Somewhere between a head-encasing helmet and a sleek pair of Wayfarers lies the sweet spot for VR hardware. Current virtual reality glasses, goggles, and headsets tend to live on the bulkier end of the spectrum with a face-enveloping headset and catcher’s mask head straps. The technology just hasn’t yet reached a point where immersive audio and visuals can be shrunk down into something much more streamlined. Which is why the HDR UHD VR Glasses that Panasonic just unveiled in Vegas at CES 2020 are worthy of attention.
Looking more like futuristic mad scientist goggles, the glasses are in the prototype stage and no expected release date has been set. Panasonic plans to eventually use them for commercial applications like VR sports and virtual travel and sees the smaller profile and weight as a way to make VR more comfortable for users. To shrink immersive sights into the smaller package, Panasonic worked with microdisplay developer Kopin Corporation to produce micro OLED panels with smooth visuals, unmarred by lines between the pixels. Panasonic is promoting these as the first HDR-capable VR glasses, supporting higher contrast within the images for a more realistic display.
For sound, Panasonic called on hi-fi audio brand Technics, using their drivers that incorporate magnetic fluid technology for a range of frequencies delivered with very low distortion. The HDR UHD VR Glasses (or high dynamic range ultra high definition virtual reality glasses — we assume a better name is forthcoming) will slip on much like a pair of standard eyeglasses and use in-ear phones for sound. It’s inevitable that slimmer, lighter, sleeker headsets are the future for VR, and this Panasonic development seems ready to move towards it.
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