HD display, better tracking part of new Oculus VR dev kit

Since the Oculus Rift VR headset debuted on Kickstarter, 60,000 development units have been sold. That's an incredible figure for the budding VR firm's first developer kit. Its second offering could prove even more popular. Oculus VR has introduced a new dev kit based on the Crystal Cove prototype we tried at CES.

Dubbed DK2, this updated version has a 1080p display resolution—960x1080 per eye. The low-persistance AMOLED panel is supposed to eliminate motion blur and judder, and Scott was impressed with what he saw in January. Interestingly, the low-persistence mode appears to have been influenced by Valve. Oculus CTO John Carmack credits Valve's research with opening his eyes to the benefits of low-persistence displays.

Improved tracking is the other big-ticket item for DK2. Thanks to a new external camera, the second dev kit offers sub-millimeter positional tracking with six degrees of freedom. The positional and orientation sensors sample at 1000Hz, and Oculus promises lower overall latency than the original Rift headset. Latency optimization is so important to the company that DK2 includes a real-time monitoring tool that measures "motion-to-photon" latency with "microsecond precision."

The new developer kit has other goodies, including updated optics and a USB accessory port. The SDK also includes support for the Unreal Developer Kit, Unreal Engine 4, and Unity 4. Oh, and there's a promo video, of course. Kids these days won't read anything unless there's a video embedded.

Oculus is already taking orders for DK2, which is priced at $350—$50 more than the low-res original. That's awfully tempting, but it's important to note that the new dev kit doesn't represent the finished product. Oculus is working to improve "comfort, resolution, tracking, software, ergonomics, optics, industrial design, and the overall experience." So pretty much everything. Oculus says software written for DK2 will still work with the final, consumer-ready version, though.

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