Dec 1, 2014

Illusions of Reality

Virtual Reality is something we are never sure about. Never sure how it feels, or how to imagine it. Strangely enough, virtual reality is very hard to picture. The concept, although not by this name (or any other, until 1987), goes back to the 19th century, when the first 360º paintings, or panoramic paintings, were created, with the intention of filling the viewer's entire field of vision, so as to create a sense of presence at some historical event or scene.

 "Virtual Reality" simply means 'near-reality'. "Virtual" means near, and reality is the experience of a sense of presence. Stimuli are perceived by our senses, and our notion of reality comes from the brain processing of these stimuli, which are then interpreted.  

The Virtual Reality experience is based on the idea that if you give your senses made-up information, your perception of reality would also change in response, and a kind of reality would be perceived by your brain. In simple terms, the brain is presented with synthetic stimuli, usually a computer generated virtual environment, and it thinks it is real.

This is not as simple as it sounds, since our senses, and brains, have evolved to provide us with a perfectly synchronized and mediated experience. If even the smallest detail is off, the brain will tell. For example, the human visual field has an amplitude of approximately 180 degrees, and if your peripheral vision were gone you'd notice, as you would notice if a sound and a motion were in conflict.

The final objective of VR is achieving something known as "sense of presence", and in order to do so, there must be a perfect combination of hardware, software and sensory synchronicity.

Step into Rift

Rift is unlike anything you've ever experienced. Whether you're stepping into your favorite game, watching an immersive VR movie, jumping to a destination on the other side of the world, or just spending time with friends in VR, you'll feel like you're really there.

The device uses state of the art displays and optics designed specifically for Virtual Reality. Its high refresh rate and low-persistence display work together with its custom optics system to provide incredible visual fidelity and an immersive, wide field of view.

The advanced display technology combined with the precise, low-latency "Constellation" tracking system enables the sense of presence. The magic of presence changes everything. From the moment you pick up Rift, you'll feel and see the attention to detail that went into its design and construction. Customizable, comfortable, adaptable, and beautiful, Rift is technology and design as remarkable as the experiences it enables.

The Oculus Rift pre-orders are now open through and the first shipments to 20 countries begin March 28, starting with Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States. When pre-ordered, it costs $599 USD, no additional fees included. It will also be available in limited locations at select retailers starting in April.

Rift includes the headset with built-in headphones and mic, sensor, and an Xbox One controller. The controller is perfect for a variety of games, including Lucky's Tale, the amazing VR platformer developed by Playful, which will be included for free with every Rift.

Rift also includes the Oculus Remote, a new input device designed to make navigation through VR experiences simple and intuitive. With Remote, you can easily browse the Oculus store, explore 360 video content in Oculus Video, or experience a wide range of VR games and entertainment. It is the easiest way to introduce non-gamers to VR.

Oculus Ready PCs

If you need a new PC to power your Rift, Oculus Ready PCs will be certified to meet the recommended system specifications, which you can check at the Oculus website, and have been tested to ensure they deliver a great experience with Rift. Bundles that include
an Oculus Ready PC and a Rift will be available for pre-order in February starting at $1499.

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