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Tag Archives: Head Mounted Display

In the last Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2011), Sony showcased a number of 3D viewing technologies including TVs and a Head Mounted Display (HMD) prototype.  I don’t know about you guys, but my first HMD looked like this:

Virtual Boy

Yes, I was one of those lucky kids who got to play with a Nintendo Virtual Boy.  And you know what?  I had fun playing games like Mario Clash and Nester’s Funky Bowling in magnificent red 3D visuals.  I’m not sure if the VB might have contributed to my myopia, but I like to believe it only provided me a good time and maybe a slight neck ache from the weird angle I had to be at to play.

In any case, Virtual Boy wasn’t the only HMD I got to put on my noggin.  As one of the senior research programmers for Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, I had the opportunity to develop 3D simulations that were seen through an nVisor SX60:

nVisor SX60

Creating a real-time immersive experience requires technical chops, finesse, and consideration to your users and subjects; running these simulations with precision point tracking can be even more taxing on your hardware as each frame must be updated at least 60 times per second in order to avoid motion sickness.  Tack in the several thick cables required to transmit all that data from your rendering machines to each screen for your eyes, and you’ve got quite some intricacies to manage.

How does this all tie in with today’s subject,  Sony’s new HMZ-T1?

Sony HMZ-T1 Personal 3D Viewer

Well, Sony highlights this new device as a “personal  3D viewer,” which basically means watching your shows and movies in 3D and in private.  This application is fine for your shy media watcher, but gamers and like-minded individuals are hoping Sony will fit future iterations of the HMZ-T1 with precision tracking, ultimately transforming the HMZT1 into a machine of magic – one that can create compelling immersive virtual environments that enhance gaming experiences.

There are some cautions about the current HMZ-T1 to be noted though.  Anyone who has used similar devices will recall the potential to contract motion sickness from ill-adjusted use.  Furthermore, Sony warns that children under 15 should not use the Personal 3D Viewer – possibly due to unforeseen effects on development?  Fortunately a can of ginger ale can alleviate the motion sickness symptoms.

The HMZ-T1 scheduled to debut commercially November 11 in Japan at a price tag of about $780 USD.  Sony promises Americans can get their hands on the device for $800 USD sometime November this year.  Sounds like a hefty sum to pay for a personal TV, but if the HMZ-T1 can be used to as a precision tracking HMD, the price may very well be worth the rainy day savings when compared to $25k$37k higher end competitors’ offers.

For detailed specs about Sony’s HMZ-T1 Personal 3D Viewer, as well as the ability to preorder your own, please visit Sony’s website here.