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Oculus shows off standalone VR headset

Oculus Go
The Oculus Go headset is designed to be comfier than a smartphone holder for virtual reality. (Oculus Photo)

Oculus is filling the virtual-reality niche between smartphones and its high-end, wired-up Oculus Rift headset with a standalone mobile headset that’ll sell for $199.

The Oculus Go headset, unveiled today in conjunction with the Oculus Connect conference in San Jose, Calif., is due to ship early next year, the Facebook subsidiary said in a blog post.

At today’s conference, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the product fills a “sweet spot” in his company’s campaign to get a billion people using virtual reality.

Oculus Go is compatible with mobile apps and content produced for Samsung Gear VR, the smartphone that’s optimized for Oculus. But it has a comfier facial interface, built-in speakers for spatial audio (plus a headphone jack) and wide-angle lenses.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

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‘Mission: ISS’ puts you in virtual space station

Virtual space station
“Mission: ISS” lets you use Oculus Touch controllers to interact with a virtual-reality version of the International Space Station. (Oculus Rift Illustration)

Oculus has just launched “Mission: ISS,” a virtual-reality simulation that takes advantage of the company’s headset and handheld controllers to let you explore the International Space Station and even perform a virtual spacewalk.

The computer-generated environment, designed for Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch, provides yet another hint at the shape of things to come at the intersection of virtual and augmented reality with space exploration.

For years, NASA and other space agencies have been closing in on the creation of real-life, 3-D environments that folks can experience through 360-degree video and VR devices as simple as Google Cardboard.

Check out the sampling on GeekWire.