Despite Oculus VR championing its Crescent Bay prototype of the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) as close to the eventual consumer version of the device the company is yet to share its work on VR input. As the VR community knows, this is a critical factor in ensuring a real sense of presence in VR experience, as standard videogame controllers and a keyboard and mouse simply don’t replicate the experience effectively. According to Oculus VR CEO the company is getting ‘a lot closer’ with its research and development (R&D).
Iribe said as much speaking at the recent 2014 Web Summit in Brendan Iribe. “We always say that VR is really going to transform human interaction,” Iribe said. “It’s very much about human interaction, and we’re trying to focus now on ‘what is that VR input? Where does VR input begin?’ We don’t know the final holy grail of VR input. We have, I think, kind of an idea of VR vision being sunglasses, which we’d like to eventually get to. VR input? We’re still R&Ding, we’re still looking at. But that’s definitely a big focus for us.”
When asked what type of input the company was experimenting with, Iribe replied: “You know we do a lot of R&D and we R&D a lot of things that wouldn’t necessarily be a consumer product, whether it’s R&Ding a headset that requires markers up on the walls and we’re not going to go out there and sell VR wallpaper. Or it’s R&Ding some kind of glove or some kind of set of markers on your hands that you’re not going to necessarily go out and sell.
“We’re doing it to try and find out what that kind of quality of experience feels like and then we look out how could we actually, once we set that bar, how could we actually turn that into a consumerisable product. We’re still going, we’ll see what it is, but we’re getting a lot closer and, without revealing anything, the sensation that you get with a sense of presence when visually you feel like you’re there, it is amplified when you actually feel like your whole body is there. It is an incredibly powerful component and so it’s something that we’re really focussed on.”
It’s currently not clear just what form Oculus VR’s input solution will take, although it certainly sounds as if even the company itself isn’t completely sure just yet. Countless companies have put their own concepts forward throughout 2014 as the hopeful input standard, though Oculus VR has gone on record stating that it doesn’t believe a true solution has yet been discovered. VRFocus will continue to follow the Oculus Rift closely, reporting back with any further updates on it.