Lenovo Windows Holographic HMD
Lenovo has introduced a prototype version of its first virtual reality headset. The announcement was made at the Consumer Electronics Show 2017 in Las Vegas. The prototype is a tethered PC headset that is powered by Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality platform. The announcement signals Lenovo’s entry into the VR market. During the unveiling of the prototype precious little was revealed about the new VR headset which is still being developed.
Lenovo’s new headset seems to be heavily inspired by PlayStation VR. Moving away from the head strap design used by Rift and Vive, Lenovo has adopted a simple ring/crown with a hinge design to hold the display unit in front of the user’s eyes. The crown or ring rests on the forehead; the sponge padding at the front end increases the comfort level and holds the headset in place. The rear end of the ring sits low on the back of the head.
An adjustable knob on the ring ensures the device rests firmly on the users regardless of the head size. The main part of the VR headset is attached to the ring by way of a hinge. Lenovo’s headset’s simple design reduces pressure on the nose and cheeks. It’s also easily removable.
The exact weight of the prototype that was shown at CES 2017 is not known, but Lenovo says the end product when it’s released might weigh around 350 grams. If they succeed, the Lenovo VR headset would be a lot lighter than HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
At CES 2017, a non-functioning prototype of the Lenovo VR headset was shown to the audience. The product is still being developed, but Lenovo used the event to put forward its plans for the future. Lenovo revealed the headset will be fitted with 1440x1440-pixel OLED display with higher resolution than HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
At this point, Lenovo is revealing very little. The tech company isn’t sure of the list of features the finished product would contain. From the prototype, we can guess that the device won’t have the built-in headphones feature. It’s still unclear whether the headset would have an integrated microphone array as recommended by Microsoft. We get to understand this from the audio jack provided in the headset. The tethered VR headset is connected to the PC through two short wires: an HDMI connector and a USB connector.
During the event, Lenovo’s representative had hinted the use of Xbox One Controller as the standard input device for the HMD gadget. Lenovo has made it very clear that they are not currently working on a new controller for the headset. The functional VR headset will have Xbox One Controller or any controller that works on Windows Mixed Reality Specifications.
Position tracking in this headset is done by the two cameras on the front of the main unit of the Lenovo VR headset. These forward facing cameras use the inside-out sensors to deliver the six-degree motion tracking. The six-degree of freedom feature places the yet-to-be-released Lenovo VR headset in the high-end gadget category. Now, there is no need to prep the room where the virtual reality device would be used.
Lenovo pleasantly surprised the audience by revealing its intention to cap the cost of the VR headset under $400. The final list of features and specifications are not clear yet, so it would be difficult to predict the exact cost of a working Lenovo VR headset. Lenovo has revealed that the team is doing their best to keep the cost close to the $300 mark.
Lenovo’s presentation during CES this year and Microsoft’s announcement about a new line of virtual reality headsets during the Windows event in October last year has certainly aroused great interest among tech enthusiasts. To stop the rumor mill from spreading unverified information about Lenovo Windows Mixed Reality HMD it’s necessary to inform the people of the questions that Lenovo hasn’t answered yet. The company is yet to clarify on the type of lens to be used in the headset. Furthermore, no information about the field of view or refresh rate is available.
Lenovo Windows Mixed Reality HMD will be a merged reality device that uses inside-out technology to track objects in the surrounding three-dimensional spaces, but there is no information about the type of sensors to be used.
Cost and Release Date
It would be very interesting to see what the final cost of the virtual reality set (HMD headset and PC) would be. The news going around about the new virtual reality set to be developed by Lenovo is that the team has been asked to keep the cost of the whole package under $1000. What this means is the PC that comes with the headset will cost around $600 and Lenovo HMD VR headset would be around $300 to $400. Lenovo is planning to ship the functional version of its headset before the year comes to a close.