Sharp Shows a Lightweight VR Headset Prototype
At the ongoing CES 2023, Sharp showcased a prototype of a very lightweight virtual reality headset that has been designed to demonstrate the company’s latest virtual reality technologies in one device.
According to Sharp, the headset prototype weighs only 175 grams. The company attributes this low weight to its “expertise in miniaturization” which it has accumulated over several years of building smartphones.
Sharp said it achieved the low weight through the use of an “ultra-light VR display” that offers 2K resolution per eye at 120Hz in conjunction with pancake lenses that the company developed in-house.
The headset can even be used by people with impaired vision as it is built with diopter correction which is attached to the lenses, just like in HTC’s Vive XR Elite. However, the Sharp headset doesn’t feature a hardware IPD setting.
Super Compact Design
In spite of the fact that it packs lots of technology, the Sharp headset is still very compact and lightweight. Within this small factor is an integrated RGB color camera module as well as two black-and-white tracking cameras for hand tracking and room tracking.
The Sharp press release doesn’t explicitly talk about room tracking but it is highly likely that the image sent from the black and white cameras will be used for this purpose. The Japanese virtual reality website Panora reports that the Sharp headset also supports 6DoF tracking.
SHARPのVR HMDプロトタイプを体験！ 「生活に溶け込む」を目指した軽さと機能【CES 2023】https://t.co/Kbtq3f22di pic.twitter.com/2U0pbbXEMn
— PANORA (@panoravr) January 6, 2023
The headset has an RGB color camera module built with a polymer lens for “ultrafast autofocus.” The thickness of the polymer lens controls the focus. Sharp says that this focus is “much faster” compared to conventional cameras. YouTuber and XR hardware analyst Brad Lynch also says the camera’s fast focus and compactness are impressive.
The Sharp headset’s RGB camera is capable of displaying images from the camera and even capturing objects photogrammetrically and bringing them into virtual reality as 3D models. From the Sharp announcement at CES 2023, it isn’t clear whether this feature is already functional or whether it is just planned.
SHARP さんが CES でお披露目したスマートフォン接続型VR HMDの”“プロトタイプ””を体験してきました:)
にしかわさんが寄稿したレビュー記事が体験のすべてですが、これからどうビジネスに落とし込むか検討していくフェーズとのこと。国産発デバイスには期待したいがさて。#CES2023 Petrus 2, Wynn pic.twitter.com/bvlUGW3Nmc
— HEAVEN ちゃん 🔛 CES2023 (@ikkou) January 6, 2023
During the demonstration at the CES 2023, the Sharp Aquos R7 Android smartphone is seen acting as a content source for the headset via a USB-C. Speakers have been fitted into the arms of the headset.
Sharp is unlikely to launch this headset or any other headset for that matter. The company is, however, keen on showcasing the built-in technologies such as the RGB polymer lens camera, its pancake lenses as well as the thin LC display in a bid to position itself as a reliable supplier of these technologies to the leading vendors in the XR hardware market such as Meta, HTC, and Pico among others.