A recent Wired article featuring a visit to Oculus VR HQ includes an image that might just hold clues to the secretive Oculus Rift 2.0 (or DK2) and it’s rumoured positional tracking capabilities. We take a look.

Zooming In On The Truth?

As I sat recovering from days of Christmas excess, searching the web in search on fresh VR stories (and catching up on old ones) I stumbled upon a recent article in the online edition of Wired Magazine. It featured a visit to the Oculus VR HQ in Irvine California and in an image picturing the writer wearing what seems to be a prototype Rift HMD we’ve not yet seen before – holding the caption:

Three of Oculus’ best brains (standing, from left): founder Palmer Luckey, senior vision engineer Dov Katz, and VP of product Nate Mitchell. The writer (seated) experiences some of their latest breakthroughs.

..I noticed something else in the image which interested me. First the original image (click for full resolution).


..now let’s take a look more closely:


There are a couple of things of interest here. Firstly – the HMD itself seems to be a new construction – likely a unique working prototype. Secondly, note the thin orange cable which runs from the HMD (marked ‘B’ on the image) down onto the floor and up to what appears to be a wall mounted device with cables channelled into the whiteboard next to the monitor. Could this be an imaging device with an uplink to the new HMD? If so is this the first glimpse of the next generation Oculus Rift positional tracking rumoured to make an appearance at CES in January 2014?

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Unfortunately, the image resolution isn’t great enough to distinguish the cabling in any more detail – nor the exotic functioning used just after they leave the headset, but whatever that cable does it’s new and clearly integral to the functionality of the unit.

Update and further wild speculation: Also notice the masking tape used to seemingly position the chair the writer is sitting in (and the roll of it sat on top of the pillar on the far right)? Perhaps the tracker was calibrated for the seats position in order to function optimally.

This is clearly wild speculation on our part, but I’d be really interested in everyone’s thoughts on what’s on show here. Let us know in the comments below.

With any luck, we’ll find out for sure what all this means in January 2014 when Road To VR attend the International CES show and meet with Oculus to find out.

Please note: Image Source the Property of Wired.com

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded RiftVR.com to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • Alkapwn

    Also to note, there seems to be either way longer cable(s) going to the control box, OR they have integrated it into the headset.
    It looks like one of the 3 cables leaving the headset goes directly into the power bar. The other 2 most likely being USB and HDMI. The orange most likely has to be positional tracking related.

    • Paul James

      Agreed. I noticed the dedicated AC -> HMD too. This may be more an indication of the Prototype’s in complete state perhaps.

      • Alkapwn

        I was hoping it was gonna be wireless to be honest. Would make it easy for me to quit my slip-ring construction. But even so, with longer wires like that, you could still tie them together and have running above a bit easier than the current DK1.

  • WormSlayer

    Good eye, I totally missed that orange wire!

    • Paul James

      And here’s me – usually Mr Unobservant. ;)

  • John

    Wires for for n00bs!

  • Joe Nickence

    I actually saw the tape on the floor first. Didn’t look for the orange wire until you mentioned it. I don’t pay much attention to wires on prototypes as a matter of course. But, yeah, this has to have something to do with precise location tracking.

  • Daniel

    Also, in the other Room on the right you can see they are are experimenting with outside in tracking. (The Cameras and the the Rift with the white balls attached to it). I’m assuming the Black Device is a Camera, that tracks the position of the Rift. I’m wondering how good it really works without any markers attached. Specially with changing light etc.

  • Kemic

    Apparently they are experimenting with a few different set-ups for positional tracking. If you look to the right of Nate, you can see some sort of rig built out of rigid pipe that has 3 cameras mounted on it at various angles to a central location.