We didn't get a chance to check it out at at E3, but the gaming headset that John Carmack was demoing at E3 was one of the coolest surprises of the show. Carmack was demoing the 3D headtracking mode of the upcoming Doom BFG using a prototype of the Oculus Rift, an open-source kit design that is scheduled to show up on Kickstarter later this month for pre-order. The target price is just $500, and it includes full head-tracking support. The Rift is the brainchild of Palmer Luckey, who is a long-time VR enthusiast and collector of head-mounted displays.
The secret of the Rift's low price is its display. Instead of using independent screens for each eye, the Rift uses a single screen with a wider vertical field-of-view than other sets, including the Sony HMZ-T1, which we tested several months ago. It displays at a lower resolution than the more expensive Sony set, but more pixels are concentrated in the center of the screen and the larger field of view makes the perceived image seem larger.
The prototype designs we've seen online seem to fit entirely in goggles mounted to your head. According to the Oculus site, the Rift also uses a much higher refresh rate head tracking system, which should allow for more fluid, realistic movement in games and less motion sickness.
The reports from people who got to try the goggles at E3 were promising. We're looking forward to trying them at the earliest opportunity.Thanks to Dracono for the link!