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The Unusual HalfDive VR Headset Launches Kickstarter Campaign

Virtual reality (VR) is all about immersion and a key component of that is physical freedom, being able to move around a tracked playspace however you wish. But that’s not always possible depending on physical space, disability or simply you just don’t want to get out of bed. Enter Japanese startup Diver-X which has just launched a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for its rather unusual headset, the HalfDive.

What makes the HalfDive rather different from other VR devices is that it’s been completely designed around use whilst laying down, hence why it’s perfect for in-bed VR gaming. The brainchild of Diver-X co-founders Yamato Sakoda and Kei Asano, HalfDive draws inspiration from anime like Sword Art Online, where users “dive” into virtual experiences. Sakoda originally started out developing a brain-computer interface (BCI) device but realising the obstacles that stood in the way pivoted towards far more accessible technology.

HalfDive has features you’d expect from a VR headset, a nice 134° field of view, manual IPD adjustment; an LCD display with a 2,880 × 1,600 resolution, four speakers and a 90Hz refresh rate. After that things begin to differ thanks to the whole base-station setup. So rather than clamping to your face HalfDive mechanically moves into position over a users face, meaning there’s no pressure so it should be very comfortable to use. It also features force and wind feedback, a system you usually only find in hyper-reality location-based systems. Most importantly, Diver-X says HalfDive is compatible with SteamVR thanks to OpenVR integration.

Control scheme wise, currently shown are a pair of cabled cuffs to which you can attach trackers such as HalfDive’s or HTC’s own Vive Tracker to. Whilst that puts your hand into VR there’s doesn’t seem to be an input method for walking or other interactions. The company has previously teased a physical controller but there’s no mention of that in the Kickstarter.

When it comes to backing this rather bizarre idea there are two models available. The Minimum Model comes in at an Early Bird price of $750 USD which includes HaldDive, hand “controllers” and a HalfDive Tracker. Whilst the more expensive Basic Model at $1050 adds the Force & Wind Feedback module. Looking to raise ¥20,000,000 Yen (around $176,000) is well over the halfway mark at ¥14 million, indicating significant interest in this device.

How feasible HalfDive will be to play most SteamVR titles remains to be seen. Watching movies or more passive meditation apps will likely be its forte as rotational movement shown in the campaign still looks fairly clunky. If the Kickstarter goes well Diver-X estimates HalfDive will start shipping in August 2022.

Halfdive Specification

  • Display
    • Resolution – 2,880 × 1,600 LCD (1,440 × 1,600 per eye)
    • Refresh rate – 90Hz
  • Optics
    • Lens – 10-element aspheric lenses
    • Field of View (FoV) – 134° (estimated)
    • IPD range – 58-84 mm
    • Tracking
      • HalfDive tracker, Vive Tracker supported (Tundra Tracker support coming soon)
      • Connections
        • DisplayPort 1.2 / USB3.0 / 3.5mm audio jack / 12V power source / I2C (module connection),
        • Audio 
          • 4 in-built speaker and microphone
          • System Requirment
            • Windows 10 (Linux support coming soon)
            • Dual Core CPU with hyper-threading
            • 8GB RAM
            • Nvidia GeForce GTX970 / AMD RX 480
            • HalfDive’s Kickstarter is due to finish on 30th January 2022. As the campaign progresses VRFocus will keep you updated.

              https://youtube.com/watch?v=dqfVpl44vUU%3Fwmode%3Dtransparent%26rel%3D0%26feature%3Doembed

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