At Facebook’s F8 developer conference Oculus revealed a glimpse at an intriguing new headset prototype dubbed ‘Half Dome’. Including a 140 degree field of view, varifocal displays, and what appears to be eye-tracking, the prototype is a tantalizing peek at the company’s research and what may lay ahead of us—just don’t expect it everything we saw “anytime soon,” says Oculus co-founder and Head of Rift Nate Mitchell.

Besides the fact that Oculus is undoubtedly working on a second flagship PC VR headset, nothing is known about it thus far. And derailing the hypetrain somewhat, Mitchell took to Reddit to address comments reeling from the prospect of Half Dome’s technology making its way into a potential Rift 2.

Image courtesy Facebook

“Seriously, a varifocal display?” writes Reddit user ‘DarthBuzzard’. “I honestly expected that to be CV3 and CV2 would have simulated depth of focus rather than full depth of focus. Looks like things really are moving faster than expected!”

In response, Mitchell had this to say:

“[Maria Fernandez Guajardo, Head of Product Management, Core Tech at Oculus] covered a bunch of areas of long term research for us. This is just a peek into some feature prototypes we’ve been working on. However, don’t expect to see all of these technologies in a product anytime soon.”

While this doesn’t entirely negate a prospective Rift 2 with varifocal displays, 140 degree field of view, and eye-tracking (or any combination of the three), being able to productize all of these these things into a single headset will likely take time to get right.

SEE ALSO
Oculus Claims Breakthrough in Hand-tracking Accuracy

VR headsets are ideally robust devices built to withstand the daily abuses from their owners, and varifocal displays, which physically move to accommodate a wider range of focus, introduce a number of moving parts that are constantly moving in tandem with the user’s gaze. These parts undoubtedly also complicate manufacturing and increase the overall cost of the device too.

 

Eye-tracking is however something that is both physically robust, and probably much cheaper to make for Oculus considering last year’s acquisition of Eye Tribe, a Denmark-based eye-tracking startup which advertised “the world’s most affordable eye tracker” as far back as 2013.

As for the wider field of view: it’s still uncertain if the varifocal displays were a key technology in obtaining the 140 degree FOV, although Fernandez Guajardo stated at F8 that the company’s “continued innovation in lenses has allowed [Oculus] to pack all of this technology and still keep the Rift form-factor.” One of the images shown at F8 does show a much larger pair of supposed Fresnel lenses—so not a stark impossibility either.

Image courtesy Facebook

At GDC last year, Head of Oculus PC VR Brendan Iribe stated that Rift will remain the company’s flagship VR headset for “at least the next two years.” Mincing Iribe’s statement somewhat, that puts a potential Rift 2 launching sometime in 2019 at its earliest.

We hope to see more at Oculus Connect 5 which should be sometime in Fall 2018.

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.


  • Xron

    As I thought. Getting higher res, bigger fov and eye tracking might be possible on cv2, but varifocal display might come only with cv3, unless FB will release atleast 2 headset choices, 1 for majority of the crowd and other for people with deeper pockets.
    P.s I would not advice them to do it though, people will start whining why does FB try to satisfy people with higher income over masses… Most people just can’t understand what production cost means..

    • Sheeple

      FB doesn’t care about VR. They only care collecting and selling your information. VR is simply a mean to do that. Whichever VR tier gives them the most user to harvest on is the one they focus on.

      • Xron

        Same as all big companies :/

        • NooYawker

          Other companies sole source of income is monetizing your private data?

          • Xron

            They do use adds? do they not? Fb uses adds aswell, so they earn that way aswell? + they have another businesses like the one we should be discussing now, not saying crap about a company who releases Vr headsets.
            If you don’t want to use it, DO NOT, but keep your opinion to youself. Its a free world, but when people like you says same thing xxx times, it feels like spam, and I ignore spam. (LIke many others…, there is an option to block users you don’t want to read/listen)

          • NooYawker

            I have to repeat myself when morons say things like “everyone does it.”
            I really like it when you say it’s a free world but keep your opinion to yourself. But yea sure I’ll add you to my block list of idiots.

          • Eric Hi

            add me too… maybe i’m an idiot too because i agree with him… and when he says it’s a free world and keep your opinion to yourself it’s because the above opinion is just gossip bullsh@% it ain’t anything ‘deep’ or ‘profound’ like you make it to be… just plain gossip shallow bullsh@%… sorry, that’s why i agree with him

          • NooYawker

            Ok. It’s gossip zuckerberg took out a full page ad apologizing for abusing the private data they mined.
            No problem. I’ll add another moron to the block list. Done.

          • Eric Hi

            i must agree with Xron!!! sick of the whiners and loosers who always have something bad to say… no matter who it is… even if the person/company will be perfect… there will always be whiners and haters… but you know… “haters gonna hate hate hate… we’re just gonna shake it off…” that’s all we can do, we can’t change the f@#&ed up world…

          • crim3

            Those other companies are the ones buying that information from Facebook, Microsoft, Google… you know.

    • Lou Wallace

      Wait? Nate still works for oculus? The guy that broke into zenimax, stole files on a PC, and was dumb enough to get caught? As documented in the zenimax court case? Lol! The same Nate that lied to road to VR when they asked him about the severed Samsung relationship and he lied saying it had “never been better” and road to VR publicly ridiculed him? Why has he not been laughed out of the industry like the lying clown he is? Why does anyone care what this liar thief says? Mark did call his users dumphcks ya?

      • Eric Hi

        well he didn’t mean all of ’em… just dumbf*cks like you… who hate him and all of his companyworkers (like mitchell) because of racist reasons… and nothing else

  • UnfulfilledPromise

    Where is Santa Cruz?? They keep showing off these prototypes that never see the light of day. Another one to pile on the list.

    • Walextheone

      There’s something really wrong with your thinking kid.

      They’ve just released the Oculus Go. Before that dk1, dk2, cv1 and the Gear. Why release something prematurely? It just don’t make any sense.

      • Firestorm185

        Yeah, dev kits wont be out for Santa Cruz til the end of the year, we’ve known that all along.

    • daveinpublic

      Your timing is off, they just released Go 2 days ago.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Go isn’t Santa Cruz..

        • daveinpublic

          He said another one to pile on the list, I was referring to the list of unreleased headsets, keep up.

          Have fun with that Vive Pro you keep talking up.

      • gothicvillas

        Go is a VR joke come on

    • brandon9271

      The next leap in VR tech to reach consumers is almost guaranteed to NOT come from Oculus or HTC. They’re focused on glorified View-Masters at the moment. R&D might be busy but they’re hamstrung by the higher ups.

    • crim3

      Yes, *prototypes*

  • sfmike

    If sales and interest doesn’t improve in the mass market we might never see any of this. Corporations shut down divisions not making big profits.

    • Lou Wallace

      Wait wut? Palmer said we had to accept the Faustian bargain with Facebook because they would pour mega billions subsidizing everything! We had to tolerate getting ballparked and pepperidged farmed, lied too, hustled, scammed, ridiculed, destroyed in some cases, professionally and personally because Facebook billions would save us all. Now while he sails around in his 100 million dollar yacht, many of my developer friends are starving to death. Now you say Facebook may close down the whole damn thing? Huh? Wut? Good Lord noooo! I trusted Palmer, I trusted carmack, I trusted zuck! You mean I might really be a Stoopid dumbphuck that wasted a decade of my life on lies by crooks? Oh God no. What did Jack Nicholson say about marks dumbphucks handling the truth? Dealing with reality?

      • MentalParadox

        You have issues. I don’t need the data FB harvested about you to know that.

        • brandon9271

          Apparently he devoted time and money into VR because it was going to be “the next big thing.” Now he’s bitter at everyone involved

          • Eric Hi

            i think it’s bigger ‘issues’… try psychological issues… holy crap

    • Xron

      They said, that they know Vr won’t bring them insta profit in a short term, they’re making it a long term strategy.
      P.s ofc there is an option its just a talk, but it will ruin their image.
      P.s.s I don’t need comments below that their image is ruined already. If you have something yo discuss about headset then do so, if not, keep your opinion to yourself (to all).

  • MosBen

    I don’t begrudge Oculus, or other VR manufacturers, showing off R&D stuff that they don’t intend to put into consumer products very soon. I do wish, however, that we’d get a more definite timeline of how long the product cycle for these devices is supposed to be. Initially, Oculus talked about HMDs having a cycle similar to phones, which would mean new designs every year, or if they were talking about the length that people have them, 2-3 years. On the outside that would put a Rift 2 release in early to mid 2019, which conforms to what Irbe said. But if that’s the case, it feels like we should be seeing prototypes that are a bit further along than Half-Dome, or at least they’d be talking about WHEN they’ll start talking about the next generation of hardware.

    I’m willing to wait. I’d just like a better timeline of what that wait will be like.

    • Lou Wallace

      Wait, iribe? Seriously? The lying CEO that lied to Facebook attorneys about the theft and broken ndas with Palmer and carmack? As documented in the zenimax court documents? The CEO who only sold to mark on the condition he could not be fired for any reason (putting his employment above VR in general, the VR community less generally, but certainly screwing over marks dumbphucks specifically who may have benefitted from his firing years Ago?) The same CEO who lied at a conference in Ireland stating publicly that they had completely solved VR sickness? You trust anything this lying scumbag says with so much proof he is garbage? It’s no longer on him, what did mark call you? A dumbphuck? Don’t be a dumbphuck. Too many dumbphucks in this industry cheering on these slimeballs crooks has wrecked it all. Sad.

      • MosBen

        Jesus, dude. Take a break and a breath. I didn’t say that I have any particular love or trust of Irbe, though to be fair I have the ax that you seem to want to grind with him either. I have a Rift. I like it. I would like to know when they plan on releasing the next version of it, though I am not institutionally or emotionally committed to getting it if someone else is offering a better product. The next generation of HMDs is when I’m expecting (fingers crossed) to finally be able to recommend VR to people outside of enthusiasts. But maybe in the meantime you should take an aerobics class or something; get that energy out.

        • Lou Wallace

          As a large Facebook shareholder I have advocated for iribe, Nate, and carmack at a minimum to be replaced. They have poor morals and ethics and now have cost the shareholders billions in lawsuits. Repeated meetings with other shareholders, pension funds, hedge funds, etc is bearing fruit as mark did fire Palmer and demoted iribe. Still until iribe, Nate, and carmack are removed, mark has not set this ship straight.

          • Jistuce

            As a large facebook shareholder, you’re concerned about ethics? Have you LOOKED at what facebook is?

          • Lou Wallace

            Facebook can be reformed, or Congress may remove mark. Don’t give up hope, change is the only constant. For now iribe, Nate and carmack need removal.

          • NooYawker

            If they reform they’ll go bankrupt.

          • brubble

            FFS man, this kind of crap surprises you? Welcome to the entire f*cking world of business/politics/humanity. Congratulations! Youve seen the light!

            You know what? Screw it, its time for you to finally fire up the M1 Abrams tank you’ve kept stashed in the barn for just such occasions.

          • Lou Wallace

            Quitters never win, I will not throw in the towel on getting iribe, Nate, and carmack removed from oculus while I still have life. They are confirmed thieves and lying cheats that have outlived any usefulness in a professional organization. It’s disgraceful and I believe with faith anything is possible.

          • brubble

            Best of luck with that endeavour.

            Time well spent. /s

          • Get Schwifty!

            Honestly, this sounds personal. Not saying you don’t have a reason, but if they are that bad do you have consensus among others they are this way?

          • Eric Hi

            omg brubble you cracked me upppppppp XD where did you get that from? “Screw it, its time for you to finally fire up the Abrams tank you’ve kept stashed in the barn for just such occasions.” omgggggggg that was Hilarious… and yea… that lou dude is as sick as f@& no doubt… (omg XD)

          • brubble

            Lou seems like a bit of a loose canon (full of sh*t).

          • Jistuce

            How about taking shots at Facebook management first, THEN worrying about the much smaller issue of Oculus, mister major shareholder?

          • Lou Wallace

            Companies and boards pay me for my relevant experience. I dealt with carmack and romero in the 90s while employed at ibm on dwango projects (distributed wide area network gaming, doom quake etc). Palmer himself in 2012 publicly attributed my assistance with leep VR giving him the idea for the rift in 2009 atmtbs3d. I have advocated for years that mark needs to divest some of his power at Facebook, but I am far more knowledgeable about the VR side of that operation. It is the compassion in my heart and personal moral responsibility why I keep suffering the ignorance of people like you. Unlike Palmer and iribe, I really do care.

          • brandon9271

            You must have high blood pressure

  • Miqa

    It means that Rift 2 won’t be out tomorrow. Nothing more, nothing less. These are expected improvements in time, and since they already are able to make it with a good form factor, I’m sure we’ll see it in coming products.

    • brubble

      ….

  • dk
  • Yes, something like that before 2019 is just impossible.