Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Overweight HMDs are still heavy, regardless of how they are supported

When I was a kid, I was discussing with a friend how overweight people sometimes wear black because it makes them look thinner. "Yeah", he replied, "but such clothing still uses a lot of fabric, even if it's black fabric".

I feel the same way about some of the professional HMDs out there. 2 lbs (1 Kg) is still 2 lbs no matter how hard you work to distribute the weight on the head. It's still heavy.

Most of the weight in head-mounted displays is concentrated in the front. This is where the optics are, as well as the micro-displays, and some electronics. Using such front-heavy HMDs can cause neck strain and general discomfort. Some companies actually put a counter-weight on the back of the head to offset the front-loaded weight. Others experiment with sophisticated head mounts that are designed to more evenly-distribute the weight on the head. But even if not heavy immediately, wear a 2 lb HMD for 10 minutes and you won't forget that it's 2 lbs.

HMDs should simply go on a diet.

Users get this. We just returned from Europe where we'd have a chance to see potential customers try on different HMDs from different vendors. Often times, heavy products were discarded very quickly. "Just too heavy", we heard.

Would you put up with sunglasses that hurt your nose? How about a hat that became truly heavy after 30 minutes?

Big may be beautiful, and black fabric does not hurt either, but heavy on the head is just too much to take.

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