What is the Oculus Rift? - New York News

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What is the Oculus Rift?

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Virtual reality is making a comeback. And it's sure to enhance the way we watch movies and play video games.

I got a hands-on look at one of the most impressive virtual reality gadgets out there. I can honestly say I've never experienced anything quite like the 3D gaming headset called the Oculus Rift. The future is here and it looks like this.

Tech companies have been trying to make virtual reality a reality forever. Remember Nintendo's short-lived Virtual Boy? Fast forward 10 years and this is the closest we've ever been to having the technology in our homes.

Whether you're fighting zombies or racing luxury cars you're not just playing the game anymore. You're in it.

The Oculus Rift is one of several wearable gadgets that will hit the market in the near future. Aspiring game developer Chris Federeci couldn't wait for the consumer version, so he bought an early prototype.

"This is something that you're not going to experience probably until another year or so when they finally end up releasing it," Federeci said. "So I really wanted to just jump on that bandwagon and be there for all the things that hobbyists are creating and contribute to it hopefully."

He let me take the oculus for a spin, and I kind of had a nerd meltdown.

There are two lenses and an LCD screen inside the headset, and sensors to track your head movement. So you're seeing what I'm seeing on the monitor, but the Oculus Rift tricks your brain into thinking it is one big image.

When you're wearing the headset you get that feeling in your stomach like when you're on a rollercoaster. It's crazy.

The Oculus Rift is still in the early development stage with plenty of room for improvement before it goes mainstream.

But Mark Spoonauer, editor in chief of Laptop magazine, said this eye-opening technology is here to stay.

"Well there's a huge amount of potential with the Oculus Rift beyond just games," he said. "You could be onstage with your favorite band or surfing for the first time or climbing Mount Everest. The sky is the limit in terms of the potential of this device and what developers can do with it."

We could see the Oculus Rift in stores before the end of 2014. It'll probably cost between $300 and $500. But this first version will likely only work with computer and mobile games.

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