Here’s a name you may not expect to be entering the immersive wearable market, Canon. They just demonstrated a virtual reality viewer (this is not a traditional headset) at Canon Expo in New York, and it packs some interesting display and optics technology.

canon-new-york-expoCanon just introduced a prototype headset at their Expo in New York, except it doesn’t look like it’s a headset at all. The unit is one of the oddest looking immersive devices we’ve seen since the glorious ergonomics of 3D Head graced our fair website, comprised of a large, square visor and two enormous handles. looks aside though, the specifications will probably pique your interest. Kind of like an imposing, 21st century Viewmaster (if that didn’t already exist).

The prototype, yet to be christened name as far as we can tell, packs dual 2560×1440 displays with an intriguing lens assembly comprising 3 glass elements per eye. The display can apparently deliver an impressive 120 degree field of view, but any information on the capabilities of the panels within are as yet unavailable.

Head of DreamLab at Dreamworks Animation, Brad Herman, was at Canon’s New York Expo and went hands-on with the new display and was impressed with the unit’s clarity.

An opinion borne out by this image that Herman managed to snap, taken through one of the prototype display’s lenses.


Note the lack of chromatic aberration, characteristic of most of today’s leading headsets. This is the benefit of a more complex lens array which corrects for aberration on its way to your eye rather than pre-correcting in software after it leaves the imaging device.

Canon's MREAL Mixed Reality Visor
Canon’s MREAL Mixed Reality Visor

This may all seem uncharacteristic for a company most associate exclusively with printers and cameras, but Canon has a long history of imaging technology with a previous immersive example being the MREAL mixed reality headset – which was offered back in 2013 for a cool $125,000.

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  • bji

    We’re on the cusp here. Big companies with epic expertise in lens design and optics are getting into VR. The future looks so bright!

    The only downside is that we’re now back to the equivalent of computers in the 1990s. Every year the new model will be so much better than last year’s model that we’ll be on a never-ending hardware cycle like back in the days of the Pentium MMX. I can’t wait to buy my first consumer VR headset but I just know that it will be quickly outclassed by better gear every year and have a very short useful lifespan. That’s the cost of progress I guess!

    • brandon9271

      I completely agree. What an exciting time! I actually think products will be outclasses before they ever get released. It’s already happened. VR tech is advancing so fast


    Don’t wait. The Oculus is brilliant fun. As I type this message from sitting on a cloud looking down at the world.