2018-08-16 15:26
by Mathias Wochnig

Field report: StarVR One

At the Siggraph 2018 conference in Vancouver I had the opportunity to test the new StarVR One headset. Their booth was designed to promote a product launch of this size: There was a lounge located in between the demo stations where you could watch a video about the product features, waiting for your demo to start. In front of the lounge there was a reception to register for one of the many demos. The actual demos took place in closed rooms and were permanently booked out. You could choose between demos of Unreal, Zerolight, Autodesk and others. I decided to take a look at new car models.

We where able to see their booth from our booth and passed by

For tracking a Steam Lighthouse system was used in my case, the controllers were from HTC. StarVR incorporates Steam's photosensors directly in the housing, giving it a similar appearance as the Vive headset. For the professional sector there is another housing design which supports optical tracking via infrared LEDs. Thus, tracking systems such as the ART system can be used with the headset.

The glasses fit very well on the head, the weight seems extremely light and the locking mechanism is similar to the Vive Pro - very well thought-out. The visual quality is really overwhelming - the extremely wide field of view (130° vertical and 210° horizontal) means that black edges are no longer visible and complete immersion is achieved. However, the representation of white is still slightly blurred, which is definitely not due to the resolution. The resolution is bombastic compared to conventional glasses. I suspect it is >5k. The actual resolution is not mentioned to the testers, instead only a subpixel resolution of 16 million subpixels at a frequency of 90Hz is officially announced. All I can say is: absolutely sufficient!

The high frame rate is achieved thanks to a special technical finesse. Tobii eyetracking is built into the glasses, which constantly detects which area of the field of view is focused. Only in the field of view the headset renders the high resolution image. I tried to trick the eyetracking but wasn’t successful. A further advantage of eye tracking is noticeable when putting on the glasses: To get the lenses in front of your eyes correctly, you don't adjust your glasses and the interpupillary distance anymore. Instead there is an automated calibration process to align a horizontal and a vertical line.

Unfortunately, the price has not yet been announced yet. It’ll be released in November when the official sales launch starts, but due to the built-in eyetracking and the larger displays I would expect a significantly higher price than the HTC Vive Pro (1,249.- EUR). All in all, a very exciting product, which I can recommend to every enterprise customer.

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