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Oculus Details HRTF Audio in CES Crescent Bay Units

Earlier today Oculus VR’s Head of Studios Jason Rubin teased that the exhibition units of the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) on display at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Shows (CES) this week featured improved audio. Rubin didn’t provide specifics about the upgrade, which has been applied to the Crescent Bay prototype model of the Oculus Rift, but did state that it had ‘never been seen’ before. Now Oculus VR has more directly detailed its VR audio on display at this week’s event.


An explanation comes by the way of a new Oculus VR blog post. It reveals that the kit is using Head-Related Transfer Function (HRTF) technology, which will be included in an upcoming Oculus Audio software development kit (SDK). The tech works with the head-tracking technology found in the Oculus Rift in an attempt to create truly immersive audio that reacts to where users are moving their heads. The company calls this ‘true 3D audio specialisation’.

“HRTFs simulate the changes to a sound when it reaches your head from a point in space,” the post explains. “It does this by referencing data that represents changes that would happen to a sound coming from that direction. There is data for hundreds of points around your head, and the software smooths the audio between those points for a natural sound, regardless of head or sound source position.”

All of the standard Crescent Bay demos that were revealed alongside the prototype at last year’s Oculus Connect developer event have been revised to include the technology. Oculus VR has also teased that there are a few ‘surprises’ in store for those that try the demos. The list of samples includes Showdown, the action sequence developed by Epic Games using its Unreal Engine 4. There isn’t any word on when the Oculus Audio SDK will arrive for developers to experiment with at this point in time.

VRFocus is at CES all week to bring you any further updates from Oculus VR and all other VR technology.

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