Thus far, the most popular VR (virtual reality) headsets are the Oculus VR (now owned by Facebook), Sony’s Project Morpheus, Microsoft’s HoloLens and HTC’s Vive headset in collaboration with Steam. Thr newest entrant to the VR arena comes from Fove. Named after “fovea,” which is the part of the human eye that gives the vision to carry out tasks such as reading, and playing video games, Fove is launching a crowdfunding campaign via Kickstarter, with a target of $250,000USD.
Fove makes use of infrared light to illuminate your eye, regardless of what color your eyes may be. The iris of a human eye reflects the same amount of light always. Miniscule cameras look at your eye and track your eye movements.
Unlike the Oculus and Morpheus, Fove’s eye-tracking tech can refabricate the DOF (depth of field) that human eyes see naturally. Before you ask, Fove’s headset sports a 2560×1440 display and has a graphics engine that adjusts focus based on where a user looks (in real time too).
These cameras are paired with an accelerometer for head tracking, thus allowing for 360-degree view whilst maintaining control with their eyes.
This isn’t new though. Sony’s Magic Lab R&D team unveiled an external infrared camera that lets gamers scan the environment and lock on to targets, by simply looking at them. German tech firm SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI), designed a similar device that acts as an add-on for the Oculus. The downside to this is that not only that you have to send in your Oculus Rift to fit the add-on. But it costs a whopping $14,850USD. Compare that to the Oculus which is only $350USD.
Not to be outdone, Razer recently announced OSVR (Open-Source Virtual Reality), their own take on a V headset. As the title suggests, the platform is open-source and developers to cut and chop at it as they please.
Fove’s view is optimistic. As long as Oculus isn’t actually innovating its own hardware, the field remains open for development. It also has potential to go beyond gaming. For example, it can be used as a medial heads-up unit for surgeons performing delicate surgeries.
For now, the company is focused on its kickstarter campaign. The Earliest Bird level starts at $349USD and is limited to limited to 200 backers. It is also compatible with game engines such as Unity, Unreal, and Cryengine. This makes it very easy for them to port existing content to the device’s ecosystem. Those backing the campaign also get access to the Wear VR app store.