Sony is building its own mobile VR headset to rival the Gear VR. That's according to a patent application from Sony for a head mounted virtual reality device that connects to smartphones.
The patent request includes two different styles of headsets. One is a goggle-like device, similar to Samsung's Gear VR headset, and the other is a simple pair of glasses with a holder for a smartphone.
Essential reading: Everything you need to know about PlayStation VR
Both are designed to include accelerometers and gyroscopes, an on-board processor, on-board memory, and more. The patent also describes an action to set the shutter control logic to switch between left and right eye viewing.
The process, dubbed active shutter 3D, is similar to what 3D TV displays use to trick the eyes into thinking they are seeing objects in three-dimensions. And this could be Sony's secret weapon, bringing its TV and smartphone display expertise into a high quality, mobile VR headset designed for its flagship Xperia Z5.
Of course that does make it less likely that Sony would build a headset that works with all smartphones, a bit of a shame.
The mobile VR headset is also set to use positional tracking techniques that use LEDs and "a plurality of photo diodes" to determine where objects are in the room.
One version describes a separate device, which could be placed above a TV, that sends out signals throughout the room while the headset reads the data and identifies where the person is in relation to objects in the room. This is exactly how Valve's Lighthouse room-scale tracking works so it's interesting to see Sony's looking to use it for a mobile VR device.
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This mystery Sony headset might be designed to use the smartphone's camera for a "see-through-mode," which allows the user to switch between virtual reality and a real-world view. One possible addition would be to send alerts to the user when he or she is in danger of walking into something. The notification could be sent to the user and they could quickly switch to see-through-mode to check their real-world surroundings.
Sony's PlayStation Experience event takes place on 5 and 6 December so we could see more details about PlayStation VR's price and release date or even this Sony mobile VR headset.
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