After having digested the presentation of the new Oculus Rift prototype, called Crescent Bay, we have compiled all the information we have received from this new HMD that has been, by far, the big star of the Oculus Connect event. Oculus is not resting on its laurels and we are already one step closer to the first commercial version of the Rift, the long-awaited CV1.
There are many people who have been lucky enough to try Crescent Bay in Hollywood, and the impressions that flood Reddit have allowed us to find out that it is a surprisingly light model, much more than the current development kit. As happened with Crystal Cove, presented last January in Las Vegas, Crescent Bay is a hand-built prototype and it does not seem that it will be mass-produced or sold as a DK3, in fact more than once Iribe and / or Palmer have insisted that there would not be a DK3, but that Oculus would continue working on internal prototypes, some of which would be presented in public. Crescent Bay is one of them.
At first glance, a fixing mechanism similar to that of Morpheus or Gear VR can be seen, with a plastic piece on the back that integrates infrared emitters, which allows the positioning camera to be able to locate it even if we rotate 180º and turn our backs on it. And since we are talking about the camera, the one they have shown with Crescent Bay is different from that of the DK2, and Oculus has confirmed in a statement that the tracking volume of the positioning is greater, that is, the viewing angle of the camera is higher and, therefore, it should work better at short distances. Recall that Oculus recommends placing the camera of the DK2 at a distance of 1.5 meters from us, something complicated to be located above the monitor. By the way, I’m sure Virtuix and Cyberith are breathing a sigh of relief when they see a prototype with 360º tracking
The next thing that catches your eye is the inclusion of headphones. Oculus VR has licensed RealSpace3D technology, a software that has been in development at the University of Maryland for more than 10 years, including head-relative transfer (HRTF) and reverb algorithms. In their email, Oculus implies that the CV1 will also include headphones (and they previously commented that it would possibly also include a microphone), which is a rather delicate issue since everyone has their own preferences and there are those who feel great with a € 10 headphones, while others spend hundreds or thousands on a headset for audiophiles. In any case, the ones used in this prototype do not seem the most suitable for a virtual reality experience, since they do not isolate us from outside audio.
Looking inside Crescent Bay, we note that the lenses have radically changed. They are no longer round, as in the DK1 and DK2, but have a curious asymmetrical shape, it gives the feeling that to make it easier for our nose to fit between them and, therefore, the left is different from the right. This opens up the possibility that, in the future, the Rift could allow adjusting the interpupillary distance by hardware, since lenses with this shape could get closer to our nose. We say in the future because no one has commented that it is possible to move the lenses in Crescent Bay. Those who have tried it claim that the image quality is much higher than the DK2, and this is due to both the lenses and the display. Oculus has not given any resolution or refresh data, but it seems very clear that it is higher than 1920×1080 and at 75 Hz. The viewing angle also seems to have improved over the DK2, although not too much. Iribe already stated that there would be no screendoor effect on the CV1, and this prototype points in that direction, since everyone agrees that the famous grid has almost disappeared completely, and it seems that the widespread idea is that Oculus has used some kind of diffuser, since the pixels are less visible than on the 2560×1440 screen of the Note 4, and we understand that the Crescent Bay must be similar. Although speculation has also begun with the possibility that Oculus has used a screen with an aspect ratio of 21:9 and a hypothetical resolution of 3360×1440. In any case, Oculus has confirmed that this is not the Note 4 screen, so anything is possible.
Soon we will talk about the experiences that Oculus has shown in Connect, but we already advance you that the attendees who have tried the Valve demo agree that Crescent Bay offers a result at least as good. Stay tuned.