At SVVR Conference & Expo, GameFace Labs shared with Road to VR info on a new prototype of the mobile head mounted display that the company intends to show off at E3 next month. The prototype features a brand new form-factor, front facing gesture camera, multiple ports, and custom lenses.
GameFace Labs revealed last month their ‘Mark 4’ prototype which was the first VR headset that we saw demonstrated with a 2.5k display. The company is working on a mobile VR headset which will be self-contained and not need to be plugged in to a computer or game console.
The company’s forthcoming Mark 5 prototype, which will be the first from the company based on the powerful Nvidia Tegra K1 SoC, will envelop the 2.5k display in a completely overhauled form-factor. The new design includes independent adjustments to both IPD and lens-to-eye distance, enabling the device to be worn without glasses or lens swapping. The new prototype will include custom lenses and no longer rely on a pair taken from the Oculus Rift DK1. An over-head strap has also been added.
The Mark 5 GameFace prototype will also see the addition of a front-facing depth camera that will be mounted to the mobile VR headset, presumably for sensing the user’s hands, and possibly the environment around them. The company wouldn’t share the make or model of the depth camera, but I had a chance to see the unit that will be used.
The depth camera will plug into an on-board micro-USB port which sits alongside an HDMI-out port as well as a 3.5mm audio jack for headphones.
GameFace’s CEO, Ed Mason, told me that the HDMI-out port would enable the unit to be used as a mobile game console, able to run standard Android games that would be played on a TV with a Bluetooth controller, much like the Ouya Android console. He also said it could be used to show what’s being displayed on the screen while being used for VR.
GameFace plans to have the Mark 5 prototype ready to be demonstrated at E3 next month.
During a panel at the SVVR Conference & Expo, on which both GameFace’s Ed Mason and Oculus VR’s Palmer Luckey sat, Mason said he believes that in the next 3-5 years mobile chips will be up to the task of a quality mobile VR experience. Luckey said that he doesn’t believe that mobile VR is yet capable of providing a good VR experience today.
At the conference I was able to try out the GameFace Mark 4 prototype with 2.5k display. I was impressed with the clarity of the screen and the lack of ‘screen door effect’ (space between the pixels). Oculus Rift users will almost certainly demand this resolution for a consumer launch.
GameFace plans to launch a developer kit of their mobile VR headset by the end of 2014.