With Oculus Rift generating so many headlines over the past few months, it’s easy to forget that it’s still a long way from being a real product – the first commercial Rift headset most likely won’t be on sale until next year.
And by the time it rolls around, it’ll be significantly different from the current Developer Kit 2 prototype. At least that’s a suggestion made by Oculus VR Chief Technology Officer (not to mention Doom and Quake co-creator) John Carmack.
Carmack told Wired that the company is working on installing an outward-facing camera on the headset. This can function as a pass-through camera (basically showing you a video feed of the outside world), which would definitely come in useful at times, but perhaps more interestingly could also be used as a Kinect-style body tracking device, turning your hands into controllers.
“In the early days of VR, it was all goggles and gloves,” said Carmack. “Nobody’s talking about gloves now – it’s going to be done with optical tracking. You want it to feel like a virtuoso with an instrument.”
There’s even talk of adding haptic feedback, which would allow your body to “feel” a pushback from the virtual worlds in which you’re travelling (although that, presumably, would require some form of glove).
It’s compelling stuff, truly – and we can’t wait to see what else Oculus VR has in store for the Rift. In the meantime, we suggest you have a look at Wired’s profile and history of the company and its technology – it’s a great read.