During Immersed 2016, we had the chance to speak with Alen Peric, the founder of Onix Virtual Reality, a VR HMD company that “is taking a modular approach to upgradability.” Onix is designing a high-end VR headset called Pulsar that features a curved 4K 120Hz display that you can use as a tethered, wireless, or self-contained device.
The basic unit needs a PC to access content, but consumers will have the option of purchasing upgrade modules that change the core function of the hardware. Onix VR plans to release a tether-free upgrade to make the Pulsar HMD wireless, and the ultimate configuration is the self-contained unit. An upgraded head strap that includes all the computational power necessary for high-end virtual reality experiences is in the works to make that possible.
Onix VR is designing the Pulsar HMD around the use of a curved display. Peric explained that the curve of the screen “helps bring the focal point of the display closer to the lenses,” which allows for wider viewing angles and helps “combat chromatic aberration.”
Onix VR is using the display from the LG G Flex 2 in its prototype design, but the company is planning to support 4K resolution at 120Hz when the final product hits the market. Onix VR is in talks with multiple companies about designing a screen with those parameters for the Pulsar HMD. The base model will interface with a computer through a Thunderbolt 3-compatible USB port (Peric didn't specify, but it must be USB Type-C), but Peric didn’t mention the company's plans for wireless communication.
Peric feels confident that the GPUs that hit the market next year will be capable of delivering the performance necessary for a 4K 120Hz display, but he acknowledged that his company is going to have to wait for the necessary support hardware before the Pulsar HMD can become a viable product.
He also said that Onix VR is targeting an $800 to $1,000 price for the base model Pulsar headset. He didn’t say how much the upgrades will be, but you can imagine the CPU and GPU necessary for a self-contained VR HMD would drive the price up significantly above the base model.
Onix VR is still in its infancy, but it’s moving quickly. The 22-year-old Peric launched the company just four months ago, and he and his Chief Design Officer, Klemen Verbovšek, are working fast to bring their ambitious project to life. Onix VR is still in the concept phase, but the company anticipates having a working prototype of its Pulsar VR HMD within the next few months and is shooting to launch in Q4 2017.
Update, 10/21/16, 4:13pm PT: Updated spelling error in Alen Peric's name.