Bespectacled Gear VR owners know the drill: smash into the headset for as long as your temples and poor nose can stand, and hope that you’re not crushing or scratching anything in the process. VR Lens Lab, a German-based crowdfunding project, wants to change that with their prescription lens holders that pop into the headset and let you go glasses-free.
Using the Gear VR’s focal wheel to adjust the picture is great if you have less than perfect vision. But if you’re like me, and happen to have a different prescription in both eyes and astigmatism, aka ‘lumpy eyeball’, there’s a limit to how comfortable you can truly be in the mobile headset without contacts. You’ll end up over-adjusting for one eye so the other has a decent picture, causing eyestrain—not to mention the picture is never really clear because of how your stupid lumpy eyeballs happen to focus light.
VR Lens Lab is a project created by Peter ‘Pit’ Marx, an optometrist by trade, but more recently an owner of several eyewear stores and his own lens laboratory, Gauss Eyewear. Joining Marx is Jay Uhdinger, a software developer and founder of VR Cover, a company that produces a range of hygienic covers for VR headsets. The duo have come together to provide Gear VR-owners with an alternative to wearing glasses or contact lenses while in the headset, which correct for astigmatism, myopia (nearsightedness), and hyperopia (farsightedness).
The lens housing itself is made of a semi-flexible rubber that is designed to snugly fit in place—one of those non-permanent add-ons that you can pop on and off as you need. Concerned about the final fit, I asked Jay Uhdinger about how they’ll sit inside the headset.
“You won’t bump against them, because luckily HMD manufacturer leave space for regular glasses,” Uhdinger explained. “Our adapters use [the space inside the headset] more efficiently and just stand out 3.5 mm.”
To be clear, the project is not providing prescription lenses directly through the campaign, which is kind of a let down. They do however allow you to get the lenses through your local optician, or buy a lenses directly from Gauss after the campaign has ended. Gauss Eyewear, itself a product of Kickstarter success, provide a coating that is scratch-resistant, super hydrophobic and anti-static. They can also add an anti-reflective ‘Bluegaurd’ coating that cuts down on blue light that comes from monitors and smartphone screens.
Disclosure: VR Cover founder Jay Uhdinger is part of the VR Lens Lab Kickstarter. Last year I received a VR Cover for review on my personal blog.