Facebook’s VP of AR/VR Andrew “Boz” Bosworth showed a quick glimpse of a “mixed reality” game of soccer using Oculus Santa Cruz, the company’s 6 DOF standalone VR headset prototype.

This is the first hint that Santa Cruz could have the ability to not only use its multiple sensors to map the environment for VR positional tracking, but also allow for what Bosworth calls “mixed reality” experiences as well.

“It’s just a (very, very early) prototype but that’s how everything starts,” writes Bosworth in a recent tweet.

With only a single image to go on, it’s still uncertain to what extent the headset can do augmented reality, sometimes called ‘mixed reality’. As we last saw it, the headset contains four front-facing camera sensors intended for depth sensing; the possibility of interpolating a stereoscopic view from these sensors sounds like a tall order, but not impossible. Another possibility could be that only the soccer ball is being tracked, making for a decidedly more virtual experience than augmented.

Everything We Know About Oculus Santa Cruz (so far)

Oculus originally unveiled their first publicly shown iteration of the Santa Cruz prototype at Oculus Connect 3 in 2016. With the ability to deliver 6DOF positional tracking for both the headset and motion controllers, Santa Cruz (still a code name) is positioned somewhere between Oculus Go and Rift in functionality. As a standalone headset, it has everything needed to play VR on-board including an internal processor, displays, battery, and sensors—no smartphone or PC required. There’s still no official launch date or pricing available however.

We hope to learn more at Oculus Connect this year, the company’s annual developer conference that takes place in the fall. In the meantime, check out our hands-on with Santa Cruz from last year’s Connect to get a better idea of what could be in store.

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  • impurekind

    Well, aren’t the 4 “sensors” on the headset actually cameras capable of seeing/showing what’s outside the headset? If so then mixed reality should be easily achievable on this thing–and I’d kinda hope this was the case to be honest, or else it would seem like a bit of a missed opportunity.

    • dk

      most likely the headset is tracking the ball ….but to give u good pass through video u would need 2 cameras in the middle on front of the headset not in the corners

  • Engineer_92

    Does anyone know if Santa Cruz would likely have eye tracking?

    • David Wallin

      I would say the chance of that is low – they haven’t announced that as a feature and most likely they will try to keep the weight / cost as low as they can on a device like this.

    • Konchu

      I do agree it sounds like the performance gain on eye tracking is substantial so for an all in one like Santa Cruz it could help a lot. I guess it comes down if that helps them and hits the price point. As well as software I Feel Santa Cruz may be its own thing aka all new apps they could port in the gear apps or standard Oculus apps for sure. But I think the meat will be new games optimized for the hardware.

  • plrr

    Eh… I really don’t think mixed reality and augmented reality is the same thing! On a spectrum with pure VR in one end, and actual reality in the other end, mixed reality is (as I understand it) everything in between. AR, then, is the the part of MR that is closest to reality… And AR should perhaps encompass things that are not VR at all, like HUDs in cars

    • Lucidfeuer

      Well they’re about the same thing, you could say that AR is strictly overlaying virtual object on the real-world, while MR is starting to modify/change this world (like walls, exteriors, people etc…)

  • GetWithTheTime

    Vive Pro already has this MR/AR stuffs…


    • Ombra Alberto


  • If it features something about body tracking, it becomes the best headset ever