Short blog posts, journal entries, and random thoughts. Topics include a mix of personal and the world at large. 

VR technology not ready for prime time

One of the computer labs on campus got newly setup with VR stations. I've never tried VR so I was eager to have a go. After adjusting the HTC Vive unit for my unusually large head, I was dropped right inside the International Space Station. The ability to traverse the station unencumbered in all directions is indeed quite awesome, though cognizant of my motion sickness tendencies I knew the experience would have to be brief. 

Even without my dizziness propensities, VR is not something I'd want to do for an extended period of time. The weight of the Vive unit becomes burdensome very quickly, putting excessive  pressure on the neck. Headset manufacturers should utilize lighter materials such as carbon-fiber, but that would absolutely balloon the purchase price. Until that become economical, VR is best enjoyed in spurts (for me at least). I can't picture myself watching an entire movie wearing a heavy VR device. 

Wouldn't it be hilarious if the next Avatar movie shot in VR format. 

Being a first generation product, I found the HTC Vive headset's resolution to be wholly inadequate (I guess the University couldn't afford the Vive Pro). When the "screen" is this close to the eyes, the outlines of each pixel is readily apparent. A resolution of 1080×1200 per eye may read high on the spec sheet, especially compared to the typical 1920x1080 HD television, but I think it needs to be at least doubled for true immersion. 

It'll take quite the computer to push 2160x2400 pixels to each eye at above 90 Hz (ideally 120 Hz), assuming a headset of such stature is even currently possible.

The bottom line is that I don't think contemporary VR hardware and form-factor is ready for long term, sustained use. Headsets needs to be exponentially lighter in weight, and the screens inside must be 'Retina Display' levels of pixel density (whatever that is for a device mere inches from your face). Until that evolution, I see VR as nothing more than a novelty item akin to a theme park ride. 

Some shadow play before leaving for work. 

Some shadow play before leaving for work.