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Oculus VR begins shipping its latest Rift virtual-reality development kit

Oculus Rift's second development kit, which has many of the features consumers will end up using.

Above: Oculus Rift's second development kit, which has many of the features consumers will end up using.

Image Credit: Oculus VR

Facebook’s virtual-reality company is sending out the first wave of its latest development kits, so it’s time to stare out your window and wait for the FedEx delivery person.

After months of presales, Oculus VR is finally putting its dev kit version 2.0 in the mail (as first spotted by Gigaom). Anumber of developers and hobbyists who preordered it are getting email confirmations that their VR head-mounted displays are on the way. Over the last year, the Facebook subsidiary has revealed the new version of the kit, which runs at a higher resolution and features improved motion-tracking capabilities compared to the early developer version. Now, people will finally get a chance to start making software for the upgraded technology. This is the latest step in the company’s march toward a consumer release — which will work a lot like this latest developer version — that will launch later this year or in early 2015.

“We’ve started [shipping], and it’s the real deal,” Oculus VR community manager Andres Hernandez wrote in a post on the web-aggregation site Reddit.

Oculus VR has already sent out thousands of development kits for its Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset, but those are older, less-capable devices. The dev kit 2, as the company calls it, has a screen with 1,080 horizontal lines of resolution — just like most modern televisions. It also uses an external camera to track infrared dots on the device to translate player motion into a game. These features increase the sensation that you are really present in a simulation.

The VR company plans to ship out 10,000 of the new dev kits over the next week. That should put a big dent in the 25,000 units it has on preorder.

Facebook purchased Oculus VR for $2 billion earlier this year, but the social network is letting the VR mavericks run as an independent operation. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, sees virtual reality as the next computing platform after mobile and PC, and he’s putting money into the project to ensure that his company gets in on the ground floor.

The New Oculus Rift DK2

More information:

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 we... read more »

Oculus VR™ was founded by Palmer Luckey, self-described virtual reality enthusiast and hardware geek. The company launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund development of their first product, the Oculus Rift, a ground-breaking vir... read more »

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