Pimax released a video that shows off several accessories that the company is developing for its upcoming 8K VR HMD, including eye tracking modules, an inside-out tracking module, and even a scent module.
Pimax is a company that isn’t afraid to experiment with the limits of VR technology. At CES this year, Pimax revealed a prototype of a VR HMD that boasts 8K resolution and an ultra-wide 200-degree wraparound configuration. The 8K headset isn’t available yet, but Pimax is still adding to the package. Earlier this week, Pimax quietly posted a video to its YouTube channel that demonstrates several add-on accessories that the company is experimenting with.
Despite the exceptionally high 8K resolution, the refresh rate of the dual 4K displays is limited to 60Hz. What the Pimax 8K lacks in refresh rate, it makes up in the 200-degree field of view (FOV), which puts it right next to the StarVR HMD’s 210-degree FOV. The Pimax 8K headset also features dual tracking technologies. The company created a tracking system for the headset and its wand controllers; it also licensed Valve’s SteamVR tracking technology, which allows the headset to work with SteamVR base stations and accessories.
Just in case the base specifications weren’t enough to catch your attention, take a look at the modular accessories that Pimax is cooking up for the headset: There's a module that adds inside-out tracking to the headset, which you can bolt to the bottom of the HMD. The inside-out tracking module brings hand tracking and depth awareness, and the tracking module could also open a potential path for Windows Mixed Reality support.
Pimax also demonstrated a modular eye tracking unit that mounts around the outside of the lenses. It’s hard to tell from the video, but the eye tracking units look like they could be the aGlass eye tracking modules from 7invensun.
Pimax is even going after a market segment that isn’t really being taken seriously: scent. We’ve encountered scent simulation devices on only two other occasions. Last summer at Gamescom, one of our writers sacrificed his nostrils to the South Park gods to try the Nosulus Rift; and in January, a pornography website called CamSoda released a product called the OhRoma, which is meant to enhance the experience with pleasant scents. There’s no telling what Pimax has in mind for its scent module.
Pimax also showed off a variety of fitment and comfort accessories that are comparable to accessories that you can get for the HTC Vive, including an adjustable rigid head strap with integrated headphones, adapters to mount corrective lenses inside the HMD, and a pair of fans to reduce perspiration.
Pimax even has a wireless module in the works that would eliminate the tether cable that keeps the headset connected to the host PC. The company has not released any details about the wireless adapter other than showing that it exists. We’re unsure which wireless protocol would support streaming an 8K feed.
Pimax hasn’t revealed when the Pimax 8K would be available for purchase, but the company is promoting an upcoming Kickstarter campaign for the headset. It’s unclear if Pimax intends to bring the modular accessories to market alongside the headset, at a later date, or at all.
Maybe the headset will turn out great. Its resolution is not "8K" by any standardized definition though. Call it what it really is, a Dual 4K VR headset. If the product is any good, they shouldn't need questionable hardware specs to sell it.
GTX 1080 Ti can do 4K but I'm fairly certain it would struggle with 4K VR. Currently I don't even know how they would test their "8k VR" (LOL). Dual Titan XPs? i9 7980XE?
Also, I would not want to look at 60Hz right in front of my eyes. In the old days of CRT monitors you could see 60Hz flicker when you looked at it out of the corner of your eye. I know the screen type isn't the same but it's still the same speed refresh rate which, if you ask me would seem to low to use in VR.
Well, they did mention plans to offer an eye tracking accessory here. Eye tracking should offer the possibility of making use of foveated rendering, which renders what the viewer is looking at in full resolution and quality levels, but anything in the periphery, where your eyes don't see details as well, can be rendered at a much lower quality, and the two images can be softly combined together. This can enable sharper resolution without greatly increasing performance demands. Of course, this headset still has over six times the pixels of a current-generation Rift or Vive, and even at 60Hz, you're looking at filling over four times the pixels per second. Foveated rendering could potentially help a lot, but you'd still likely be looking at needing around double the GPU performance of those current headsets.
It's also possible that Foveated rendering might need to be support natively by games for best results, and as far as I know, no current games support it due to the lack of eye tracking hardware in today's VR headsets. It's possible that some universal method could be implemented in graphics card drivers, but I doubt AMD or Nvidia would implement something like that until the major players release headsets with such hardware.
Erm...nope! You need to realise that EACH EYE in the HMD headset only gets 4k. This is entirely different from a true 8K screen in non-HMD view, where each eye does get 8K. Hint: close one eye in an 8K desktop monitor: what resolution is the open eye getting? Do the same in the above VR headset...what res is the open eye getting?
What a VR headset offers is 1. depth of field (stereoscopic image) and 2. motion tracking potential. Combine both to give immersive 3D potential. Simply increase resolution and tracking responsiveness to increase realism further (future goal).