While the announcement of Oculus Quest was certainly eye catching, with the standalone headset set to launch in Spring 2019 for $399 USD, it was the tech making it all possible that made it all the more impressive. That technology was Oculus Insight, the inside-out tracking solution which sets it apart for Oculus Rift and Oculus Go.
Oculus Insight uses four ultra wide-angle external sensors and computer vision algorithms to track and map the area in real time whilst also tracking the Oculus Touch controllers. The technology looks for edges, corners, and any other distinct feature in the environment to generate a point map of the users location, creating an estimate every millisecond of where their head is.
And thanks to the way Oculus Insight works it means that Oculus Quest has ‘arena-scale’ tracking, allowing for gameplay in much larger environments than at home. During Oculus Connect 5 this week this function is being put to the test in a 4,000 sq ft arena with guests able to play Dead & Buried Arena.
All this tracking also works for co-location multiplayer, as Oculus explains: “Oculus Insight can build and store a “spatial map” of any environment. It can retrieve this map and use camera data to “see” where it’s located. In the current demo, we created a master map of the entire space and made the map accessible to multiple devices in the same room over the network. That way, the devices know where they are in relation to one another, allowing them to co-locate each other.
The system also employs Oculus Rift’s Guardian tech, which stops users walking into walls, or punching furniture, bringing up a virtual wall to notify them. Naturally this has been taken further to offer a ‘Multi-Room Guardian’ which remembers the layout of rooms for quick and easy use when taking round a friends then coming back home. What Oculus hasn’t quite detailed is how the scanning works, whether its completely automatic or if its manually operated.
How well this all works is another matter. With four sensors the controller tracking should be better than rivals Vive Focus and Lenovo Mirage Solo which only use two forward facing cameras. When VRFocus finds out we’ll let you know.