What is Oculus Rift?

Oculus Rift is a virtual reality (VR) technology that is manufactured by Oculus VR. The Oculus is a head mounted device that allows users to naturally interact with 3D virtual environments. Although it was released at the end of March of 2016, it has quickly become one of the most popular consumer VR technologies.

What is the Purpose?

The purpose of virtual reality technologies is to provide users with interactive experiences that are created by computers. Virtual reality provides a more intimate and natural way for people and computers to interact. Browsing the Web or playing games through traditional means, such as a laptop or smart device, lacks immersion. Oculus presents a realistic, personalized experience through the total visual immersion of virtual spaces. Internet users currently browse in two dimensions because users must tap, swipe or click a mouse to control the content and manipulate the experience.

Technical Details

In order to function, Oculus Rift must be connected by a cable to PC with Microsoft Windows. The Rift head gear, which has a resolution of 1080 × 1200, has an OLED eye panels that refreshes at 90 Hz. These eye panels use low persistence, so they only display an image for 2 milliseconds per frame. The fast refresh rate, when combined with low persistence, results in users experiencing a smooth presentation of images. The headset’s positional tracking system, called Constellation, tracks the user’s head position through infrared tracking sensors.

The Equipment

In collaboration with Microsoft, all Rifts are sold together with Xbox One Wireless Gamepads. This is because most existing VR games require some type of gamepad, but also because they are most likely not compatible with the Oculus Touch motion controller. The video feed is sent to the Oculus by a USB or HDMI cable, but there is an optional DVI adapter available. The headset features a USB port, so users can connect a controller or headphones. Oculus Bridge is a web socket plugin that is provided by the Oculus to access data and manage the display configuration. Oculus Home is the platform that allows users to launch applications, purchase VR programs and surf the Web.

Health Risks

Oculus is a very popular and progressive tool that does come with certain health caveats. Individuals who are elderly, pregnant or have a serious medical condition should first consult with a doctor. Those who have pre-existing heart conditions, psychiatric disorders or vision abnormalities must exercise caution. Approximately one out of every 4000 people may experience dizziness or blackouts that may lead to severe seizures, which typically occur in people under the age of 20 with histories of symptoms linked to epileptic conditions. Oculus should not be used by children under the age of 13. Prolonged use should be avoided by all because overuse may negatively impact balance and hand-eye coordination.

First time Oculus Rift users should consider the following tips. Only use the headset for a few minutes at a time to allow the body to adjust. When first experience virtual reality apps, slowly looking around and studying the environment will help users adjust to the small differences between virtual and real-world movements.

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