Oculus Rift, Untethered: Project Santa Cruz, Hands On

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bit_user

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They should add a couple depth cameras, in order to bring your body into the virtual world.

Forget roomscale; Project Santa Cruz is a world-scale VR HMD.
Is it? Do we know that it works outdoors? Do we know that it works in large spaces? Does it have loop closure?

Google's Project Tango (and presumably MS' Hololens) has been working on this problem for several years. There are some important nuances, once you go beyond (small) room-scale.
 

Kimonajane

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Is Tom's Hardware on the Facebook payroll? Look at the latest articles 50%+ are Oculas or Facebook related stories. Well ex_bubblehead, are you guys getting kick backs to promote Facebook, a pawn for the FED?
He will probably ban me again now, speech police don't you know.
 


Don't be ignorant.
Facebook owns Oculus...
Oculus makes virtual reality hardware and software...
Virtual Reality is new consumer technology...

Toms reports on new technology (not just 100% computer tech).
Even if they did only report on computers and computer parts this would STILL be related because of the powerful system needed to use the Oculus or HTC Vive. Plus this article points out that their new prototype is a powerful SoC, which is not only new tech it's also a "System on a Chip" (SoC) engineered for a unique purpose.
 

bit_user

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Hey, you noticed an interesting pattern. Maybe there is something to that! But not all patterns reveal hidden conspiracies.

So, I think this probably started the recent burst of Oculus news articles:

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/oculus-connect-3-event-schedule,32807.html

When there's a developer conference, you get a lot of announcements from both the lead party (Facebook/Oculus) and their partners. Tom's is writing separate articles about these announcements pretty much as they come out (maybe they fell behind and had a little catch-up to do). In a bigger conference, like E3 or CES, there are so many announcements that a lot of stuff just gets grouped together into a "Best of show" article.

Not everything is a government conspiracy. And being paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you.
 

wifiburger

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seriously ! Carmack he must of been payed,
gps, wifi, background apps consume mobile soc resources ? seriously no ! I have those running in background and makes no difference for games even for low end phones,

that thing looks like garbage, high end phones have better vr !
 

nubro01

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Sound a lot like a Sulon Q like solution, what about that Sulon Q, hd an announcement and then it went quiet.
 

nubro01

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Sound a lot like a Sulon Q solution, what about that Sulon Q, had an announcement and then it went quiet. What's happening at Sulon.com ?
 

bit_user

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Yeah, that was some serious spin. I thought he was above such things.

Now, I can see the point about how they can cool it much better than a phone - particularly one that's partially enclosed inside a visor. Also, I would hope for a big battery you could wear on your back or your belt. That would also help them clock it higher than a phone.
 

bit_user

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therealduckofdeath voted down for this answer 2 minutes ago
Alright, if such background services do have a significant performance penalty, then why don't they kill your battery like 1/3rd as much as a game?

They don't have that degree of battery drain, because they have almost no performance impact. You can't have significant performance impact without roughly proportionate battery drain.
 

Jeff Fx

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>The VR HMD panacea is a completely untethered experience, free of both wires and a companion PC.

Getting rid of wires would be a big deal. Getting rid of a powerful rendering system, and going back to phone-quality VR, would not be progress. A big hot box with a bunch of fans blowing is always going to be able to do a lot more work than a device that mounts to your head.
 

Kimonajane

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No Oculus, aka Facebook for me.
Facebook ‘corporate fascism’ exposed" www.thesun.co.uk/news/1945636/facebook-corporate-fascism-exposed-in-shocking-testimony-from-former-employee/
 

scolaner

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Any untethered HMD with inside-out tracking that uses no external cameras/sensors/etc. should track outdoors, or anywhere, is my understanding.

What nuances do you see?
 

scolaner

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Yes. That.

Kimonajane, this is called event coverage. Oculus Connect 3 is a dev conference, and just we as do with every dev conference we go to (IDF, Build, etc.), we cover everything we possibly can. There are keynotes, demos, sessions, and many conversations over the course of days.

During and after a dev conference, such as this one, we produce a ton of articles pertaining to what we saw and learned. That is us doing our jobs well.
 

scolaner

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Yeah, we've been discussing this very thing--Fritz (our EIC) and I especially, having just returned from OC3.

What you're bringing up is a HUGE question for the VR (well, the whole XR) market. Will PC-powered VR go away at some point? Surely running VR on a beastly PC will always outpace anything running on any mobile HMD...although there are a lot of tricks people are developing to significantly reduce how much raw horsepower you need for VR...or at least they're finding ways to be much more efficient.

But PC-powered VR is still tethered VR until someone figures out a way to send everything wirelessly to the headset. Again, people are experimenting with that:

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-wireless-vr-wigig,32534.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/quark-vr-wireless-vive-transmitter,32617.html

Ack, I could blather on about this forever. Bottom line for now is this: Nobody knows the best way forward. And I mean nobody. Not Oculus, not HTC, not Nvidia, AMD, Intel...nobody. What I am certain will happen is that everyone is going to be experimenting like crazy, and both consumer demands and technical limitations will affect what happens. And it's all happening very quickly.
 

Antonio_34

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With all this VR gaming I'm surprised that no one brings up how hard it is to have a drink while your on the fly, or typing on your keyboard (non of my non PC gamer friends or professional students can type without looking at the keyboard). current HDM don't even let you flip up the screens so you can see what's going on around you without taking the whole thing off and messing around with cables.

In my day, we all learned to type without looking via osmosis while chatting around the internet. Now it's your phone, which doesn't teach you how to type.

What about Microphones? no more head mounts? common, this isn't a system for gaming unless you can effectively communicate. The designers know it and that's why VR is trying to fake out Luddite industries into participation.

The future of social? ya right, the future of social was and is the internet period. It's not some sad excuse for an VR chat-room and bulky HMDs.

Point and Case: What's gonna happen when you throw your mice by mistake and you have to find it quickly to get back into action? Good luck tossing your HDM off in a hurry and getting it back on before you're dead.

HDM's only purpose is to replace the need to buy a nice, big 4k TV and get the pixel density that you expect, to achieve defined details. Head motion being able to move the camera is nice for simulator games, but it is either redundant in any other game or a gimmick.

The majority of these new VR abilities/technology, like the one mentioned above, are a complete gimmick and a sad excuse for industry expansion. No one wants half solutions for fail hardware just like they don't want self driving cars that kill them. Thirty years of "VR" failure is all the proof you need.
 

bit_user

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Outdoors has a few issues, such as changing environment (moving background) and high dynamic range. Direct sunlight can also cause problems for cameras not designed for it.

Large scale (whether indoors or outside) has other problems. This is specific to the way Tango does things, but I think most SLAM systems probably do a variation on it:

https://developers.google.com/tango/overview/area-learning
 

bit_user

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Why can't it be a variation on what we already have, with gaming? There are games on PC (high-end), console (mid-range), and mobile (low-end). VR could be no different.

My personal opinion on wireless PC VR is that you just need the right protocol. For video display, it's got to start transmitting the frame before the end is completely rendered. For control feedback from the HMD to PC, use a high-frequency, unreliable transport and do most of the filtering and sensor fusion on the PC. This stuff ain't rocket science, but it does need new protocols. Unfortunately, it seems the existing wireless display and bluetooth/NFC just weren't designed to be sufficiently low-latency.

Have you tried Vive? I forget what they call it, but they have a camera built into the HMD for precisely such things as taking a drink.

I don't know that you could type, but I'm sure VR has pop-up keyboards that are good enough for simple stuff.

Have you tried it?

I think the reason there's so much excitement about VR is that those in the know (and those who've tried it) can see that the technology is finally ready to deliver on some of the promises.
 

JakeWearingKhakis

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This is pretty awesome. But why a SoC from a smart phone??? I doubt it will be able to deliver the 90hz frame rate that VR needs...

I'd rather wait until they put a Zen APU in this, since AMD knows how to make a better APU graphics wise. I don't like how all these companies are in a rush to make this awesome stuff and cut corners with hardware and features.
 

scolaner

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That's a fair question. Carmack seems to think mobile hardware will do just fine. Maybe he's right, maybe he's wrong.

But actually, your thought on AMD is interesting...someone suggested to me that maybe we should think about untethered VR HMDs (in general) as, fundamentally, consoles. So there could be the PC-based VR HMDs we have now, but also these "console" HMDs with more dedicated hardware.

Hm, who has the console market cornered? AMD.
 

scolaner

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That's what, probably, this sort of thing will be. Instead of a $1,000 PC and an $800 HMD/controller package, maybe something like this could be $500 total. Like a console.

What I find most interesting is that untethered HMDs seem to be all the rage.

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/quark-vr-wireless-vive-transmitter,32617.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/sulon-q-ar-vr-hmd,31406.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-wireless-vr-wigig,32534.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/wintel-vr-intel-microsoft-alloy,32653.html

That's not to mention HoloLens...
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/microsoft-hololens-components-hpu-28nm,32546.html
 

Zapin

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How is this not just a GearVR/Daydream with extra DoF? If it is much better than available phone powered VR or other stand alone VR HMDS then it would be nice if the article explained how. How does the screen door effect compare? What is the control system? Battery life?
 

scolaner

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Well, first...GearVR/Daydream are "dumb" HMD peripherals that use a phone as a display. This is a true Rift HMD powered by mobile hardware. So the display alone is a huge differentiator.

With (apparently) fundamentally mobile hardware, of course this thing can't approach what you get with the same Rift and a powerful PC. No is suggesting that you would. But the demo was lovely, immersive, no nausea.

No screen door effect.

No control system (yet). And as I discussed in the article, there's no information on the battery yet. They wouldn't even say what type. And that's because this is a *very early* prototype. Nothing has been nailed down yet on the specs.
 

bit_user

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Please, just think about this, for a minute.

Their goal is for this to become as inexpensive and ubiquitous as smartphones. Now, what would happen if you put a big, hot APU in there? You'd have issues with cooling (and noise), size, weight, and battery life. There'd be no practical way to make it self-contained. It would turn into yet another VR backpack.

And yes, they could build yet another VR backpack, but what would be the point of that? How is it in line with their goals?

It has much better cooling. Between that and potentially a bigger battery, they can run at a higher clockspeed. They can also use a SoC with a midrange CPU config but a maxed-out GPU block.

It's not going to be like 10x Gear VR, but maybe 2x or 3x.
 
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