ViveNchill is a new bolt-on cooling system comprising two angled fans that the creators claim will banish foggy, sweaty headset issues for good.

Unsavoury headline aside, the folks at RedRotor (a company previously specialising in drone components and accessories) have turned their hand to a problem which in truth still doesn’t have a universal solution – sweaty VR face syndrome.

Their prototype product, which the company plans to bring to Kickstarter soon, is called ViveNchill and is a neat, if surprising solution which the company claim is born from extensive testing and the need to meet a strict set of criteria. The brief was to come up with a cheap, quiet and lightweight headset mounted system which was easy to operate and yet delivered effective cooling, dealing with heat buildup inside the HTC Vive while under heavy use or just a quick bout of summer VR.

The surprise? ViveNchill doesn’t opt for the most obvious approach of piping (or extracting) air from the headset itself, it instead uses dual tilting fans mounted atop the face interface, angling down towards the user’s forehead. The fans are powered from the Vive’s top-mounted USB port (which sits in the recessed area underneath the breakaway top section, near the other ports). It also includes a neat, accessible on/off switch mounted over the top head strap.

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“We experimented with countless fan types and build iteration after iteration of prototypes that focus on piping air into the headset,” says Tony Tran, co-designer of ViveNchill, “It didn’t take long to realise that most user experience problems with dry eyes, high noise levels and low air flow. In the end, we discovered that dissipating the heat generated across the forehead provided a much more substantial benefit than forcing air into the headset itself.”

An interesting solution indeed and one, if I’m honest, I’m a tad sceptical of without having the benefit of trying it out. Cooling is only delivered to the top of the head, which sounds ineffective on the face of it (sorry). That said, assisting with heat dissipation across areas of blood flow around the area does make some sense to me, and if it does work, this could be a real game changer for those living in warmer climates or those VR user who like to exert themselves while immersed. We’ve been offered a review unit, so will try to see for ourselves if this is effective and let you know.

RedRotor are aiming for a low retail price of $25-32 for ViveNchill, with the fans specced to run at less than 23db, a level you won’t ever notice once immersed. At that price point, it may be worth a punt regardless. To that end, we’ll let you know when the Kickstarter goes live.

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  • NooYawker

    I wonder how much weight the Vive would be if all peripherals were strapped on.

    • Adrian Meredith

      over 9000!!!

      • Sam Illingworth

        newtons?

    • Flikr

      Whatever the peripherals weigh, you also have to add a USB hub to connect them all :^)

    • Raphael

      Not too heavy for me. I don’t vomit in vr and i don’t get tired.

    • Lucidfeuer

      I don’t know about the price, but for the size I’d say like strapping a steampunk fridge on your head

    • Tadd Seiff

      There’s a strap-on peripheral? neat…

  • ummm…

    n-word please! he is young and trying to be an entrepeneur, likely. great. but this is getting ridiculous! lol.

    • Daniel Gochez

      I could have sworn I have seen USB fans somewhere for really cheap..

      • Rex Thorne

        I put a usb fan on my headset for a while. It did help keep me cool. Vibration was a problem, and I smacked the fan with a controller, so I ditched it.

  • dmbfk

    Hope GetSchwifty! comments because I need to set my watch and his comment should be due any second now.

  • Tyler Soward

    Or you could just set up an oscillating fan to cover your play space…

  • Tyler Soward

    pretty sure these are all compatible with both Oculus and Vive

    https://www.walmart.com/c/kp/oscillating-fans

  • Zack Podany

    Actually the solution I used when all we had was the Oculus Dev kit was a ceiling mounted fan (a desk fan installed in a modified hanging ceiling tile) blowing down at the top of my head. I expect this works fairly well based on my experience.

    • RFC_VR

      we had industrial strength air conditioning at our premises, turned it down maximum cold for horror experiences:- try playing Abbot’s Book demo or The Bellows demo in a cold environment where you are nearly shivering, really ramps up the immersion

  • Tommel

    Wait, I have one for all the Oculus-hater here (and it’s really funny, believe me). It goes like this:

    “Why would an Oculus-user need something like this? They don’t even have room-scaling and they only use an Xbox controller while sitting on a chair. THey cannot even turn around! So if it’s too hot, they can simply PLAY IN THEIR FRIDGE!” In a FRIDGE. HAHA. Imagine this. Hilarious!

  • Raphael

    In spite of all the useless troll comments I think it’s a good idea. Intended price is reasonable. Compact design.

    • Caven

      I wonder if the flexible thermal haptic sheets from another article would work better, since they could be integrated into the padding and can be more directly controlled for cooling purposes.

    • Mable Sharkfin

      Troll comments? Are you seriously even looking at the same product as everyone else??

      • Raphael

        Bosch vacuum cleaner?

  • superdonkey

    tetsuo bodyhammer wore a vive

  • Lucidfeuer

    As ridiculous as the idea is, it’s pretty well conceived. But all this tells about is yet another shortcoming and problem of the current VR headsets.

  • Cement Head

    Another issue is if hair gets caught in the fans. Perhaps having a small thin screen would fix this problem?

    • Tadd Seiff

      Agree about the hair, I had that concern myself. I’m a dude with long hair so I think about that stuff.

      And the stock Vive strap is soooooo effortless to take on and off…

      It’s not like room-scale VR is physically demanding or anything, not like you are moving your head back and forth quickly, flinging hair all over the place, not like you are ducking and spinning and the like…what could possibly go wrong with spinning blades inches from your head?

      • Caven

        For what it’s worth, they featured a model with long hair in the video, and the video claims the fans incorporate an auto-stop system as an anti-jam feature.

        • Tadd Seiff

          good info, but I usually don’t actually investigate things when I’m trolling…

  • Tadd Seiff

    1) Don’t get your hair caught – ladies?
    2) Don’t pinch your fingers handling the headset
    3) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0d99a24de1271657addc1488139b29df3440ed7e9fad0cae0ac184668e8850c9.jpg

  • I do not think this solves the real problem. The fan blows air on your head not on the area where the real issue is… I.e., where the goggles meet your face. You can get what this does simply by having a fan over head blowing down towards the play area on to you. You can have that right now simply for the cost of a plug in box fan.

  • 25$ can be a fair price if it is actually useful. To me just cooling the forehead using those little fans do not seem that useful, but I’ll wait for your review… because actually this is a problem of VR.

  • Peter Hansen

    What a bunch of crap.

    The massive wind in the video (0:55) can NEVER come from those tiny fans.

    • yag

      IKR, are Vive owners so gullible ?

      • Peter Hansen

        I am trying to figure out whether your comment was sarcastic or not. Anyways, what does wind on the head do good against sweating on the face/in the HMD?

    • Dylan Gilman

      Wow. Obviously it’s not that powerful. The dude is holding a leaf blower. It was meant to be a marketing joke.

  • Michigan Jay Sunde

    This is a brilliant idea and I want one!! Please launch your kickstarter soes I can give you my money. My only fear is – what other peripherals want access to that coveted single-bonus-USB slot? Will eye-trackers, face-trackers, wireless kits or the next-gen Leap Motion all be vying for that same single USB slot? Will I be faced w/a terrible decision? :/ Just thinking out loud. Nerdy thoughts that normal people will not share. This is maximally dope.

    • AngryBadger

      oh crap… good point. dang. lol

    • Mable Sharkfin

      The on board USB slot doesn’t have even nearly enough bandwidth for the Leap motion alone for starters…

  • Mable Sharkfin

    Fail 1) doesnt prevent fogging or sweat.
    Fail 2) don’t expect any fan being thrown around off axis while spinning to last very long
    Fail 3) using kickstarter.

  • Mable Sharkfin

    My solution consists of 2 x high velocity 20″ fans one in each corner of room scale – it just suffices to prevent sweat. Fog is prevented by keeping the lenses on your forehead for a couple of minutes before play to bring them up to non-condensing temperature. Adding a 250g weight to the back strap of the vive also significantly reduces the perceived weight by balancing the display perfectly on the face.