Move over salad crafting robot, Panasonic’s new virtual reality glasses equipped with High Dynamic Range support (a world first) take the cake for the most badass thing we’ve seen come out of CES 2020. These steampunk inspired goggles were unveiled to the world at this year’s CES. Their impressive specifications, stylish aesthetic and focus on comfort have been garnering the attention of both the VR community and mainstream press.
Foregoing the bulkier builds of today’s virtual reality headsets, Panasonic’s glasses lightly rest on the faces of users. This eliminates straps and the bulky encompassing display box that many find uncomfortable. Unfortunately, this renders the device limited to 3 Degrees of Freedom.
You can look around virtual environments, but there is no tracking to touch and interact with the rendered world. Panasonic’s headset is designed around the impending 5G revolution and the new digital interactions the improved communication system will bring. Virtual reality services expected to takeoff include immersive sporting events and virtual travel experiences. Currently, the glasses are powered by a wired connection to a powerful computer for processing which relays the experience.
4Gamer describes the headset as comfortable and lightweight in their hands-on preview of the technology. While the writer noted that playing virtual reality games on the glasses felt “out of place”, 360 degree video content felt natural and immersive. One thing that struck me while reading this hands-on article was that the reviewer did not notice a screen-door effect and praised both rich textures and colors.
This is made possible due to the headset’s micro OLED panel, with a whopping 2560 x 2560 pixel per eye count and 120 Hz refresh rate. This blows away the current 1440 x 1600 pixel per eye standard set by today’s most popular HMDs including Valve’s new Index. With HDR activated, the tester found the details of simulated brightness and surface reflections to be even clearer.
Representatives have stated that Panasonic’s VR glasses are currently just a prototype. This downsizing initiative is exciting as I believe one of the many barriers to virtual reality’s mainstream appeal is the isolating and font-heavy headsets. If users can simply put a light pair of glasses on their face, worries about discomfort, eye damage and hygiene should be greatly alleviated.