Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR and designer of the Oculus Rift, shares his thoughts on the recently unveiled Oculus Rift S: Rift S is very cool! It takes concepts that have been around for years and puts them into a fully functional product for the first time. Sure, sure, I see people complaining about how Rift S is worse than CV1 concerning audio quality, display characteristics, and ergonomics -- some of the tradeoffs are real, some are imaginary, and people should really wait for it to come out before passing final judgement. [...] My IPD (interpupillary distance, the distance between my eyes) is a hair under 70mm and slightly skewed to the right side of my face. One of my best friends has an IPD of 59mm. I don't know what your IPD is, but both of us were perfectly served by the IPD adjustment mechanism on Rift CV1, a mechanism that was an important part of our goal to be compatible with male and female users from 5th to 95th percentile. Anyone within the supported range (about 58mm to 72mm) got a perfect optical experience -- field curvature on the focal plane was matched, geometric distortion was properly corrected, world scale was at the right size, and pupil swim was more or less even.
Sharp imagery from edge to edge of your field of view was the norm. The small handful of people with an IPD outside that range would not get a perfect experience, but at least they would be in the right ballpark. IPD skews in different directions by gender, race, and age, but we managed to cover almost everyone, and we were proud of that. This is not the case with Rift S. Like Oculus Go, it uses two lenses that are set about 64mm apart, perfect for a perfectly average person. Everyone who fits Cinderella's shoe will get a perfect experience, anyone close will deal with minor eyestrain problems that impact their perception of VR at a mostly subconscious level. Everyone else is screwed, including me. Imagery is hard to fuse, details are blurry, distortion is wrong, mismatched pupil swim screws up VOR, and everything is at the wrong scale. "Software IPD adjustment" can solve that last bit, but not much else -- it adjusts a single variable that happens to be related to IPD, but is not comparable in any way to an actual IPD adjustment mechanism. This is the main reason I cannot use my Oculus Go, even after heavy modification on other fronts.
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