The Oculus Rift is finally beginning to ship and while it provides our first insight into virtual reality, there’s no denying that the headset certainly isn’t a looker. The Rift is just the first in a cohort of upcoming VR headsets but all share the same similar design; however, according to design studio Artefact, VR headsets may look very different by 2020.
In a project titled “VR: 2020: A more inclusive vision for virtual reality” the company detailed two VR headset concepts named Light and Shadow. Both concepts concentrate on how to make VR both more social and more solitary in different ways.
Shadow is a headset attached to a hoodie for a more private VR experience aimed at hardcore gamers, with the computer and battery components built into the hoodie itself, rather than the head-mounted display like current offerings, allowing the headset to be a lot more slimline. There’s even a vibration pack and a neuromuscular force feedback sleeve for tactile interactions built right in.
“For the hardcore gamer, inclusion is meaningful primarily in the context of a shared gaming experience. Eye tracking enables Shadow to detect the user’s emotions, which can be reflected through a virtual avatar or using displays within the mask that mimic the user’s eyes.”
The second concept, Light, is geared towards social users who wish to interact with other VR users in the same room. It borrows some of the social features included on the HTC Vive such as the front-facing camera and phone integration with the virtual reality environment, but builds on this by being truly wireless.
“We imagined Light as a VR headset for families or groups of friends who want to dabble in virtual reality but above all want to experience it together. Simple, sharable and transparent, it allows the user to stay connected not only to the virtual reality but to her environment and the people around her.”
You only have to take one look at how the design of phones have evolved over the years since the first generation were introduced to the world. The current VR headsets are inevitably going to evolve as technology advances and the use of VR progresses, and perhaps Artefact’s 2020 vision may be accurate, but maybe the evolution in design they have predicted is not radical enough?
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