Image: SadleyitsBradley / Screenshot on Youtube
Sharp is showcasing a particularly lightweight prototype VR headset demonstrating its latest VR technology at CES 2023.
Sharp’s prototype VR headset is designed to showcase the company’s VR technologies in a single device. Sharp says the prototype weighs only 175 gramsresult of “Sharp’s expertise in component miniaturization, accumulated over the years in the development of smartphones”.
Sharp claims the low weight is achieved by using an “ultra-lightweight VR display” with 2K resolution per eye at 120Hz in combination with in-house developed pancake lenses. For the visually impaired, diopter correction is attached to the lenses, similar to HTC’s Vive XR Elite. There is no hardware IPD setting.
Compact despite a lot of technology
Despite the light and compact body, Sharp has integrated an RGB color camera module and two black and white tracking cameras for hand and room tracking. Sharp doesn’t explicitly mention room tracking in the press release, but it stands to reason that the image from black-and-white cameras could also be used for this purpose. According to the Japanese VR Panora website, the headset supports 6DOF tracking.
The RGB color camera module is equipped with a polymer lens to “ultra-fast autofocus.” Focus is controlled by the thickness of the polymer lens. According to Sharp, this type of focusing is “much faster” than conventional cameras. XR hardware analyst Bradley Lynch is also impressed with the camera’s fast focus and compactness (see video below).
The RGB camera can display color images of the environment on the headset screens and can supposedly photogrammetrically capture objects and bring them into VR space as a 3D model. It’s unclear from Sharp’s announcement and coverage so far whether this feature is only planned or already working.
SHARP: CES 🙂
— SKY ちゃん 🔛 CES2023 (@ikkou) January 6, 2023
At CES 2023, Sharp’s Aquos R7 Android smartphone acts as a content source via USB-C. The loudspeakers are integrated into the temples of the helmet.
Sharp itself is unlikely to release this – or any – VR headset. Instead, the company is likely to introduce the integrated technologies, namely the RGB polymer lens camera, the slim LC display and its pancake lenses, to position itself as a supplier for vendors such as Meta, HTC or Pico.