Oculus Rift is great for tracking the movement of your head, but soon it could be tracking the rest of your body too. Right now the bevy of sensors inside the headset are able to track the movement of your head in all three dimensions, but to move yourself around you need to use the buttons and joysticks of an Xbox controller. The headset is still in development, but a future version could come with a built-in camera to enable more comprehensive tracking.
In a profile of the company by Wired, Oculus revealed details of their camera-augmented headset:
Oculus is also working on a second, outward-facing camera that will be part of the headset itself. The Valve prototype used such a camera to read fiducial markers on the walls for tracking, but Oculus seems to intend it for very different applications. For one, Carmack says, it can function as a pass-through camera, allowing Rift-wearing users to see what's happening in the real world—a kind of external heads-up display that would allow you to grab a soda, for instance. But it has other, much more interesting potential uses… A front-facing camera might allow the Rift to someday track users' gestures instead—like a Kinect, but more powerful. "In the early days of VR, it was all goggles and gloves," Carmack says. "Nobody's talking about gloves now—it's going to be done with optical tracking. You want it to feel like a virtuoso with an instrument." Add haptic feedback, which the company is also developing, and you've taken a giant step toward achieving true presence. Players will be able to engage with virtual worlds—and have those worlds engage back—unencumbered.
Oculus Rift is plenty immersive as it is, but the minds behind it are working hard to make it even more so. Someday we'll have full virtual reality presence, though that day isn't yet today. Adding a camera to the Oculus headset to better track the movements of the wearer, that's the first step down that road.
There's a lot more about the history of Oculus and where they envision virtual reality going in the years to come, so go ahead and check out Wired's profile of the company and its founders at the source below.