You could soon put your face in a book thanks to e-ink VR headsets


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At CES 2023, a start-up will present the first “VR headset” with e-ink screens. What does the virtual reading world of the e-reader headset look like?

VR expert Brad Lynch tested a new type of VR headset at this year’s CES. The headset uses “e-ink” screens, familiar from e-readers such as Amazon’s Kindle. Electronic ink is not enough to enable real virtual reality. The headset is intended for comfortable and immersive e-book reading without having to hold a device in your hand.

The start-up wants to make reading more comfortable

The startup behind the “Sol Reader” e-reader headset is funded in part by a co-founder of Anduril, the company co-founded by defense contractor Palmer Luckey after leaving Oculus. With the face reader, Sol wants to make reading more comfortable.

Users will be able to browse elongated e-books without having to hold an e-reader. A small puck-shaped controller lets you turn pages with just a flick of the button.

Headset for e-reader with pancake lenses

The Sol Reader is equipped with two e-ink screens (explanation) viewed through pancake lenses. Users adjust the lenses to their own eyes via a slider with the expected diopter settings.

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The Sol Reader charges via USB-C. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are also on board. The headset weighs less than a quarter pound and should last around 30 hours. This would make the e-ink headset as durable as current portable e-readers. By comparison, the new Kindle Scribe with its 10.2-inch screen and weighing just under a pound lasts around 40 hours before needing a recharge.

Brad Lynch: The resolution needs to be improved

Virtual reality expert Brad Lynch, who recently reported on the planned development of the Meta Quest 3, tried out the Sol Reader at CES 2023. Lynch describes the view through the lenses, “like a book floating above of me in a dark room”.

The headset arms are a bit short, but the design is convincing when lying down. The helmet is pleasantly light and hardly presses on the face. Lynch sees room for improvement in the resolution of e-ink displays. It’s not good enough now, but the manufacturer suggests improvements before public release. The Sol Reader remains in development with no release date.

The approximate price of the e-ink headset is out and high for a “only” device capable of reading e-books. The startup wants to charge around $350 for the e-reading glasses. “Normal” e-readers are already available for less than a third of that.

Sources: Sadly, It’s Bradly (YouTube), SolReader


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