Vir­tual-re­al­ity head­set un­veiled

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - By Tracey Lien tracey.lien@la­times.com

SAN FRAN­CISCO — Face­book-owned Ocu­lus VR showed off the long-awaited con­sumer ver­sion of its vir­tual re­al­ity head­set Thurs­day, an­nounc­ing fea­tures such as built-in 360-de­gree au­dio head­phones, a con­stel­la­tion track­ing sys­tem, an ex­ter­nal sen­sor and a dial that ad­justs the dis­tance of the head­set’s lenses.

Set to launch in the first quar­ter of 2016, the yet-to-be-priced con­sumer ver­sion will be lighter and slightly smaller than the scuba mask-like de­vel­oper kits that have been avail­able to early adopters since late 2012.

Demon­strat­ing the head­set at a news con­fer­ence in San Fran­cisco, Ocu­lus VR Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Bren­dan Iribe said the con­sumer head­set will ac­com­mo­date peo­ple who wear glasses, and the built-in head­phones will be de­tach­able for those who want to use their own head­phones.

The head­set will ship with a wire­less Xbox One con­troller and an ex­ter­nal sen­sor that tracks the user’s head. Ocu­lus VR founder Palmer Luckey an­nounced that the com­pany is work­ing on its own track­ing con­troller that users can hold in each hand.

Ocu­lus VR is the first of the high-end vir­tual re­al­ity head­set mak­ers to set a re­lease win­dow for its con­sumer ver­sion. The com­pany be­gan as a start-up that used Kick­starter to raise al­most $2.5 mil­lion from more than 9,000 peo­ple to build the Ocu­lus Rift.

Face­book ac­quired the Irvine com­pany in 2014 for $2 bil­lion, boost­ing its re­sources and re­lo­cat­ing its head­quar­ters to Menlo Park.

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