Fully operational cantilever HMD

CantileverThis is the HMD I showed at the VanVR April event.  It is a fully operational display that incorporates the following design improvements:

– Clear plastic construction: This seemingly trivial improvement actually has some strong benefits for wearing headsets in complex environments, say a home setting with pets, children and other moving obstacles.  By being able to retain your peripheral vision you are able to anchor yourself in the real world while enjoying a virtual world in your central field of view.  I received many positive comments from “long time” Oculus wearers on this approach and only one tester commented that they prefered the blackout experience out of the twenty or so who tried it out.

– Adjustable Interpupilary Distance: By mounting the lenses in 3d printed nylon (Taulman Bridge) clasps and constructing a lateral box frame with a slot that  a pull tab can fit through I was able to provide the ability to physically adjust the interpupilary distance between lenses by simply pulling or pushing the tabs on either side of the helmet.  Although the physical system worked reasonably well, the feedback for users (including myself) to know when the adjustment was correct was missing.  I was however able to allow one gentleman with a particularly narrow IPD the ability to see a convincing VR experience without optical distortion for the first time, as this is not currently a feature of the standard Oculus Rift DK1.  This single event made the effort in adding this adjustment completely worthwhile for me.

– No face touching:  The design incorporates a front back head clamp design that uses an elastic strap and static friction to hold the head mount firmly to the head while the whole weight of the HMD is supported by the top strap (not shown in picture).  This provided sufficient rigidity to completely remove the need for a nose bridge or cheek pads which are typically used to prevent axial sway as the head is turned rapidly.

The headset design however does have several drawbacks:

– The head clamp system was only comfortable for a subset of head shape/sizes and was incapable of working on a childs head.

– The headset design did not allow the user to wear a pair of over the ear headphones.

Overall a very succesful iteration and the feedback from the people and VanVR has provided lots of good fuel for future improvements.

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