Since their arrival in the market, Virtual reality (VR) headsets have teased us with the idea of getting lost in a non-existential world while sitting in the confinements of our own accommodation. However, the products failed to live up to their expectation – as several constraints prevented that from happening. When Oculus launched Rift in 2016, it had to be connected using a wire to a PC – which limited freedom in physical movement. With the untethered Oculus Go, a new problem emerged of bumping into objects in the room. However, with the launch of its next VR headset, Oculus hits the sweet spot of a complete immersive VR experience.
Indeed, Oculus Quest offers the best of both worlds – the portability of Go with games worthy of the Rift. It’s a standalone self-contained headset, meaning one doesn’t have to depend on the capabilities of their PC to ensure a high-quality immersive experience, as with Rift. It’s not only lighter and more comfortable than Oculus’s other standalone VR headset Go, but also capable of handling games suited for Rift. Moreover, the fact that it’s untethered gives the user unlimited freedom to move around freely in the virtual environment. In short, it’s a high-end version of Go that uses technologically advanced sensors to track your movement.
Quest is the first-ever headset to feature Oculus Insight, a technology that drives the device’s “inside-out” tracking capabilities to offer motion-controlled gaming in a standalone mode. It consists of four ultra wide-angle sensors located on the front of the headset. Along with these, it uses several computer vision algorithms to help track your position real-time. Overall, Quest boasts six degrees-of-freedom (DoF) without any external sensors, as compared to Go’s three. Rift, on the other hand, requires external sensors to facilitate similar head-tracking capabilities.
Insight, initially referred to as Project Santa Cruz, has been in development for over two years. Oculus’ head of VR, Hugo Barra, stated that it was the companies vision that standalone headset is the key to mass adoption of VR. While Go featured the low-end version of the standalone mode, the Insight enabled Quest offers much more flexibility and freedom to its user. It embodies the best tracking technology developed so far, which not only scans your environment to minimize tripping hazards but also allows the user to immerse in the VR experience without having to worry about real-life obstacles.
The Quest also has a display resolution of 1600×1440 per eye, which is slightly lower than that of Rift but significantly better than Go. Similar to Go, Quest also utilizes spatial audio to deliver direct sounds into your ears that enhances the VR experience. For example, if you are in the middle of a game in Quest, you can instantly identify which direction a sound is coming from. Quest was unveiled at the Oculus Connect 5 event and is set to hit the markets in spring of 2019 – with a price tag of $399.
When Oculus was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $2.3 billion, CEO Mark Zuckerberg hoped to deliver the VR experience to around 1 million people in the future. The Insight enabled Quest with its advanced tracking features, standalone mode, and state-of-the-art Insight technology has the potential to revolutionize the entire VR experience for users.