout, so the campaign has now been halted. However, all those that initially pledged have been promised to receive their rewards – it’s not like Facebook can’t afford them.
The other company that Oculus VR recently acquired on its quest to VR dominance, is 13th Lab. It’s a company that has come up with a way to do market-free augmented reality and real-time 3D construction, essentially allowing 3D environments to be created using live-camera feeds. That would essentially allow you to wear your VR headset and walk around real locations, seeing them as they are, but entirely different at the same time.
Imagine retexturing your living room to make it seem alive? Or customising the virtual world you’re in, to make it feel more like the one you’re sat in. Your chair could look like your real chair and your desk, just like your real desk.
“The ability to acquire accurate 3D models of the real-world can enable all sorts of new applications and experiences, like visiting a one-to-one 3D model of the pyramids in Egypt or the Roman Colosseum in VR,” Oculus said in a blog post.
Oculus has also hired on a new motion capture expert, suggesting that its first party titles will have some seriously detailed human beings in them. We’ve seen still images of them before and indeed they can look very real. The question will be if they can look as good when fully animated.
Time will tell.