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Oculus Rift Competitor "Totem" Shows Up On Kickstarter

Over on Kickstarter, there's a new virtual reality headset project called Totem. The studio behind the Oculus Rift competitor, Vrvana Inc., is looking to score $350,000 CAD over the next 28 days. The team has already raked in 151 backers pledging $55,967 CAD as of this article.

According to the company, the Totem headset connects to any HDMI source, including tablets, smartphones, consoles and so on that are capable of playing Side-by-Side 3D video or games (SbS). The headset itself includes dual onboard cameras and onboard (secret sauce) video acceleration, the former of which can allow the wearer to see what's going on in the "real world" with the press of a button.

"Current VR headset models restrict you to moving within their external tracking camera's field of view (FOV)," the Kickstarter page said. "When moving too far left or right of the camera placed in front of you or looking behind you, there is no way for these cameras to keep tracking your movements. Our Totem's internal on-board cameras take care of this and give you full freedom to move about in base world so you can do your thing in virtual world."

The company promises low latency thanks to Totem's onboard acceleration. The headset also features lenses that were specially designed for comfort and individual lens focusing, meaning users won't have their glasses smashed against their face. The lenses are also oversized to support 1080p resolution no matter where the user is looking.

"When we designed the Totem, we wanted to create a headset that would be able to evolve with the current fast changing VR space," the Kickstarter page said. "Our two main processing components, the USB microcontroller and the Audio/Video processor (FPGA), are both field-upgradable with firmware updates."

The company indicated that when new features are developed or current parts have been improved, the user will have access to these components immediately. There's even an expansion port so that third-party device makers can create accessories for the headset.

Consumers who pledge $8,000 CAD or more will get to tour Vrvana's offices and lab as well as receive one Totem HMD, a pair of custom stereo ear buds and a private dinner with the team. Pledge $1,000 CAD and receive a special thank-you and a personalized SbS video to watch on the backer's own Totem headset.

The company's Kickstarter page said that the current Totem developer's kit works with games that support the Oculus Rift Developers Kit 1 (DK1). Support for DK2 Rift games is coming soon.

"Many developers are now adding HMD support but one of the problems in the industry is the lack of a universal standard," the page said. "Until this becomes available, we will be including plug-ins for all the major engines that will be simple and quick to use."

Supported game engines include Unreal Engine, Unity, Cryengine and Havok. For a list of specifications, head here.


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