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The Most Immersive Virtual-Reality System Yet

• Corinne Iozzio via
 Palmer Luckey built his first virtual-reality (VR) headset for a simple reason: Every attempt he’d seen, including his own collection of 46 pairs of goggles, failed in one way or another—too heavy, too slow, too limited a field of view. So he set out to invent the perfect pair himself. Three years after the first mockup, the company Luckey founded, Oculus, is launching a developer version of the Rift, the first consumer VR system to create a truly immersive experience.

A player connects the Rift to a PC via USB and HDMI, and the PC’s graphics processor renders side-by-side 3-D images. The 11-ounce goggles contain a seven-inch LCD that displays both images. A pair of aspherical lenses separate them to create a 3-D effect with a field of view that’s 90 degrees wide and shifts with a player’s head movements. A sensor containing a gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, and microcontroller tracks the pitch, yaw, and roll of the player’s head. The sensor registers movement every millisecond (off-the-shelf sensors take up to four), so the image can refresh within two milliseconds.

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