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Behold, the Oculus Rift condom

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How Oculus kept its Rifts clean through dozens of demos

A row of adhesive stickers for the pads on the Oculus Rift
A roll of the “Rift condoms.”
Ben Kuchera/Polygon

It can be hard to keep the actual virtual reality hardware clean when you’re demoing the experience to dozens, if not hundreds, of people. But Oculus has a pretty good solution: The company kept rolls of what I dubbed “Rift condoms” at every booth during Oculus Connect 3.

The individuals working the show were more than happy to show me the rolls of virtual reality prophylactics, although they didn’t seem to repeat my term for the adhesive strips that would keep the player from feeling the forehead sweat of the player before them.

You could barely see the condoms when they were in use, and they felt similar to the standard Rift cushion, but they could be pulled off with a single motion. You can see one beginning to come off after a particular sweaty session of Dead and Buried below.

An adhesive sticker coming off the padding of an Oculus Rift
The “condom” coming off after a sweaty session.
Ben Kuchera/Polygon

No one I asked seemed to know who made the condoms — or if you could buy them for civilian use — I was just told me they were given to the folks working the show and it was mandatory to replace the strip after every demo. It certainly made the event a bit more sanitary, and I wish they were offered as official accessories at some point. You can purchase a more permanent solution of course, but I’ve never see a product for sale in this kind of bulk.

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, more gross than leaving a good session of an active game and handing the headset over to know that the next player is going to feel the gummy, cold ring of flop sweat on the pads of the Rift.

So thank you, Rift condom. You made Oculus Connect 3 a much better time.

Another image of the roll of adhesive strips for the Oculus Rift Ben Kuchera/Polygon