Everything you need to know about Oculus Quest from information from the largest exhibition of the year in virtual reality.
If you are interested in virtual reality, then you probably know that in San Jose on September 26 and 27, one of the most important events of the year in the world of viar was held - namely, Oculus Connect 5 from Facebook. Due to financial reasons, I was not able to attend the event itself, but I’ve spilled a huge number of sources, so be sure that in this article you will find all the most important announcements and news from the event, including, of course, everything interesting about the oculus Quest.
Oculus Quest - the star of the last event. The conference, of course, was devoted to many aspects of the world of virtual reality, but the most important news discussed by all major VR enthusiasts, without exception, was precisely the announcement of the new platform.
Oculus announced the company's first autonomous virtual reality kit, which includes controllers and is tracked in 6 degrees of freedom (hereafter referred to as 6DOF) called Oculus Quest. In the past 2 years you have heard about the development of this project under the name of Santa Cruz. The product, to put it simply, is a standalone version of Oculus Rift - you simply launch and use it unnecessarily in a computer or smartphone. 6 DOF means that you can move as you please and move your arms in the same way as in real life, and in virtual reality the corresponding movements will be reflected with high accuracy and minimal delay. In other stand-alone VR sets on the market, for example Mirage Solo, only 3 DOF controllers are at your disposal, meaning that you use a “remote control” that can only rotate.
Here's what is known about the characteristics of the device today:
- Snapdragon 835 Mobile Chip
- Used lenses of the same quality as in Oculus Go
- FOV (horizontal viewing angle) of about 95-100 degrees
- 1600 x 1440 resolution displays per eye
- Displays up to 72 frames per second
- Adjustable distance between lenses (hereinafter IPD)
- 4 GB of RAM
- 64 GB of memory on board in the base version for $ 399
- Built-in audio (with improved bass compared to Oculus Go)
- 2x3.5 mm jack for using your own headset
- 6 DOF tracking helmet thanks to the four built-in "cameras" sensors (no need to place additional sensors in the room)
- 6 DOF tracking controllers with tracking from the helmet.
- OTG USB, Wi-fi, bluetooth.
The design of the helmet almost completely repeats the design of the Oculus Rift with some improvements in comfort. The build quality without visible flaws and the quality of the materials feels excellent.
The speakers are built into the side straps, just like in the Oculus Go.
On the right side of the helmet, the power button and battery charge indication (changes color to red when the battery is discharged to 30%). Nearby is a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
On the front panel in the corners you can observe 4 cameras, which are used for positioning in space both the helmet itself and the controllers. In the center of the top of the front panel is a light bulb that identifies the operation of the cameras.
On the left side of the helmet is a USB-C port, as well as another 3.5 mm headphone jack.
At the bottom of the helmet are the buttons for controlling the sound level and the IPD control.
The controllers are very similar to the Oculus Touch with some differences - the rings are moved for better inside-out tracking, and the layout of the buttons is slightly changed (although the buttons themselves are the same as on the Rift).
All users who have experienced the Oculus Quest describe it as a comfortable helmet at the same level as the rest of the Oculus helmets. It feels slightly heavier than Go, especially from the front, and also heavier than the Rift. So far there is no review that would claim that the helmets are not comical, even during the active multiplayer game Dead & Buried. Some tried this helmet with glasses - everything went fine.
The controllers, although very similar in design to the Touch controllers, are slightly different. Ben Lang from Road to VR, for example, reported less comfort compared to the Touch, especially because of the lack of area in which the thumb rests when idle.
Displays - 2 pentile OLED panels with a resolution of 1600 x 1440 each. Same level as Vive Pro or Vive Focus. Most likely the same panels from Samsung are used. The Screen Door Effect is noticeable, but significantly lower compared to Rift or Go. To eliminate chromatic aberrations, a special algorithm from John Carmack is used, which has practically no effect on performance.
Officially, nothing was said about FOV, but according to various estimates, we should expect 95-100 degrees. The refresh rate of the screen is locked at 72 Hz.
Excellent quality lenses, similar to those on Go. This means, for example, less godrays as compared to Rift and Vive. IPD is configured and the sweet spot is quite large. So far, I have not found any negative reviews in this regard on the net.
Quest has built-in high quality audio. This means that you do not need to wear headphones to hear what is happening in virtual reality. Using higher quality speakers than Go, especially the difference is noticeable in the low frequency region.
If you need an ehm ... privacy, then you can use either of the two 3.5 mm jacks for your own headphones.
Quest runs on a Snapdragon 835 chip — the same chip that Samsung S8 uses, for example. This is not the last SoC in the line - Qualcomm has already released a model 845, but it does not quite fit into the pricing policy of Oculus.
For obvious reasons, you can not compare the performance of Quest and Rift - there is no chance that you will be able to experience a photo-realistic integrated experience on the quest - for this you will need to use the Rift.
However, some games will be ported to the quest, and for this each of them has undergone a number of optimizations - reducing the number of polygons, lights, objects on the screen, as well as using a number of other techniques already familiar to developers of applications for GearVR and oculus Go. If you look at the video below, you can see that both versions of the game look pretty good, but you need to understand that Oculus engineers worked on optimizing the game being demonstrated, so you should not expect this from all games.
Comparison with Oculus Go on a Snapdragon 821 chip in the table below:
John Carmack compared the performance of the system with the Xbox 360 level, but we must understand that we will not see a similar picture due to the fact that the Xbox displays a picture of 1280 x 720 at 30 FPS, at that time Quest renders 3200 x 1440 with a frequency of 72 Hz.
In short, you should not expect from the quest of games with cool graphics, but many virtual reality titles will return with some graphics optimization.
The tracking system for Oculus Quest is called Insights and is a Inside-Out tracking technology. No installation of additional sensors is required. 4 cameras on the helmet analyze the environment and "understand" the position of the helmet and controllers in space.
In theory, this method of tracking allows you to use any area (a multiplayer game zone of 370 square meters was used at the event), but the recommended area remains 5 meters to 5 meters. You need to understand that the quality of tracking will directly depend on such parameters as the lighting of the room and the visual variety of the environment. There are cases when tracking “hung” at the moments when the helmet is very close to the surfaces in the room, but otherwise there were no problems with tracking on the oculus range.
Controller tracking is also high. Judging by the reviews, it is better than the Windows Mixed Reality helmets, but worse than the Vive and Rift. Describes the situations in which there are problems with tracking: when the controllers are brought close to the helmet, as well as when they go behind the back.
Tracking the position of the helmet works in the visible RGB range, which means the impossibility of using it in poorly lit rooms. Controllers, however, use the infrared range, so for them the lighting does not matter.
For security purposes, the Guardian system is implemented, which allows you to customize (as yet unknown how) the size of the gaming zone. It is mentioned that the system can “memorize” and store settings for several game zones, which allows you not to configure the system every time you start a new one.
Mixed reality mr
Andrew Bosworth in his speech showed a mixed reality prototype using Quest helmets. The real world is depicted in the black and white spectrum, where the corners are marked black and the flat surfaces white. Such a mapping allows you to perform some actions with real-world objects without leaving virtual reality. For example, you can type on a real keyboard. This direction can replace the augmented reality of AR in home and office devices.
Another interesting feature of mixed reality was demonstrated at the Dead and Buried test site. The virtual world could be observed through the “window” of the tablet screen.
Judging by the arena of Dead and Buried, we can expect local multiplayer in games on Oculus Quest. In the arena, for example, there were 3 for 3 matches and each of the players could see each other in the place where he really is. This means that several devices can use a common “coordinate system”, combining virtual space with real space.
However, this feature is likely to be unavailable at the start of sales and has not yet been implemented in the Oculus SDK.
Since two of the four cameras of the helmet are pointing down, it became possible to track the legs for display in virtual reality. This was demonstrated in the same arena of Dead and Buried, but nevertheless, it is positioned as an experimental feature so far and, most likely, will be unavailable at the start.
While it is impossible to reliably estimate the battery life - some report that the batteries on the demo sites changed every hour, while others report that the batteries were not replaced during the entire session (about 4 hours). The company itself reports that the battery life will be comparable to the Oculus Go, which gives us an estimated time of 2-3 hours.
Oculus Quest will be launched with 50+ titles. Among them are very popular franchises:
- Superhot VR
- Dead and buried
- The climb
- Rec room
- Face Your Fears 2
- Robo Recall (!)
Price and release date
Oculus Quest will be released in the spring of 2019, and most likely it will be during the annual F8 conference.
Price tag is $ 399 for the version with 64 GB on board. It is not yet known what the alternatives will be.
Will VR make it mainstream?
Oculus Quest stirred many VR enthusiasts and many, even those who already have PC systems, made a purchase decision. However, it is unlikely that VR will enter the mainstream with the release of Quest - many still do not know why they may need virtual reality.
- The average person wants virtual reality at the level of the matrix, photorealism. Quest, however, is more of a step backwards than PC VR. Pixels are still distinguishable, and hands are not displayed with absolute precision. For us, techies, this is normal and understandable, but not for the mass user, waiting for something in the spirit of the movie Ready player One.
- The advertising campaign is based on games. The device is positioned as a console of a new format and is going to compete with the Nintendo Switch. Therefore, the masses will not yet understand that VR is not only a plastic toy, but also a powerful tool for creativity, education and productivity.
- The price tag of $ 400, although it seems to those who understand, extremely low, still remains high for the average person - this is not the amount everyone will part with on emotions. Of course, people spend $ 1200 with ease on a new iPhone, but life without a smartphone for such people seems impossible, and the company itself has spent billions to make the owner of an Apple device feel “cool”, which is not true of virtual reality devices.
Therefore, most likely, sales will be limited to a few million. Launching the Oculus Quest is the right and a good step forward, but we will not enter the era of mass viar. But maybe in 2020, eh?