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What’s Inside an Oculus Rift?

Facebook's Oculus Rift consumer edition ships in 2016.Facebook's Oculus Rift consumer edition ships in 2016.
Facebook's Oculus Rift consumer edition ships in 2016.Oculus VR

The Oculus Rift has only been in people’s hands for a few days, so in a perfect world, no one has broken the shiny new toy yet.

But if someone has, it looks like fixing the virtual reality headset may not be a Herculean task.

The team at iFixit, who never met a device they didn’t want to rip apart, posted a teardown of the Rift, and it turns out that the so-called device of the future is actually a pretty straightforward affair. (Well, on the topline, at least.)

The disassembly of the Rift also shows the improvements that Oculus has made in the consumer version compared to earlier prototypes. The biggest of these is replacing the unit’s single display with a pair of specialized OLED panels. A previous version of the system used the same display screen as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 smartphone.

Oculus also added more LED trackers to the device, including on the back, to make it easier to turn around in the virtual world and still keep you acclimated.

Improvements to the lenses in the unit make it easier to focus. The Rift uses Fresnel lenses, which adjust focus depending on where you look through them.Those also make the Rift lighter than development kits, and thus, much more comfortable to wear.

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The teardown itself goes into much, much more detail about the components, but the takeaway is iFixit says the Rift should be fairly easy to fix in case of troubles. The tech site gives it a seven out of 10 in that category, noting that cable management is dramatically improved compared to the developer kits and the face pad is easily removed, letting you access critical components.

Nevertheless, the article still seems to suggest Rift owners should let a professional make internal adjustments if there are problems, though, because the internal ribbon cables are delicate, and the design is very intricate.

Normally, one might not expect the hardware maker that spent years perfecting a new system to welcome its destruction with open arms. But Palmer Luckey, founder and CEO of Oculus, applauded the teardown,

In fact, he encouraged the iFixit site to go further, though when the team asked him how, Luckey ultimately admitted that’s pretty hard to do without specialized skills.