Pimax, the China-based VR headset manufacturer known for their recent record-breaking “8K” VR headset Kickstarter campaign, today announced that backers should expect more delays due to an ongoing lens design issue.

According to the company’s blog, the latest prototype has “fixed all the issues” of the fifth prototype version, although Pimax is still in the process of testing lenses.

Pimax experienced its first major delay at the end of December, which dashed hopes of receiving the consumer headset in January. In recompense, the company promised that they would seed the community with pre-production models, dubbed M1. Last month, the company revealed they would be receiving a shipment of lenses in February, although the new lenses arrived late, pushing M1’s release to April. Now, the company has reported that the lens issue is causing more delays.

Photo by Road to VR

“[W]e have adjusted the lens design three times,” Pimax writes. “Each adjustment requests a new tooling. It costs over $50,000 - $100,000 and a few more weeks for a new tooling each time, but we believe the improvements in visual quality worth the cost.”

The parts vendor has scheduled delivery of the newest lenses for early May, something Pimax says will finally allow them to ship out the first pre-production M1 headsets to a group of hand-selected beta testers. Beta testers, Pimax says, will need to be Kickstarter backers and “[t]rusted community leader, professional reviewer, or both.”

Photo by Road to VR

“The purpose of the M1 closed beta is to learn from testers whether the M1 is good enough to ship. We will have a better estimation of the exact shipping date by then,” the company writes in the latest Kickstarter update.

SEE ALSO
Pimax Completes $15M Series A Funding Round

The final specs on Pimax “8K” VR headset are still somewhat uncertain; the headset hooks into Valve’s license-free SteamVR tracking standard, and boasts a 200-degree field of view and dual 4K panels. The company has said as recent as April 17th that the M1 will definitely have a refresh rate of 80Hz, somewhat below the targeted 85-90Hz as previously mentioned.

While the January shipping schedule was ambitious from the very beginning, Pimax has since taken on nearly $15 million in Series A funding which will give them more runway to further refine the headset and ensure a smoother consumer launch—exactly when that is, we still don’t know. In the meantime, check out our hands-on with Pimax “8K” from CES 2018.

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  • Luke

    Wikipedia say that humans have a slightly over 210-degree forward-facing horizontal arc of their visual field. The vertical range of the visual field in humans is around 150 degrees.

    I hope all CV2 headsets will have those features.

    Which is it the vertical fov of Pimax 8k? thx

    • Lucidfeuer

      Note that the Pimax is a very brute-force approach of FOV, it’s not practical (in terms of costs and pricing) for mainstream headset. The solution might be more around the line of Samsung micro-displays but even then it’s not sure what FOV would be practical to reach (though 150/60° would be a minimum).

      • Luke

        I’m pretty sure it would be a nice upgrade but I really expect more FOV from CV2

        • Manuel Riger

          there not making high fov displays right now. so cv2 will be to 95 % between 110-150 fov more 120.

          • Konchu

            I think it really comes down to the success of this though. If it is a failure I suspect more incremental. But even a partial success will force a more aggressive approach.

          • Luke

            that’s a very bad news

          • Doctor Bambi

            That’s because we’ve essentially reached the physical limits of current optics without significant trade-offs in weight, bulk, or light artifacts. To get past this, we’re going to need an entirely different optical system, or potentially start implementing curved screens which Oculus has actually done some work on.

            https://www.vrfocus.com/2017/12/oculus-file-patent-for-curved-display/

          • Graham J ⭐️

            Exactly. Flat panels aren’t particularly compatible with eyeballs and and plastic lenses can only so far toward accounting for that. Neither smaller/bigger/higher density panels nor different shape/material lenses change that very much.

            That said I’m not sure we’re at the limit yet, but pretty close anyway. Panel densities can go up quite a bit with current optics, for example.

        • Doctor Bambi

          It’ll be interesting to see where we land with gen 2 headsets. A resolution increase is a nice win because it reduces eye strain, improves the 3D effect, and generally increases immersion.

          A FOV increase has some trade-offs that will need to be addressed. A straight forward increase in FOV would decrease the threshold for motion sickness when artificially moving. Users who struggle with motion sickness would get it easier, and some users who previously never had issues would start to show symptoms.

          Hopefully we’ll get past these issues fairly easily with proper comfort features and good design practices because the immersion pay-off would arguably be significantly more impactful than a resolution increase.

          • Bryan Ischo

            Smooth movement even on wide-field-of-view headsets could use the vignetting technique on a per-user customizable basis, so there is nothing about wide field of view that introduces a new problem that doesn’t already have solutions.

          • Doctor Bambi

            You very well could be right, but I don’t think it’s a 100% given at this point in time. FOV reduction may not be as effective at this scale, or even introduce new, unforeseen side effects.

            Just generally speaking, resolution is a more straight forward upgrade. Headset manufacturers will need to tread lightly in bringing higher FOV even if basic conventions still apply. For consumer level focused companies like Oculus and Valve/HTC, releasing a headset that is more prone to motion sickness is probably out of the question.

          • Bryan Ischo

            I agree with that — lenses to take field of view past the current 110, plus unknowns with regards to comfort for a variety of reasons, make field of view upgrades pretty adventurous. I’m glad we at least have someone trying, but if they fail … I only hope it doesn’t discourage future innovation.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        How do you know their approuch is not practical for mainstream headsets? Have you already tried the final prototype?

        • I hope you are right, but with some lens design experience behind me and knowing how incomplete their Pimax 4K product was, I am not surprised they are having trouble. This is not an off the shelf solution and they are not only one’s to tackle this design with failures or varying degrees of success over the past few years (including probably prototypes by Oculus, HTC and Google).

        • Lucidfeuer

          I was talking in cost/components/size. It’s obviously a “brute-force approach”.

  • gothicvillas

    Ok… so its more like 2019 for us “non kicksarter backers”.

    • ZeePee

      Which is interesting because there could be some big competition at that point, like a Rift 2 announcement, or others like LG.

      • Kev

        Heh Oculus is so laughably slow the Rift 2 honestly might not actually happen.

        • NooYawker

          I’m no fan of Oculus but considering they have the backing of a multibillion dollar company is nothing to laugh at. You have more faith in a kickstart campaign than an actual VR company with big financing?

          • Kev

            That makes their failure far worse. With the funding they have, the support they have from many famous developers etc.. one would think Oculus would operate somewhere above the curve. But the eye of the tiger they do not have. They are waay waaaay below the curve being last to release every time and each time in the “safe zone”. Makes me sad really as I had great hopes for them.

          • NooYawker

            What failure? We will find out what they have in store soon. HTC and the Oculus are the first commerical VR systems on the market. Only recently have other companies released cheaper inferior products. Right now they are the two best products out there so I don’t know where you’re getting below the curve from.
            Products not on the market are just that.. not on the market, full of promises. Pimax will be delayed again.. and again. Gen 2 hardware will be released by Oculus, HTC and others and Pimax may or may not be released by then. A kickstarter campaign with a few million bucks will not be able to compete with large companies with 10’s of millions.

  • David Herrington

    “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.”
    – Shigeru Miyamoto (Nintendo Director)

    Replace “game” with “VR system” and you get the point. Sorry Backers, but without VR 2.0 competition, there is no rush for Pimax to come to market. However, this isn’t all bad.

    As Miyamoto alludes, this gives Pimax time to refine their designs on lenses, controllers, and iron out details on add-ons like eye-tracking which may be more important than FOV entirely.

    Google and LG will be revealing the “World’s highest Resolution OLED on-glass display” for VR headsets sometime during Display Week from May 20-25. They have already confirmed that their display will be using eye-tracking which will probably finally put the pressure on Pimax to finalize their M1 design.

    Exciting times for everyone, but the sad thing is we will have to wait a little longer.

    • Graham J ⭐️

      That’s fine if, like Nintendo, you sell your wares when they’re ready. But when you’re Kickstarting you already have people’s money and you told them when to expect their product. Delaying it, even if for improvement, is much worse in that case.

      • Nosfar

        I have to disagree, you understand as a kickstarter that your investing in a company not buying a product, the product us just a bonus based off how much you back. As the virtuix omni taught me patiance is the key lol

        • Foreign Devil

          Buying shares is investing in a company. Kickstarter is paying for the chance to be an early adapter to a new product or short of that just plain being a patron to a charity.

        • Graham J ⭐️

          That’s how Kickstarter frames it, but only so you don’t call it being ripped off when they don’t deliver. (IMO; I’ve been called cynical ;)

          Either way in my world if you say something will be done at a certain time it sucks to be late. It’s only worse if you have skin in the game.

          • Nosfar

            I can understand that. I look at kickstarter as a investment

        • Having been burned several times now by Kickstarter project (namely, Sixense comes to mind) and many others that have made the news, the problem is Kickstarter and Kickstarter project starters are set up to reward you with a tangible product if you back them, even incentives to receive the product early, or extra goodies if you back them early. I never read, “please invest in my research with the remote possibility of getting a viable product.” If we saw more of this, I guarantee you only small percentage would back them. And never do I read, “and as bonus you will get the product assuming you think I have the knowledge and experience to bring it to market. If not here is a t-shirt”

      • Kev

        No it isn’t. You seem to assume that they have the product totally ready for production when they run a Kickstarter… Why in the world would anyone do a Kickstarter if they is 100% certainty and total market readyness? Your thought process is just plain silly.

        • Graham J ⭐️

          That is a non sequitur.

          They do have people’s money and they did tell people when to expect their product, otherwise this would not be called a delay. I think it’s worse to wait longer for something you’ve paid for than not. YMMV.

          I’m curious how you interpreted this to mean the product is ready for production, but not enough to bother reading the answer.

          • Kev

            Like 99% of Kickstarters are delayed and this is somehow shocking or out of the ordinary for you? Each project tries to estimate the best timeline but things go wrong.

            You specifically compared a kickstarter to Nintendo with real product – talk about a non-sequitur…

            Plain fact is Kickstarters are development projects with projected timelines that are almost certain not to be correct. FYI PIMAX last KS was on time and did indeed fall within the 1%.

            This was quite ambitious so no doubt most of us believed it would likely take longer than their most optimistic projection. Engineering time and problem solving are almost impossible to project though so you must be ok with that going in.

          • Graham J ⭐️

            Again with the misinterpretation. I didn’t say it was out of the ordinary or shocking, and my comment was about how the comparison *someone else* made to Nintendo was flawed.

            I know it’s common for Kickstarters to be delayed but that doesn’t counter my position that it sucks more to wait for something you paid for and were told a date for.

          • Bakkster

            I think there’s more mundane issues with the delay. First was that with a 3 month timeline originally, that implied they were far closer than they ended up being. That was red flag #1 for me.

            That their “risks” section specifically listed the lenses as “the Fresnel lens (2nd generation) without any supply issue” is additionally concerning that they’re the cause of the delay.

    • NooYawker

      By the time this 4k+4K “8K” thing hits the market there will be Gen 2 VR products.

      • Kev

        You seem lack understanding about how this works. The two 4k displays largely show different images with a small percentage stereo overlap. To put it into your context imagine two 4k panels seamlessly into the same tv cabinet.

        • NooYawker

          Oh no I understand completely and so do you. You know it’s deceptive to call two 4k screens 8k but you insist on doing so and trying to justify it. 2 4k screens does not equate 8k. PERIOD.

          • Sandy Wich

            Thank god it’s not too. If Pimax was genuine 8k we wouldn’t be able to use these headsets properly for another 5 years, and at extreme expense.

            It’s a misleading marketing gimmick. Vive pro marketed for, “businesses”, LOL. “Nvidia Titan is for scientists”, yet it’s fabricated in gold and looks like a sports car. LOL. I could go on like this for years TBH. But these guys are the first evil. An evil that’s half the price of the vive pro.

            What matters is for a relatively reasonable hardware requirement, we have upscaled 4k per eye that’s giving us no screen door effect and the wide/tall field of view everyone has been asking for for years. And who knows, maybe wireless will work good with some gizmo in the future?

            Until Foveated rendering becomes a real, tangible, purchasable thing, pimax is the ultimate bet for enthusiast VR. PERIOD.

        • Actually, it will never be continous 8K display because you can’t easily remove the case and view the two panels which are physically separated. It should also be noted the vertical resolution is only half that of true 8K panel. Giving you a 32 x 9 ratio, which is not really ideal in viewing any video content that I know of.

          • thinker

            Each side displays nearly the same thing so it’s really a 16 x 9 ratio. Other VR headset are only about 8 x 9 which is awful since you can only watch the video on half of each screen. Since Pimax can show the entire video on the screen it will be 4 times as large.

          • That’s what I get for getting into semantics war.

            However I stand by comment, an ‘8K’ 16:9 is 7680 x 4320 which is not 2, 3840 x 2160 side-by-side. So yes, even though it is true that a single panel, would have 16:9 per eye, this thread was why they continue to use ‘8K’ when in fact we should identify correctly as 3840 x 2160 per eye, or ‘4K’ per eye, as is done with the Oculus, HTC Vive, Samsung Odyssey, and myriad of MSXR headsets. Mainly because you have two distinct display panels, one per eye, but it just makes more sense. I disagreed with Pimax when they touted the 4K model, but at least that truly was a single panel of 3840 x 2160, but that is about the only truth they told when marketing that unit. Since the only way you would actually achieve 4K was at a clock-rate of 30Hz due to the cheaper HDMI-2 to MIPI chip they were using that also happened to have rubbed out silkscreen on top to prevent you from knowing this. However, since I am familiar with several HDMI-MIPI chips, I pretty much knew which one was being used. So again, back the ‘8K’ at your own peril.

  • Perhaps they were too much confident on timing during the Kickstarter campaign

  • Graham J ⭐️

    So putting quotes around Microsoft’s brand name wasn’t bad enough, now you’re doing it to Pimax too?

    • NooYawker

      Well considering “8k” is a bullshit label, it’s fitting to put it in quotes.

      • Graham J ⭐️

        Not liking the name of something isn’t a good reason to use it incorrectly. It’s bad journalism.

        • NooYawker

          It has nothing to do with liking or not. 8k is deceptive, ergo quotes is appropriate.

          • Graham J ⭐️

            That’s not how English works. It’s a proper noun, it should be used as-is.

            Believe it or not English rules are not based on how you count pixels. I guess you put quotes around Apple as well since they don’t sell fruit.

          • NooYawker

            So Pimax 8k is the actual name? And not like a Samsung 4K tv? Either way it’s bullshit and should be quoted. That’s great journalism to let its readers know to take note that the 8k is a lie. A lie postponed yet again.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Nope it’s not a lie..

          • NooYawker

            Well, ok, if you say it’s not a lie how can anyone refute that?

          • Andrew Jakobs

            you could refute it if you had the correct facts, but in this case, they don’t lie by using the 8K name, as the complete horizontal resolution of the headset is 8K.

          • NooYawker

            It’s difficult to speak with someone who says two 4k tv’s side by side is technically 8k.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            see my other answer…. you’re the one who’s got his head up his ass, I’m only telling you what the standard is.. two 4k tv’s side by side IS technically 8k, but not 8k UHD, that requires two 4k UHD tv’s side by side and below each other (so 4 4k UHD tv’s)..

          • Jay Tea

            7680*2160 isn’t a real resolution. Yes, the #K nomenclature refers to horizontal resolution, but it’s used to describe actual resolutions.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            No, it only describes what the horizontal resolution is, not the vertical, that’s specified by an extra adition, in the case of what NooYawker wants “8K” to be is actuall “8K UHD” that’s a specified horizontal and vertical resolution.

          • Jay Tea

            By that logic, an 8192×10 display would be 8K to you. Lol.

            Stop making excuses for companies that don’t care about you.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Technically yep that is 8K.. Get your head of of your ass and learn the difference between technical standards and what you think something means. It’s not by that logic, it’s by technical standards.. It’s the same with say, a 40Mpixels camera, as long as there isn’t a full resolution specified, 40MPixels could also be a resolutions of 40MPixels horizontal and 1 pixel vertical.
            So I don’t need to make excuses for this company, as technically they are right by calling it “8K”. And by your logic, no company cares about you..

          • Kev

            I’ve tried it. It’s actually the best VR visuals I’ve seen by far. I thought it was rough around the edges but it’s a massive improvement.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Nope it’s not..

      • Andrew Jakobs

        again, 8K is not a bullshit label.. We’ve been over this already many times, 8K technically refers to the horizontal resolution, it says nothing about the vertical resolution (it could even be only 1 pixel in height and it’s still technically correct to call it 8K if it has about 8K of horizontal pixels).
        if it said 8K UHD THAN it would say something about the vertical resolution..

        • NooYawker

          So if I put 2 4K TVs side by side I have a 8k tv?

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Well, technically you would have an 8K tv, but NOT an 8K UHD tv, that requires 4 4k UHD tv’s, 2 horizontal and 2 vertical..
            As I said, ‘4k’ and ‘8k’ technically only refer to the horizontal resolution, the addition of ‘UHD’ makes it also say something about the vertical resolution.. Read up on technical resolution specifications.. being ignorant doesn’t make it what you want it to be.

          • NooYawker

            8k=7680×4320. Does Pimax have 7680×4320 resolution? No. So it’s pretty obvious who’s being ignorant here. You cant’ just decide to change industry standards.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            8k UHD = 7680×4320… 8k = 7680 x whatever… You’re the ignorant who is deciding to change industry standards. that’s exactly what I’ve been saying to YOU… it’s “8k UHD” you keep referring to with your definition of “8K”, not real 8K…
            as I have said over and over, “8K” is related to the horizontal resolution and it doesn’t specify what the vertical resolution is, “8k UHD” specifies the horizontal AND vertical resolution..
            So stop being such a moron by telling me who the ignorant person is..

          • NooYawker

            You’re said 2 4K TVs side by side is technically a 8K tv. Thats all anyone needs to know who is the moron in this conservation.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Yep, I said that, and technically I’m right.. Yes, so we know you are the moron here.. You still don’t seem to grasp the technical differences between “4k” / “8k” and “4k UHD” / “8k UHD”.. but go ahead be the ignorant person..

          • NooYawker

            Ok. It’s easy online. Bring that up in any conservation irl. See how people react to you when you tell them 2 4K TVs side by side equals 8k.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            Well they would react normal if I say it the way I said it, with the explanation. If I said it without the explanation, yeah they might react just as stupid is you did even though I explained it to you.

          • NooYawker

            I can tell you have never told anyone in person your idiotic theory. you’ll find out the hard way when people laugh in your face.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            It’s not a theory, it’s a fact.

          • jj

            noo york you are right. If anyone debates that then they’re dumb. 2 4k tvs side by side is NOT 8k. No Andrew you are not “technically right” your technically wrong. just like above 8k wide and 1 pixel tall is not 8k either, i dont care what you say or think its NOT 8k. AND ultra High Definition is NOT the difference between height being equal or not. idk where you’re getting your information from, but in terms of 1k, 2k, 4k, 8k whatever we are speaking in terms of squares, so like nooyork said two 4k tvs is not an 8k. So pimax 8k headset is NOT 8k.

            oh and not to mention how they UPSCALE from 4k to get 8k which isn’t native 8k thats doubling pixels that arent there to begin with.

            its also pretty lame how on their website theyre still saying achieves 90hz refresh even though everyone’s agreeing that it cant.

      • Kev

        It’s 8K wide and 4k tall. The Wiki does indeed show 8k wide x 4k tall can be called 8k.

        • NooYawker

          LOL.. OK!! Two 4K tvs is an 8K tv. Wiki said it’s ok

          • Kev

            Wow. If you really think that’s what this equates to then debating you is pointless. Like talking to a rock.

          • NooYawker

            Ok so 2 4K tv’s can’t be called a 8K tv but 2 4k screens is OK to call 8k. Got it. Yes, there is no point in debating with that logic.

          • Kev

            It’s one of the resolution sets in the official standard – so please go ahead and debate with them.

  • Dreneeps

    Isn’t a refresh rate of less than 90hz a unacceptable? Doesn’t that make you sick? I was under the impression that is 90 Hertz refresh rate wasn’t an optional if you wanted a VR display to not cause some sort of motion sickness?

    Does anybody know?

    • Kev

      Along with the 80hz the pimax has a system called “brainwarp” that doubles the perceived framerate to 160hz. Once more testers get involved we will see how well that works.

      • NooYawker

        Brainwarp? Is that like reprojection? So no, it’s not 160hz, just like it’s not 8k.

        • Weston

          No, Brainwarp offsets the left and right renders by one frame, so you will not increase latency (as the GPU is working this way naturally, doing one screen pass then another screen pass) but will get what has been tested to feel similar to 180hz. The problem is Pimax hasn’t said anything about it in like 6 months. Even though it may work on the headset and for the user doesn’t mean it will work with the GPU drivers.

      • FireAndTheVoid

        I’m an 8k backer and have been following Pimax fairly closely. I have seen no evidence that they have actually made progress on brainwarp or demoed it at any conference. If they get it working, then great. But until it is demoed to multiple VR enthusiasts and it has their seal of approval, IMO it isn’t real. Please let me know if I am wrong and someone has seen brainwarp.

    • victor

      I have a DK2 using 75HZ refresh and have no problems !

      • gothicvillas

        Its like saying I can read book at the candle light 2m from me and I have no problem… when it is clearly A BIG problem

        • victor

          So what are you trying to say? I have special super-power eyes?!
          Trust me I have normal eyes and all my freinds I have let try had no issues either (aside from the usual sde/res/fov). So take my experience with a grain of salt if you wish but dont deter others from trying and finding out for themselves.

          • gothicvillas

            haha sorry :) didnt mean to be rude. I had DK2 and didnt mind it much. But it did give VR legs to most of the folk, even me time to time. But it could be also tracking issue idk. All Im saying with Vive refresh rate it feels different.. easier to eyes. My wife was not able to get used to dk2, she tried hard. after each session she had headaches etc. With Vive no issue at all. We can play Rec Room for hours. As I said it could be tracking more than refresh rate. Trust me, the least I want is to deter people experiencing VR. Anyway, have a nice day :)

    • NooYawker

      VR often dips below 90hz but it’s not ideal. That’s why they use reprojection to fake 90hz. Without it going under 90hz will make most people sick and generally look like crap.

  • rabs

    I’m still sad they didn’t do a SteamVR ~110° HMD with this kind of pixel density.

    Most of their problems wouldn’t have existed, and we would already have a great concurrent for the Vive Pro.

    But well, I hope they’ll succeed even if I’m not client. Would be good for VR market.

    • rabs

      * A great competitor to the Vive Pro.

  • impurekind

    I really hope this delivers on the promise because it’s where VR needs to go.

  • I knew this would one of the problem from the start. The fact they are having to retool so many time makes me wonder why and if their methods are actually working. Fresnel lenses are not known for being sharp and noticed even in my own design with a 2560×1140 panel that the sharpness suffers. Add to the fact the lens is no longer circular due to the elongated display results in more distortion towards the edges, which is also difficult to alleviate in a single lens design.

    However, there is another problem and if it will run at 90Hz. The reasoning, as I was told by two OLED panel manufacturers is due to latency issues of the display process over a certain size. Of course there could be a magic panel, but I don’t think you will ever reach a frame-rate past 75Hz. NOTE: Just read the end of the article and my suspicions are confirmed. I would say back this product with concerns, but it is too late for that. At least you will finally get something (I hope). Many of us never received even a thank you from Sixense. :(

  • anyone knows if the 8k lens will be glass or polymer?

  • Sandy Wich

    Somethin ain’t right about this.. Anyone who uses VR would know within a short amount of time if the lenses were good enough or not.. Is this just to quell the negativity talk once and for all before it’s real launch?.. Or.. Is the lense still not perfect, and they’re sending out test units to see if it bothers people enough that they won’t give it a thumbs up for the masses?… Hmm……

  • Yoshi Kato

    TBH, I’m still optimistic about this headset. If Pimax delivers, it will push the industry to innovate a little more. I’d rather see companies take chances and try to push the envelope rather than become complacent (like HTC).

  • Kenji Fujimori

    Why does this article and every other article in reference to Pimax, should be honest and state it is NOT `8K` which fooled people to fork out money for the lies