High end virtual reality is getting a bit more customizable. As of today, the online Oculus store was updated to allow the purchase of individual Sensors for $79. These sensors are what track the infrared beacons inside the Oculus Rift headset itself. By doing so they are able to track the headset’s position in 3D space. These sensors are what allow you to lean in and inspect virtual objects up close, or to take a few steps to the left or right during a VR experience.
This is what comes in the box: “Sensor with cable and 5 meter extension cable. Requires Rift, sold separately. When used as a third sensor, requires an additional USB 2.0 or higher port.”
Orders are expected to begin shipping between “Dec 13 – Dec 20”
With the release of these a la carte sensors Oculus is taking its first step toward the “room-scale” promise it made to fans at OC3 earlier this month. There Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe announced that Rift will indeed be able to do room scale — a feature that one of its main competitors, the HTC Vive has made a centerpiece of its marketing — as soon as extra sensors could be purchased and the Oculus Touch system ships.
Room scale VR just means that you can turn around in 360 degrees, and walk around a pre defined area without losing headset tracking. Buying extra sensors will allow users to place them at various angles surrounding the play-space of their Rift. By doing so they remove the possibility of the headset being blocked by the camera’s view by your head, body or some other outside obstacle. This is known as “occlusion” and it is the sworn enemy of room-scale VR.
Oculus Touch ships on December 6. It comes with an additional Sensor in the box but giving its customers the option to buy them piecemeal should lead to some truly unique setups for Oculus. The company seems to suggest three cameras, two in front of the headset and one behind, as its recommended room-scale setup. One ships with Touch, one comes with Rift and one will need to be purchased on its own.
It should also be noted that the Oculus Store info for the standalone sensors include a warning: “CAUTION: 360° and Room Scale tracking are experimental features—not all experiences may work as expected.”
What do you think? Will you be buying an additional Oculus Sensor and building your dream VR setup? let us know in the comments below.