Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Inside the vault of immersive HMD designs from Sensics

After seeing the Visualized history of augmented and virtual reality eyewear assembled in the Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, Sensics decided to open its vault to showcase some of the HMD design prototypes after the year.

The full gallery is available on this page at, but here are a couple of photos from the large collection.

Which one of these would you most like to see turned into a product?


Anonymous said...

The Bulova Spaceview design on top is unbelievably cool.

Sean Lumly said...

The first one (in this post) looks incredible, though it seems to have a lot of extra 'stuff' attached to the top and back. If this is some sort of integrated computer (with a reasonable GPU), then sign me up!

VRGuy said...

That first design is actually a CAD model of an early version of the piSight, which Sensics still sells today. If you look closely, you will see about a dozen small screens in each eye. The top and back are mechanical adjustment mechanisms. The piSight is interesting in that - in spite of looking like a torture device - it can easily fit to most people's heads and is very comfortable to wear.

Your idea of the integrated computer with decent GPU is a good one and we implemented it in the Natalia SmartGoggles prototype. The question becomes how you get people to write games that run on the goggles themselves in spite of the fact that the GPU in a PC or console will always be more powerful than what you can install inside a goggle. What do you think?

Sean Lumly said...

Sorry for the late response (I usually get email notifications).

The idea of a wearable computer is certainly an interesting one, but I think you're spot on: it would be difficult to find the balance of convenience, power and longevity to make it work well as a generally appealing product. This is especially true given the demanding resolutions that I assume are commensurate with your head-mounts.

Certainly a small computer (eg. Android) could handle things like streaming video wirelessly, of course, this may introduce an unacceptable latency issues even if you have enough bandwidth to push dual high-res displays. But it may be worth while looking into. I have no experience with this, but it is fun to consider: If you can muster fast video encode (ie. non DCT, and can leverage the GPU) at the expense of bit of bandwidth, and have a wide enough pipe to push all that video through, and hardware to quickly decode (eg. a fast GPU fragment shader), you may be able to steal a little time from the frame renderer, and the display's latency to send the video in enough time to make the magical 16ms.

In any case, the idea of being able to wirelessly roam about and use a headset is quite appealing and I would expect would open new avenues of uses. I remember seeing some information on free-roaming, as in your latest post (I have yet to read the paper), and I can only image how far this can be taken!