I looked around and didn't see any threads about it already on the board so...
"Virtual reality" came out about 20 years ago... and it was absolute shite. What the helmets gave you was a small, low res rectangle, like a screen floating in space out in front of you somewhere, with awful head tracking that had a latency of about a second. So you turn your head and the view slews around about a second later.
VR was hyped up so much, and then was so crap in reality, that both gamers and the industry soured on it fast. For the next 20 years, essentially no improvement was made.
Which brings us to Palmer Luckey - who was obsessed with VR and bought just about every VR headset he could find on ebay, thinking threre must be something decent somewh... there wasn't. They were all crap. He realised, if anyone was going to design a proper, immersive, VR headset as it should be, using the available tech of today, he'd have to do it himself. The result was the oculus rift.
The prototype was put together using a 5 inch LCD screen, some aspherical mag lenses, and a pair of ski goggles. It uses the same gyroscopic, magnetometer components as found in smartphones for head tracking.
The result is a headset that provides full stereoscopic (3d) vision, wraps the scene around the wearer's eyes (filling the field of view, rather than being a rectangular screen hovering in space in front of you), and the head tracking is both exceptionally accurate, and has got the latency down to around 30 - 40 milliseconds (less than 1 twentieth of a second) at which point it is not humanly noticable.
Displayed at E3 last summer, a kickstarter campaign was started to try and fund the thing... and raised over 2 million dollars. Luckey formed Oculus and brought other people on board to help with taking the thing further. Bearing in mind he's only 20 or so. A whole bunch of industry people have now showed extreme interest in the Rift. One of the earliest heavy hitters to throw his weight behind it was John Carmack, the co-founder of id Software, and main coder for Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, Doom 3, Rage etc.
Anyway, I'm rambling on a bit. Watch:
Reactions of people testing it out:
He gets it on his head at about 21:45 in this one:
IMHO this is going to be absolutely HUGE. No more false starts, VR is here.
In March they're shipping 10,000 dev kits to people who are developing games or modding games for this, or doing whatever else... telepresence maybe.
Actually speaking of telepresence, I wonder if it could be used to provide more surroundings-aware control of vehicles, aircraft etc... with a gimbal mount on the outside with a pair of HD cameras, providing wraparound stereoscopic vision to the headset, and the head tracking data being used to control the camera mount... Some people say that ST "invents" a lot of stuff in concept that later becomes real (mobile phones, ipads etc)... well, this makes me think of that viewer the Jem Hadar put on their heads in place of a viewscreen.