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Wearable Tech

Oculus Rift VR headset is surprisingly repairable

The folks at iFixit tear apart the new consumer edition of the virtual reality device and discover a well-designed piece of technology.

Don't try this at home. But the Oculus Rift isn't that tough to take apart.

CNET

You may not choose to dissect your new $600 Oculus Rift VR to see what makes it tick. But anyone who needs to go inside to make repairs shouldn't find the effort overly taxing.

Released this week, the first consumer version of Facebook's Oculus Rift virtual reality headset immerses you in a 3D world where you can play games, explore animated worlds and even access your Windows desktop. A teardown of the device by iFixit reveals a sleeker version over the developer editions, one that's "lightweight" and "impressively comfortable."

Oculus Rift marks the unofficial start of the new generation of virtual reality, a technology that has excited the industry because of its ability to take people into new, immersive digital worlds. It's an area that has drawn heavy hitters like Facebook, Samsung and Google as they all hope to ride the next big trend in tech.

So what's inside the Oculus Rift CV1 (Consumer Version 1) that makes it relatively repairable?

The cables are better organized than they were in the developer versions, with a connector that's easy to remove. The earpiece speakers are a snap to take out courtesy of their spring connectors, iFixit said. Held in place by plastic clips, the face pad can be pulled out simply enough.

On the downside, iFixit said, getting inside the Oculus Rift is challenging due to hard-to-find clips. The lenses, displays and motherboard are tough to remove due to an "intricate design and delicate ribbon cables." And you can't replace the head strap without slicing through the fabric on the headset.

The final grade from iFixit? The Oculus Rift CV1 earns 7 out of 10 on the repairability scale (10 being the easiest to repair).

In response to iFixit's teardown, Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey tweeted: "Come on, @iFixit, you can go further than that!" When iFixit responded that it seeks to be as non-destructive as possible, Luckey suggested the team "get really good at ultrasonic welding." Otherwise, he acknowledged, they couldn't easily go much further in a teardown.