Consumer Oculus Rift may track your hands as well as your head

An outward-facing camera could allow hand and body control, as well as letting you see the real world through your headset

With Oculus Rift generating so many headlines over the past few months, it’s easy to forget that it’s still a long way from being a real product – the first commercial Rift headset most likely won’t be on sale until next year.

And by the time it rolls around, it’ll be significantly different from the current Developer Kit 2 prototype. At least that’s a suggestion made by Oculus VR Chief Technology Officer (not to mention Doom and Quake co-creator) John Carmack.

READ MORE: Oculus Rift preview

Carmack told Wired that the company is working on installing an outward-facing camera on the headset. This can function as a pass-through camera (basically showing you a video feed of the outside world), which would definitely come in useful at times, but perhaps more interestingly could also be used as a Kinect-style body tracking device, turning your hands into controllers.

“In the early days of VR, it was all goggles and gloves,” said Carmack. “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.”

There’s even talk of adding haptic feedback, which would allow your body to “feel” a pushback from the virtual worlds in which you’re travelling (although that, presumably, would require some form of glove).

It’s compelling stuff, truly – and we can’t wait to see what else Oculus VR has in store for the Rift. In the meantime, we suggest you have a look at Wired’s profile and history of the company and its technology – it’s a great read.

[Via Wired]

READ MORE: Next-gen Oculus Rift is coming and “twice as good” as the current version

More after the break...