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Providing the avenue by which users can ‘escape’ reality, virtual reality (VR) provides the means to complete tasks, gain new experiences and preview new environments otherwise unachievable due to cost, safety, or physical capability in real life. But what of the overall style of the headset which allows users to achieve this escapism? A study from the User Experience Strategies (UXS) service at Strategy Analytics, “UXS Technology Planning Report: Virtual Reality”, surveying the needs, behaviours and expectations of future VR users, has found that the two most desirable design trends for future VR headsets are for them to be wireless and modular.
Current VR systems available are either mobile device- or PC/console-based. Mobile device based VR headsets offer an easy low-cost option, but performance is inferior to PC/Console based VR headsets. Battery consumption and device heating also restrict its use. In comparison, PC/console based VR provides greater processing power, and is highly modular with the addition of accessories. However, the high cost to build up a PC/console-based system, in addition to its lengthier set up, non-portability and wired connections, does limit its usability and consequently consumer uptake.
Mathew Alton, Research Analyst and report author commented, “There is a third option for VR headsets – standalone systems – and these would provide a solution to these issues. While not yet commercially available, being wireless, offering potentially greater performance than mobile based solutions and being quick to set up, many of the compromises made through PC/Console based VR would be minimised.”
Continued Alton, “However, its cost, the weight of the headset (due to built-in chips and display) and battery life, are the major limitations to this solution at this time.”
Chris Schreiner, Director of Syndicated Research, UXIP added, “Modularity is the key to an immersive experience. OEMs also need to consider accessories that enhance processing capabilities, provide haptic feedback and simulate a walking experience, while at the same time allowing users to maintain spatial awareness of their surroundings.”