The Exynos VR III: Samsung’s Secret VR Headset

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VR and AR have indeed been making great strides in how we perceive our reality. One purveyor of this was Samsung. They actually coupled their Gear VR headset with their lineup of Flagship Galaxy smartphones. Now things are getting juicer.

Visual Camp, a VR eye-tracking company let loose a barrage of information about a standalone VR headset that Samsung actually showcased at this year’s MWC (Mobile World Congress) in March. Standalone VR headsets are a new entrant to the VR and AR playing field as they do not require a smartphone, PC or cables to operate. Called the “Exynos VR III,” to set itself apart from the Exynos VR II which presumably came before it, the headset is powered by a 10nm SoC with Mali G71 graphics. This is quite similar to the configuration seen on Samsung’s Exynos 9 Series chips. As per the chip specifications, it will be able to power dual WQHD+ displays (2560 x 1440 or slightly more) at 90Hz, or one 4K display at 75Hz.

Samsung Exynos VR III
The Exynos VR III

What makes this headset stand out is the fact that it has gaze tracking apart from hand tracking and facial expression recognition. However, whether or not it has inside-out motion tracking is yet to be seen (literally) but it looks like the Exynos VR III headset has sufficient sensors to make it happen. Eye tracking is a vital element for both AR and VR. When applied, the resolution of the part of the display screen being viewed by the user’s eyes at any given time is sharpened, while the resolution for all other parts is reduced. This is called foveated rendering. It’s almost like when you take a photo and you select one area and the rest of it is blurred out. This is essentially gaze tracking.

Samsung Exynos VR IIIJudging by the size and design of the headset, it seems fair to assume that this is just a prototype or demo unit. In fact, we actually haven’t seen any news or details about the so called Exynos VR II before so we actually might not see an official announcement from Samsung about the Exynos VR III either. We shouldn’t lose hope though. If everything works out, we may see a number of standalone VR headsets from different manufacturers. Whether we can afford said headsets remains to be seen, but it’s indeed an exciting time to be alive.

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