FOVE Inc., the creators of the FOVE eye-tracking VR HMD, revealed a new design for the in-development headset. The new kit has been re-engineered to reduce the overall weight. Full specs of the HMD are still to come.
We had a chance to catch up with FOVE Inc.’s CTO, Lochliam Wilson, and try out the early prototype of the hardware at CES earlier this year. Wilson told us that a new headset design would be revealed in “the coming months.” We were under the impression that he was hinting at GDC, but it turns out the announcement was made at SIGGRAPH 2016.
FOVE isn’t saying much about the specs of the hardware yet. All we know so far is that the new FOVE HMD is lighter and more compact than the prototype we tested in January. The older hardware was designed with a rigid strap system and deep side walls that wrap around your face. I found the mechanism that holds the HMD in place on your head to be comfortable and easy to use, but apparently, my feedback wasn’t common.
In reaction to user feedback, FOVE decided to eliminate the rigid strap mechanism in exchange for a fabric three-point harness that is similar to other VR HMD designs. Switching to a fabric strap system also eliminated the need for the deep side walls (the sidewalls housed the strap’s hinge system).
As a result, the size and weight of the updated FOVE HMD have been “dramatically reduced” from the previous iteration. The lighter weight also “dramatically improved overall wearability,” and the smaller, simpler design is better suited for efficient production.
FOVE didn’t get into the technical specifications of the hardware, but in a press release, the company did implore us to “hang on for a couple more days, and we’ll get back to you with a full July update.” Hopefully, the company will talk about its in-house tracking system. FOVE was going to use Valve’s Lighthouse system, but waiting for Lighthouse access would delay the production even further than it has already slipped, so FOVE is building its own solution.