The long wait is almost over. Back in 2013, the original Kickstarter campaign raised $2.5 million and ever since we've been waiting for the consumer version. Well, now the Oculus Rift Is Available For Preorder ($599). It was initially expected to start shipping in March, but due to the high demand, it looks like June is a better bet at the moment. Initially, the headset will ship to 20 countries, and there will also be a small set of retailers who will have demo units starting in April.Before preordering you'll want to make sure you PC is "Oculus Ready". You'll need at least an NVIDIA GTX 970 or equivalent video card, an Intel i5-4590 or better processor, 8gm of RAM, an HDMI 1.3 video output, 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 PORT, and OS Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer. If you don't have the right gear, they're offering PC's for sale from other companies and in February, they'll be offering a Rift/PC bundle starting at $1499.Not everything is so rosie. The touch controller that enables users to interact with objects in VR won't be shipping with the headset. They don't expect it to be ready until the second half of this year. Instead, the rift will ship with a Xbox controller and two games.
I'm never gonna buy this thing, but boy would I love to take it out for a spin. The Amphibious Sub-Surface Watercraft ($300K) is the latest offering from Hammacher Schlemmer. This watercraft comes with two tracks, controlled by dedicated 48-volt intercooled electric motors, that allow you to drive right of the trailer into the water. Once you're in, you have access to two areas of the craft. One area is a bouyant above-water hull with a cockpit that fits two, and provides a 180-degree surface view. The other is fully submersed, can hold two additional people, and provides spectacular underwater views. Two 24-volt lithium battery banks provide 110 hours of water operation and up to 8 hours on land.
The Amsler Knives Pocket Wedge ($56) is a great addition to any EDC arsenal. We know we've all been in the situation where we needed to open that paint can and had nothing on hand, or chipped a tooth trying to open a beer bottle. Needless to say a good pry bar is essential. The Amsler Pocket Wedge has a very portable 3" inch length and is made from 6al4v Titanium. It includes a carbonized tip and a bottle opener. It also comes in three different finishes; raw, dark, and pink.
You'll be hard pressed to find a better view on the planet. The Mirador House By Gubbins Arquitectos ($NFS) is located in Tunquen, Chile and is located on a cliff with amazing ocean views. Designed for a Parisian lawyer, the summer house is comprised of two terraces that open up to a large meeting space which feature both views of the sea and the countryside. Center room is a double height area that you exit via a spiral-staircase, which takes you to the roof terrace.
Joey Roth is one of our favorite speaker designers and he's gotten together with Grovemade to help design the Grovemade Wood Speakers ($599). The speakers harness the acoustic properties of wood and create beautifully clear and nuanced sound. The speakers are machined out of solid wood and are mounted on a leather clad stainless steel stands.The wood enclosure isn't just for looks. It is carved into a horn with precise dimensions in order to provide the very best sound. The horn shape provides a boost to the lower frequencies while removing distortion caused by digital signal processing, and standard bass reflex enclosures.Each of these speakers is hand crafted one at a time at Grovemade's Portland, Oregon workshop.
Designed specifically for the urban driver, the Toyota i-Road ($TBA) is a mix between an electric car and a motorcycle. The i-Road has enough space for two occupants who sit tandem style inside a closed cockpit, has three wheels and uses Toyota's "Active Lean" technology to lean into corners like a motorcycle. On a three hour charge the vehicle can go about 50 km. This car is purely a concept vehicle, but Toyota will be kicking off a project in 2014 to gauge customer response to these type of vehicles. Here's a mock-up [video_lightbox_youtube video_id=ScsDvRYyitc width=640 height=480 anchor=video] of what the i-Road could look like on the roads in your city.