Currently, there are many companies investing in technologies that make virtual reality possible. Google Cardboard has been making this kind of technology more accessible and with new apps like the brand new Cardboard Camera, they are encouraging users to create their own content. YouTube has also gained support for VR videos recently, so we could see more content in this format soon. Various manufacturers of mobile products like Samsung and HTC have been developing their own VR headsets, and a new patent suggests that Sony might be developing a new headset, not to be confused with the PlayStation VR, which seems to include very interesting features to make the experience as immersive as it can get.
Sony submitted the patent on May 14, 2015, for a product described as a “head mounted display system having an interface with a mobile computer device for rendering virtual reality content”, plus it seems it will be designed to work with a smartphone or a smart mobile device of some kind. The device could possibly have two variants with different designs, one that looks like a high-tech eye visor and other that resembles a more traditional pair of glasses. In either case, the device will be housing some electronic components and sensors and the chunkier version seems to integrate a battery. In addition to working with a smartphone, the headset could also work with more external equipment like sensors to track movement or positioning, just like the HTC Vive, and the smartphone camera would be used to scan objects in a room to prevent users from crashing with them. It would also be able to blend real-life objects with the ones created artificially. This could also be integrated with the Playstation using a bunch of LED lights in front of the device, and it’s possible that it could include cloud integration as well as a multiplayer feature.
Regarding 3D imagery, it seems that the headset will feature a similar technology to the one found on TVs with active 3D glasses, as it would alternate images between both eyes at very high rates to create the sensation of depth in a smooth way. This technology needs at least a 120 Hz refresh rate and currently, there’s no smartphone screen that supports this, but Sony mentioned that the Xperia Z5 “is capable of offering the clearest, sharpest Virtual Reality platform” and that they are working internally to bring this kind of technology, so perhaps the screens of those devices meet that requirement. The patents might not end up being used, but in the invitation for their conference at CES, the image included a VR headset, so maybe we will see some announcement related to this technology.