So I included this in some of the public facing forums as well, but I figured it worthwhile to share with the developer side as well and was interested to hear what people have to say about this.
This would increase the cost of the device but also would improve the capability to include natively supported Augmented reality.
The Rift currently only natively supports VR, with AR possible through external Attachements such at the OVRVision device. This device, on its own has frankly subpar performance in comparison to the Rift proper, so I have to wonder if the OVR team could hypothetically design a system which could handle this better.
My suggestion, thusly, is a system wherein the front opaque panel is made to be able to shift between opaque and transparent, or able to move out of the way of the viewer by either folding or moving around the user's head. An example method for this would be to move the hardware in the frontfacing lens to the lateral or cranial directions to account for this.
Assuming you'd prefer the transparent to dark backing transition with no motors and movement (which I expect) add to the API tools to change the state the state a single function which takes in the transparency value you would like and will automatically set in in the backing hardware. Additionally, this may require changes in your display technology, based on my understanding of how it works. I would argue that the technology to handle this does exist and it should be doable but Im not sure whether you may deem the necessary R&D costs to be appropriate. Another concern in this case might be latency if you also want the feature to feed back an image of what the player can see through the lens, but regardless I do think this to be something worthy of consideration.
Anywho, Im Forrest Shooster, a VR/AR/MR game dev who just had a passing thought I wanted to share with the oculus team. I'll be sharing this elsewhere as well. Thanks.
Forrest Z. Shooster AKA Argzero