Sony appears to be finally experimenting with augmented reality and virtual reality on their HMD line. The company has traditionally marketed their HMZ-T1 and HMZ-T2 head mounted displays as a “personal 3D viewer” rather than anything to do with VR or AR. At the famous Tokyo Game Show, which starts on the 20th of this month, Sony will be presenting to a limited audience a head mounted display prototype that incorporates head tracking and pass-through video for augmented reality.

The unit is based on Sony’s recently launched HMZ-T2, the company is referring to it as the “Prototype-SR”. As seen in the video below, they’ve mounted a 3-axis gyro to the unit and apparently had room in the bulbous front portion for a fairly large camera. The camera will be used as a means for pass-through augmented reality, meaning that you’ll be able to see outside of the HMD by looking through the camera; augmented information can then be overlaid onto the video before being displayed to you.

With the right algorithms Sony could have scrapped the gyro completely and gone for optical head tracking using the camera.

Sony will be showing the HMZ-T2 Prototype-SR to a limited group of people at TGS. From what I gather the company ran a raffle to give out tickets to experience the prototype. Sony appears to have worked with the Riken Brain Science Institute to develop an interactive experience that will be shown to winners of the raffle.

This all seems to have been done in promotion of the HMZ-T2 rather than development of an actual product. I’m working with translations here, but a press release that I dug up seems to pretty clearly state “there is no marketing plan” for the HMZ-T2 Prototype-SR. Hopefully we’ll hear later this month from those who get their hand on the experience.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."