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.
I'm out on paternity leave for the next month and sticking to Facebook for that time. If you miss me while I’m gone, you can always look at this picture of me and @jlax playing soccer in mixed reality. It’s just a (very, very early) prototype but that’s how everything starts… pic.twitter.com/JcCoGdHFba
— Boz (@boztank) May 3, 2018
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.
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.