Video game development company Valve Corporation has unveiled an updated version of a virtual reality (VR) headset that the company has reportedly been developing for several years. Perhaps taking a cue from Microsoft choosing to begin making its own tablet computers after becoming frustrated with the pace of development of hardware platforms for its software, Valve has been investing in VR headset technology which it could either market itself, or license to other more established companies already in the field, most notably Oculus (which was recently purchased by Facebook.)
Valve demoed its headset at the latest Boston VR Bender meetup, which was apparently invitation only. Fortunately, several of those in attendance blogged about what they saw. The headset, they report has white spots all over it that are there to assist with tracking—a separate camera is pointed at the headset (and the wearer)—data from it is fed to the computer. One blogger reported that the arrangement allowed for a very high level of immersion—so much so that he felt dizzy and a little odd after taking the headset off. Inside the headset are two screens that together offer 2160 x 1280 resolution. Oddly, attendees report that the bottom portion inside the screen is left unused. But that doesn't seem to matter as most who were allowed to don the headset and take it for a spin reported tracking and frame-rates that were very impressive—a feature most believe is necessary for reducing the nausea reported by game players that has been hindering adoption of VR headsets.
Attendees also report that Valve is apparently aiming for more than just the gaming market, as software running on the headset allowed for achieving a virtual reality presence—wearers were able to observe a game being played (for Dota 2) and to bend down to get a better look at the action. That suggests a wide variety of applications from corporate to military.
Valve isn't disclosing its plans for its headset, but by demoing what they've developed, they have broadcast loud and clear that the company is not content to sit around and wait for others in the field to take VR headsets to the next level, and hopefully in the process, open a whole new market for game developers.
Explore further: Virtual reality, goggles and all, attempts return