Oculus Rift S
|Developer||Oculus VR (device), Lenovo (strap)|
|Type||Virtual reality headset|
|Release date||May 21, 2019|
|Display||Fast-switch LCD 2560×1440 (1280×1440 per eye) @ 80 Hz|
|Input||6DOF inside-out tracking through 5 built-in cameras|
|Controller input||2nd generation Oculus Touch motion tracked controllers|
|Connectivity||DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0|
|Mass||1.1 lb (500 g)|
|Compatible with software developed for the original Oculus Rift|
Oculus Rift S is a virtual reality headset created by Oculus VR released on March 20, 2019. The device is the second device in the Oculus Rift lineup, replacing the first generation Oculus Rift CV1. At the time of its launch, the Rift S was commercialized at the same price point of USD 399 as the CV1, featuring the same hardware requirements and software compatibility as the CV1.
In June 2015, Oculus VR co-founder Palmer Luckey revealed that Oculus was already working on a successor to the original Rift and planned to release it in around 2–3 years from the original Rift release. The headset would feature higher-resolution screen and inside-out tracking and would enable room-scale experiences.
In October 2018, Oculus VR co-founder and former CEO until 2016 Brendan Iribe left Oculus VR over clashing views. According to TechCrunch, Iribe was overseeing the development of the second-generation Oculus Rift, which was canceled the week prior. Sources who spoke to TechCrunch claimed that Iribe and the Facebook team had "fundamentally different views on the future of Oculus that grew deeper over time." Iribe wanted to deliver comfortable VR experience competitive on the high-end market while Oculus leadership aimed to lower the VR gaming entry barrier. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Oculus parent company Facebook Inc., repeatedly stated that Oculus goal is to bring a billion users into VR.
Rift S uses a single fast-switch LCD panel with a resolution of 2560×1440 with refresh rate 80 Hz, down from CV1's 90hz. These specs are the same as the panel used in the Oculus Go standalone headset. The screen in the Rift S is expected to deliver higher detail image with reduced screen-door effect compared to the original Rift.
Also, compared to the original Rift, the Rift S uses "next generation" lens technology, introduced in Oculus Go, which almost entirely eliminates god rays. The field of view is 115º, compared to 110º on the Rift CV1. The headset features software-only inter pupillary distance (IPD) adjustment, because it uses a single screen.
The Rift S does away with the headphones found in the Rift CV1. Instead, there's a pair of speakers integrated into the headband, two inches above the user's ears. This change in the device's audio output has been described as one of the biggest downgrades of the Rift S compared to the CV1, in terms of quality and directionality. That said, the device includes a 3.5 mm minijack, which gives the user the option to use their own headphones.
Unlike the original Rift, in which the headset was tracked externally via the Constellation system, the headset in the Rift S uses an inside-out tracking system, called Oculus Insight, the same found in the stand-alone headset Oculus Quest. The system uses a combination of five cameras built into the headset (two on the front, one on either side, and one looking directly upwards), information from the accelerometers in the HMD and controllers, and the use of AI to predict what path the controllers will most likely be taking when outside the cameras' field of view. The Constellation system is still used to track the controllers using the headset's cameras. The cameras are also used by a feature called Passthrough+, in which the device passes through the video from the built-in cameras onto the display, so that the user can navigate the real world without removing the headset. Passthrough+ also makes use of "Asynchronous SpaceWarp" to produce a comfortable experience with minimal depth disparity or performance impact.
Rift S features a halo headband which, according to Oculus, has a better weight distribution, better light blocking, and will be more comfortable overall. The headset was co-developed with Lenovo, incorporating their experience in the VR and AR space and feedback from the Lenovo Legion gaming community. The device has a knob at the rear of the band which brings the device forward and backward. The top strap is there to make it snug on the wearer's head, while a button underneath the right side of the headset is used to release the headset from its support, allowing it to be adjusted to be closer or farther from the user's eyes. The device lacks physical adjustment for inter-pupillary distance (IPD), but this setting is supported in software, according to Oculus.
Oculus Rift S uses the same second generation Oculus Touch controllers used in the Oculus Quest. The controllers are similar to the ones used by the original Oculus Rift, except with the tracking ring on the top (to be seen by the headset's built-in cameras) instead of being on the bottom (to be seen by the Constellation cameras).
Oculus announced intention to support every existing and future game on the Rift platform for the Rift S and the original Rift. Furthermore, a game purchased for one device can later be played on another (that is, say, a game bought on Oculus Quest can be played on Rift S). Multiplayer games that support both platforms will let players play with one another regardless of their devices.
Oculus Passthrough is a feature of Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest which allows user to see the real world via the built-in cameras. This is used during the initial setup process for defining the Guardian tool (the blue mesh barrier that prevents user from walking into physical objects like walls and furniture) and the level of the floor. During the setup process, the surrounding is displayed as a black and white representation.
Upon announcement, Rift S received mixed reviews. Wired magazine described the device as a "giant half-step" that brings Oculus closer to the modern "virtual realities" yet stops short of the competition.
The device was also criticized by Palmer Luckey, a co-founder of Oculus VR and a co-creator of the original Rift, who said that he can not use the Oculus Rift S comfortably because the device does not accommodate his 70mm IPD. Based on IPD data published in the Proceedings of SPIE journal, Luckey estimates that the Rift S IPD will only be suitable for around 70% of the population. In comparison, the original Rift was designed to support any IPD between the 5th and 95th percentile (58mm and 72mm, respectively), making the device comfortable for 90% of the population. Luckey noted that not all aspects of the IPD adjustment can be achieved via software and software-only adjustment is not comparable in any way to an actual physical IPD adjustment mechanism.
On April 12 2019, Nate Mitchell, co-founder of Oculus VR and head of VR product at Facebook, explained via Twitter that "some 'easter egg' labels meant for prototypes accidentally made it onto the internal hardware for tens of thousands of Oculus Quest and Rift S Touch controllers." The messages on final production hardware say 'This Space For Rent' and 'The Masons Were Here,' while a few development kits contained 'Big Brother is Watching' and 'Hi iFixit! We See You!'
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