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VR Interfaces: Icuiti VR920

Overview

Overview of Icuiti VR920

In early 2005, Icuiti corporation produced the V920. The first commercially released HMD/HUD hybrid. Weighing just five ounces all told, the v920 used a liquid crystal display strip embedded in a narrow tube that can be worn directly or perched on top of a pair of glasses. It incorporated a set of high-quality, detachable headphones to add sound to the experience.

At the time, Icuiti were adamant they were not going to take the design any further - this was a new hybrid, for a new market - video eyewear.

Now, in early 2007, it seems they have changed their minds, and greatly modified the v920 into three new models, each one an advancement over the original: The VR920, AV920 and DV920.

 

The VR920, as can be deemed from the name, is designed specifically for virtual reality and high-end gaming applications. This is the one market Icuiti had previously stated they would not return to, so its existence is mildly humorous. There is nothing humorous about the specs themselves however.

The twin display units are LCD based, flatscreens, each capable of showing a slightly differing image to the wearer - the same as normal vision. There is, for the first time in an Icuiti, a gyroscope system embedded within the casing. This has just three degrees of freedom - monitoring head movement in the X, Y, and Z directions, and cannot handle pitch, yaw and roll manoeuvres correctly. This results in the situation where you turn your head, and the display does not tilt, simply tracks, which can result in nausea.

The display itself, will handle HD-quality images (640x480) if connected to a TV, or, if hooked to a computer, will max out at 1024x768. However, it achieves this, by scaling back from 24 bit true colour, to meet the requirements of the larger resolution.

It only has a paltry 32 degree field of view for each eye, which is a distinct problem, as the ntural eye can see almost 90 degrees, so you are wiping out 2/3rds of your vision, including all peripheral. This is fine for watching film and TV, but for full immersion systems, it is a bit of a problem.

The system does make up for it's shortcomings somewhat, with the weight of 3 ounces - you will scarcely feel you are wearing it.

Cost: $399.95.
The VR920 will debut in April 2007.


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