Facebook Is Reportedly Building a VR Headset You Could Actually Afford

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Published by : CT WEB 2017-07-15 14:45:02

Facebook's Oculus Rift provides one of the most immersive virtual reality experiences currently possible, but its appeal can be hampered by a cumbersome setup process, high price tag, and complex system requirements. The social media giant hopes to address those concerns with a forthcoming $200 wireless headset that will be lighter than Samsung's Gear VR model, according to a new report from Bloomberg.

Facebook will reportedly unveil the device, which is codenamed "Pacific," in 2017, but it won't begin selling the device until 2018.

While most lightweight virtual reality (VR) headsets like those made by Samsung and Google are powered by a smartphone, Facebook's upcoming VR viewer will work independently of a phone or computer, Bloomberg says. The interface will reportedly be similar to that of the Samsung Gear VR, which also runs on Oculus' software, and will be controlled using a wireless remote.

"We don't have a product to unveil at this time, however we can confirm that we're making several significant technology investments in the standalone VR category," a Facebook spokesperson told TIME. "This is in addition to our commitment to high-end VR products like Oculus Rift and mobile phone products like Gear VR."

The new headset will offer more power for gaming, Bloomberg says, but it will not come with the same positional tracking technology as the high-end Oculus Rift. That means the headset won't be able to detect the user's real-world whereabouts in relation to the device.

Facebook is also working on a separate cord-free VR viewer nicknamed Santa Cruz that will include inside-out tracking technology. This technique uses embedded cameras to detect space and positioning from inside the headset so that external sensors aren't required. Facebook plans to release a different version of the "Pacific" headset that supports positional tracking, Bloomberg says.

(TIME)

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