Oculus today at F8 overviewed some of the latest VR technology that they’d been working on internally. Among the projects mentioned is the ‘Half Dome’ prototype, a Rift-like headset with a 140 degree field of view, varifocal displays, and what appears to be eye-tracking.
Maria Fernandez Guajardo, Head of Product Management, Core Tech at Oculus, revealed the Half Dome prototype after saying that her job is to help take the research that’s happening within the company and turn it into practical building blocks for future projects. She also spoke to the company’s hand-tracking research, which the company claims is “far more accurate than any method before […].”
Guajardo said that the Half Dome prototype manages to pack a 140 degree field of view and varifocal displays into a Rift-like form factor. The wide field of view appears to be thanks to new Fresnel lenses, and the appearance of eye-tracking technology on the headset may also play a role.
While eye-tracking may benefit the field of view improvements, it’s almost certainly utilized primarily in the Half Dome prototype’s varifocal displays, which physically move back and forth to dynamically shift the focus of the optical system.
Doing so allows for sharp imagery even with nearfield objects, a problem that Guajardo says plagues the consumer headsets of today. She said that much attention has been paid to making Half Dome’s display actuation system silent and otherwise imperceptible to the user.
During the presentation photos of other unspecified prototype headsets also made an appearance:
In the last year, Oculus has detailed a range of research projects relating to varifocal technology.
Correction (5/2/18): An earlier version of this article stated that Guajardo was part of Facebook. While Oculus is owned by Facebook, Guajardo is actually part of Oculus. This has been corrected in the article above. Hat tip to Reddit user Heaney555 who pointed this out.