OLED microdisplay manufacturer eMagin has announced a new VR headset, a small form factor pair of goggles that boast a 2K×2K display. Sounds interesting? It was to John Carmack.
Dan Cui, eMagin’s VP of Business Development and HMDs, sent out a tweet last Thursday that got the attention of the VR community, evening piquing the interest of Oculus CTO and VR guru John Carmack.
— Dan Cui (@dcuinh) May 14, 2015
Besides the fact that the marketing material makes it look like an add for Nerf straight from 1995, Carmack said the prototype “sounds neat” and that eMagin’s microdisplays “have some advantages (120 hz and no two-frame rise), but I never saw a wide FOV HMD.”
Carmack is likely referencing his 2012 work with the displays, saying that the company’s 1920x1200x2 display set were “completely distortion free across the entire view,” and that he also got the dual 1280×1024 eMagin OLEDs running at 120 hz.
Cui later requested a private talk with Carmack so they could speak more candidly on info about the device.
As for the rest of us, the only known information we have was gleaned through a series of tweets where Cui fielded questions from the community. This is what we know about the VR headset so far:
eMagin Prototype VR Headset Specs
- 2K×2K resolution microdisplays (square shaped)
- 80 degree horizontal and vertical FOV (~100 diagonal)
- ‘flip-up’ design
- adjustable IPD and diopter settings
- electronics integrated into wearable ‘puck’
eMagin primarily produces displays targeting military applications, but also makes a consumer headset, the Z800 3DVisor, an aging SVGA-resolution microdisplay headset (40 degree FOV) still in production since 2005. We’re hoping the new prototype device can refresh eMagin’s consumer offerings, and bring it closer to the low-latency VR we’ve come to expect from Oculus and Valve respectively.
Cui also announced that he would be demoing the prototype (by reservation only) at the SID Expo and at AWE 2015, both in early June. We’ll have our eyes out for reviews, previews, and (hopefully) some better marketing material. Because the garish hype of the 90s is something VR desperately wants to forget.