Oculus is still building a consumer version of its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, but in the meantime, that doesn’t preclude the company from expanding its efforts internally.
In fact, the company is reportedly chasing a complete level of immersion often compared to Star Trek’s holodeck in a project separate from the Rift. The holodeck was a room where you could create any 3D environment you want. You could say, “Take me to Italy,” and boom, you were in a virtual Italy.
In a video interview with Engadget, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey was asked, “Is Oculus developing any hardware other than the Rift?”
Luckey responded with a simple, “Yes.”
Nate Mitchell, Oculus’ VP of product, agreed:
Oculus is focused on delivering the entire VR experience. We want to be the best VR platform. That starts with the Rift. But there’s really basic needs. One thing we talked about a lot which can kinda be the scapegoat for this one, is the need for great audio. And how that’s integrated into the Rift, what we allow users to do, what we’re shipping, what the SDK looks like, does audio fit into that whole pipeline?
Mitchell could be hinting at the team’s research into binaural, or 3D, audio. Binaural audio would help increase the feeling that you’re truly in the game as the sound of bullets whip past your head or the rustle of foliage behind you lets you know someone is sneaking up.
But it sounds like Oculus is targeting the complete package, which could include motion or input controls, too.
“To get to the holodeck, we still have a long way to go,” Mitchell told Engadget. “People want the holodeck, and we want to be able to deliver that, and have that incredible experience for games. There are breakthroughs that need to be made across multiple disciplines here to get there, and we are investing super heavily in R&D, and I think like you’ve seen, recruiting the best and brightest across the industry.”
Oculus has no official product announcements besides the Rift headset, but Luckey suggests it might not be too far down the road.
“It’s worth pointing out that these aren’t all necessarily far-off distant future things,” Luckey said.
You can check out the entire video interview here.