Oculus took a minute to show off the latest version of its Santa Cruz prototype standalone VR headset. Santa Cruz looks to be a higher-end follow-up to the entry-level Oculus Go standalone device scheduled for release early next year. The prototype headset's headlining feature is the inclusion of six degrees-of-freedom motion control using inside-out tracking. The company says Santa Cruz is the first standalone headset with full inside-out tracking, which we suppose is true given that Windows mixed reality headsets all attach to a host PC.
Santa Cruz doesn't require any wires or external sensors, a convenience that could go a long way towards boosting immersion and easing setup for potential users. The new headset was shown off with updated controllers, fittingly dubbed the Santa Cruz controllers. The new handheld devices work a lot like the existing Oculus motion controllers, except they're more compact. The controllers work with the same array of four sensors that the headset uses for motion and positional tracking.
Oculus says Santa Cruz is on target for release to developers sometime next year. Widespread release will likely lag behind by a year or more, judging from the gaps between the release of the Oculus Rift DK1 in March 2013, the DK2 in July 2014, and the retail Rift headset in May 2015. The company didn't talk potential prices, but we suspect Santa Cruz will be more expensive than the $199 standalone Oculus Go, especially if it comes packaged with a pair of motion controllers.
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