Today is the last day of the International Consumer Electronics Show, where hundreds of technology vendors show off the latest in gadgets and electronics. Walking around the convention center, you would have seen curved television screens, wearable computers, 3-D printers, Internet-connected appliances and more. The show is a virtual walk into the future. And speaking of virtual, this year’s overall winner, according to news outlet Engadget, is a head-mounted display that immerses the wearer in a virtual reality environment.
The display is code-named Crystal Cove and it comes from Irvine, CA-based Oculus VR, who introduced their first wearable display in 2012 on Kickstarter. Since then, other tech companies have built head-mounted VR displays. But this technology is plagued by the same problems that 3-D movies have had — immersion leads to motion sickness. The brain just can’t handle it.
But with its latest prototype, Oculus has improved the experience by adding sensors and a camera to track the position of the person’s head and body, which more accurately renders the simulated environment and reduces nausea. The fact that the display is able to track the body is a huge benefit, according to Engadget. Marc Perton writes, “lean forward or back, and the virtual environment moves in sync, providing an unparalleled, fully immersive experience.”
According to Perton, the 1080p OLED display is amazingly sharp and bright and the applications for the device extend beyond gaming, which is currently the primary use for the device. People in the auto industry, movie business and the military are talking to Oculus and NASA already uses it to produce virtual tours of Mars and the International Space Station.
It looks strange, you have to admit, and quite clunky. But it seems likely that the oversized goggles will shrink just like every other computer device tends to do.
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