Saturday, June 1, 2013

Heavily-used HMDs

One of our favorite customers uses several zSight HMDs for market research. These HMDs are fitted with eye trackers that monitor the direction of gaze of the users. Users are placed in virtual supermarkets or other stores and the system is being used to examine optimal product placement, test the effectiveness of promotional signs, such as determining where best place is to put a specific brand of corn flakes.

One day, one of these systems comes back to service. We provide 1-year warranty and this was after the warranty had expired. The system still worked great in many respects - image quality, color depth, motion tracker, etc,  but its enclosure was badly beaten up.

"What happened?", we asked our customer. "Did it get run over by a truck?". Not quite, said our customer, but over the last year over 2000 different people used this particular HMD: putting it on and off, adjusting for head sizes, placing it on a desk, walking around with it, bumping into a wall from time to time. Imagine how a rental car would look after 2000 different drivers used it.

This month, we want to explore where are the failure modes of HMDs and what to do about them. We realize that if an HMD (of any make) stops working, it is annoying and disruptive. By understanding what is happening, we can help everyone make better products.

Stay tuned.

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