Japanese startup Diver-X launched a Kickstarter for a unique VR headset called HalfDive that was designed to be used while laying down, drawing some pretty clear inspiration from hit anime Sword Art Online. Although the unique project managed to secure enough cash to be considered fully funded, the team has decided to cancel the Kickstarter, citing scaling issues which ultimately stem from its niche appeal.

Diver-X announced that it’s pulling the plug on HalfDive, announcing that all backers would not be charged for funds collected.

The company mentions three major concerns, which essentially boil down to its niche appeal, inability to reduce costs by producing major components in-house, and resultant cash flow issues due to scalability issues. You can read the full text in the company’s blog post.

“We were faced with the brutal reality that no matter how optimized and multifunctional our device may be for use in sleeping-posture, it is only a replacement of existing VR devices and not yet an interface that brings innovative experiences,” Diver-X says.

Despite the setback, the company maintains it’s still dedicated to developing “full dive” tech which emphasizes in-bed VR immersion. The original article announcing the campaign’s start follows below:

HalfDive has just surpassed its funding goal, amassing around $178,000 from 177 backers. All available funding tiers are still available at the time of this writing, with the most popular tier, the early bird Basic Model, having nearly sold out at $1050.

Diver-X hasn’t published stretch goals yet, however we’ll be following the project as it finishes out the remained of its 40 days until the campaign comes to an end on January 30th, 2022. The original article detailing the Kickstarter follows below:

Original Article (December 16th, 2021): HalfDive isn’t a brain-computer interface like SAO’s NerveGearhowever it does promise to let users play SteamVR games like VRChat and experience some pretty interesting object interaction via its tethered force feedback solution too.

The Kickstarter launched today, and is asking for ¥20,000,000 or around $176,000 USD. At the time of this writing, the project has already garnered over $70,000, putting it around one-third of the way there.

Diver-X is offering two distinctive models through the Kickstarter, what it calls a ‘HalfDive Minimum Model’ (starting at $750) and ‘HalfDive Basic Model’ (starting at $1,050).

The minimum model includes the headset and base, a pair of HalfDive controllers, and a proprietary head tracker. The basic model includes that, plus the force feedback module and a pair of wind feedback modules (re: fans) for both greater immersion and cooling.

Image courtesy Diver-X

The company previously said it would be providing a more expensive version with variable focus lenses, however the creators say the variant is too difficult to mass produce. There won’t be a stretch goal for vari-focal lenses either, something Diver-X says they’ve decided as to better focus on development and production.

Controllers haven’t been revealed yet either. The creators are ostensibly still working on its promised foot-worn ankle controllers and the Vive Index-style hand controllers, which it teased in previous marketing material. Its force feedback cuffs appear to provide a place to attach Vive Trackers at least. The company says its working to integrate support for Tundra Trackers as well.

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As for functionality: unlike standard VR headsets, which require you to strap them to your head for optimal fit and image clarity, HalfDive is more of a passive experience that seems to cradle your head rather than tightly affix it in place. Diver-X CEO Yamato Sakoda adjusts himself into a prone position and slips on two hand-worn cuffs that are tethered with retractable wires to force feedback modules in the base of the unit.

Diver-X says its design primarily allows users to operate in VR without any pressure on the head, and as a result covers 99% of all human head sizes.

As you’d imagine, a user laying on the ground has a different expected range of motion is than someone using a VR headset in either sitting or standing positions. The headset’s range of motion was previously described by Diver-X as 4.5 degrees of freedom (DOF), further calling it “virtual 6DOF”. We can see what that means functionally in the video of the 3D printed third prototype below as he adjusts the visor down into the optimal viewing position and angles it left and right, also called ‘yaw’.

What the gif doesn’t show is it can also apparently pitch up and down (relative to the user’s point of view) to a lesser degree. Still, that action looks pretty stiff, and even with the promise of a smoother injection molded body, looking around will decidedly require more effort than with a standard VR headset in either seated or standing position.

Construction of the mold for mass production is said to take place in February 2022, with completion estimated for May. Shipping is said to arrive sometime in Summer 2022; Kickstarter funding tiers are marked as releasing in August 2022.

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It’s an innovative design for sure, however HalfDive is probably not for everyone. Playing VR games whilst laying down—but positioned in the VR world as if you’re standing up—may cause discomfort in some users depending on the amount of movement required in the game. Vection, or the motion that’s implied by movement in your visual field, can lead to discomfort if artificial motion and your body’s expectation of that motion don’t match up well enough.

That’s essentially why room-scale games without any type of artificial locomotion are usually the most comfortable to play, while games that toss around your point-of-view with topsy-turvy game geometry, or include heavy expectation of frenetic movement, are often the least comfortable among the bunch.

Granted, HalfDive looks pretty ideal for watching Netflix in the void theater, and maybe even hanging out in VRChat for a chill virtual face-to-face that doesn’t require too much virtual locomotion. We’re looking forward to seeing more as the headset exits its third prototype phase and heads closer to mass production in early Summer 2022. Again, you can check out the Kickstarter here.


  • Display – 2,880 × 1,600 LCD at 90Hz (1,440 × 1,600 per eye)
  • Optics – 10-element aspheric lens array
  • FOV – estimated 134°
  • Adjustable IPD – 58-84 mm range
  • I/O – Located in headset base: DisplayPort 1.2 / USB3.0 / 3.5mm audio jack / 12V power source / I2C (module connection),
  • Tracking – HalfDive tracker, Vive tracker supported (Tundra Tracker support coming soon),
  • Audio – built-in 4-spear array, microphone
  • Supported OS – Windows 10 (Linux support coming soon)
  • Minimum PC specs – Dual Core CPU with hyper-threading, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX970 / AMD RX 480

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Cless

    I don’t think its an insane price for an experimental product like this one… Just don’t expect a normal experience or a very functional one…

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    • ViRGiN

      I would say don’t expect the product at all. They give themselves 7 months for producing and delivering everything, they will get the funds right before chinese new year starts where the factories are closed for like a week.

      • Shhhhh!
        Don’t confuse him with painful reality!
        Let him have his pipedreams. lol

        • Cless

          I’m not paying for that no matter what, I’m happy with my current headset lol

          But hey, if they get to come something interesting out of it, then good for everyone I guess. Most likely won’t be on time if it ever comes, but again, that’s what experimenting is about, whoever pays for this expecting a proper finalized product… UFFF

        • NL_VR

          Both of you should get offline then think of how to behave online.
          Geez, how old are you?
          ViRGiN & CaryMGVR

          • Jistuce

            One of them is caustic enough to be on my two-man block list. The other is almost comical in their infantile fangasming.

            Neither of them brings anything of value to any discussion.

          • ViRGiN

            Stop spamming

          • 3872Orcs

            You downvote me, I downvote you.

          • guest

            Sometimes they come up with something new worth hearing. There’s so many people like them in the meat-world that it doesn’t bother me online.

        • Keopsys

          stfu Olivier

      • Cless

        Yeah, that is a fair assumption. I would be happy if people get it eventually at least, just so we can test the concept they are playing with and maybe something will come out of it. Again, not likely, but you never know lol
        And of course like you probably know about me, I’m oled (or microled) obsessed, so… a pass for me from the start hahaha

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    From the Kickstarter video:

    Half-Dive is not just a VR device, but a super-computer interface that has the potential to exceed the boundaries of physical laws to create a complete VR interface.

    Someone took a big gulp of the Kool-Aid. All the SAO and BCI references are obviously just marketing fluff, and the idea of using tracked hand controller while lying on your back has obviously never been user tested for more than the five minutes it takes for your arms to get really sore when trying this. But I am a big fan of experimentation, so I welcome this somewhat bizarre VR HMD designed for a target group that doesn’t include me.

    It is probably not surprising that this comes from Japan, where sleeping on flat futons with rather hard pillows filled with buckwheat is normal, making this HMD look just like a somewhat pimped up version of a regular Japanese bedroom accessory. Virtual cinema is probably what most of these will be used for, and there is definitely a market for bed compatible HMDs. The Oculus Go was used for 80% media consumption and only 20% VR games. And lot of Oculus Go owners weren’t really interested in the Quest 1, because the stiff headstrap presses against the back of the head when laying down while watching movies. This one will not even press against your face, so if your main use for VR is watching Netflix in bed and you don’t mind spending the money, it might actually be a great product for you.

    And you can even game like that, I’ve spend several hours in 3DoF Skyrim VR, streaming to a Go with Virtual Desktop using a Xbox controller just to try it out. It is of course not the same as playing it in room scale VR with handtracking. But if you can play Resident Evil 7 sitting on a sofa with a PS4 controller, then you can play similar games while lying down , turning your head in a strange plastic halo while fans blow artificial wind into your face. I’m sure there are already Skyrim mods that allow controlling the fans. Just be aware that playing VR while lying in bed comes with an increased risk of falling asleep and then waking up just to see a frost troll or a frostbite spider attacking you, before you have a chance to realize where you are.

    • ViRGiN

      “Oculus Go usage was 80% media consumption and only 20% VR games.”
      Wow, what a surprise! Obviously it’s not for gaming, and the basics shits they had available with 3dof controller or gamepad interested noone.

      Please stop creating imaginary markets. “there is market for people who want XYZ”. people always try to justify their interests. where are the headsets with black and white screens for people who can’t see in color? where are headsets for people who lost sight in one eye? there must be a market for that.

      this will likely never release. they will have successfull campaign, and deliver nothing.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        Please stop creating imaginary markets. “there is market for people who want XYZ”.

        Rule 34

        • FrankB

          Surely the quest can be used lying down with the fabric strap.

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      • Oh, they’ll deliver something alright ….
        Their five-star South Pacific island resort bill will be fully paid for
        by the imbeciles who buy into this snakeoil …. lol

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  • ViRGiN

    I gotta appreciate not setting the goal crystal-clearly-scammy-low, like arpara which was looking for 50k, and got half a million already with 2 months to go, for a device that is supposedly already sold in asia… kickstarters will never ban those criminals, they never care about anything, they just like the percentage they get.

  • wowgivemeabreak

    This seems so silly and it’s amusing people would back this yet it is what I expect in a world that is normalizing wearing face diapers for eternity because a new flu supposedly exists. Always sad when reality ends up being worse than dystopian movies and novels and that’s the path we are on unless the masses actually wake up.

    • kool

      So you believe in a government corrupt enough to make up a virus to fit their agenda but not corrupt enough to release a real virus which is way easier…

      • Sven Viking

        For it to be completely made up it would need to be all world governments rather than just one.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          That is the premise for pretty much any conspiracy theory. Usually all media and the whole scientific community is also supposedly involved in the deliberate scam. This makes it almost impossible to argue with flat earth believers or CoViD deniers, as they will even interpret being down voted into oblivion just as a sign that this deception of the masses has already worked, and that they are the only ones smart enough to still see through the scheme. Basically disagreeing with them only fortifies their believe that there is a worldwide conspiracy, so they should only trust their own judgement.

        • kool

          Wake up you never heard of the NWO, bro!

    • NL_VR

      Lol foil hat

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  • I mean, we all know that it is for porn, right?

  • 3872Orcs

    Looks like they’ll succeed reaching their Kickstarter goal. I really like this idea. And I know it can work well as this is how I mainly use my Quest 1, it’s very comfortable!

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  • ViRGiN

    The update says $178k from 177 backers, that’s literally making everyone a 1000+$ idiot on average.

    Still cheaper than a sex doll, which is the only and primary unspoken goal here.

  • Cless

    I’m actually happy they cancelled instead of going ahead and fucking it up for everybody. Good for them.

    • NL_VR

      Yes, it probably was for the best.

      • Cless

        Yeah. And if they have the capital to go and continue developing, that’s good for everyone in the long run, since something interesting might come out from it… or maybe not, we can’t never know for sure D:

    • Sven Viking

      Yeah I wish more Kickstarters would figure out in advance when they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. Also, having figured it out, in theory they could have made a feigned attempt while paying themselves large wages in order to effectively embezzle a lot of the money.

    • ViRGiN

      mad respect to these guys, although they did not have to do that at all. every kickscammer always walks out with free cash.

  • Cless

    Apparently, not all scammers are the same. “This ones” cancelled and returned the money because they didn’t see it working. Funny how things go…

    • R3ST4RT

      Thanks, I was just going to say the same. At least they pulled back and refunded people after realizing that their dreams didn’t equate to reality. I give them props in a day and age where they could have just stretched this out and walked away by calling it an attempt.

  • xyzs

    Good. The world didn’t need that crap anyway.

  • brandon9271

    How about just use the Quest with a PILLOW? lol

    • Funny how they could have made the back part an add on…

  • Why didnt they jus create the back part and the software rather than try and make the HMD too? This could have been used w/ any HMD or at least the popular ones. And it would have been future proof.

    That would have been far less costly, far easier to produce. Seems like a huge waste making an HMD jus for this.

    Besides, brain-computer interface is coming to VR anyway cause valve.

  • Niklas Fritzell

    Well, that took a full dive.

  • Erick Wellnitz

    Ever since I watched SAO I had this vision of full dive VR actually coming to life but it seems its taking a while is it due to our lack of motivation or lack of technology but what I can say that its definitely going to become reality and I can say this because think of our technology 10 years ago to now and if you cant see a difference in that then I don’t know like seriously Apple is going to come out with the iPhone 14 and Samsung is going to create a Phone that I cant even begin to imagine but if this full dive VR can actually come soon and have no issues it can help so many people such as people with disabilities because they had to live their lives not doing something they wanted to do but if the full dive would to come out they would get to experience what it feels to do things they never thought they could do and things they cant do.

    The full dive VR can be something that can change the way this generation is heading and possibly the future and as Scott Hayden stated that Despite the setback, the company maintains it’s still dedicated to developing “full dive” tech which emphasizes in-bed VR immersion. I think they have what it takes but don’t rush this project it’s definitely going to take time to make this the best thing that can ever happen to us.

  • going to find kirito

  • Allen Walker

    Full Dive VR

  • Renimon20

    Truthfully I would prefer a VR game cabin to a NervGear. Theoritically it’s a cabin with space for wires and chips and other necessary item built into the cabin so when you put on the VR glasses and lay into the cabin you should be able to receive body scan, impulses and such to successfully immerse yourself into a game….. and maybe also stimulate the brain to smell and fell the touch of game elements