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Hands on With Oculus Rift's New 'Crescent Bay' Headset

NBC News donned Crescent Bay at CES, and the demo dropped the wearer into scenarios that involved a roaring T. Rex and teetering atop a skyscraper.

LAS VEGAS — Oculus VR still won't reveal a consumer release date for its Rift virtual-reality headset, but it has a prototype its CEO says is "very close" to final. Oculus launched the first public demonstration of that model, called "Crescent Bay," at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

Crescent Bay -- which first debuted in September to a select group at Oculus' developer conference -- features improved "3-D" audio and includes 360-degree motion tracking to make it easier for users to move around. NBC News donned Crescent Bay on Wednesday at CES, and the demo dropped the wearer into scenarios involving a roaring Tyrannosaurus rex or teetering at the edge of a skyscraper ledge.

Oculus, which Facebook bought in March for $2 billion, has focused mostly on gaming. But Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe told NBC News the company sees broad applications in a variety of fields. Architects, for example, might drop themselves into a room they're designing to decide if that window should be moved a bit to the left. Kids in a sixth-grade class could closely examine a fragile artifact. Oculus began shipping its first Rift headsets to developers in early 2013, but the devices have not yet been made available to general consumers.

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-- Julianne Pepitone