Virtual reality (VR) developer GameFace Labs recently announced its latest creation – a prototype of a hybrid headset designed to support multiple VR platforms, including SteamVR, Oculus, and Google’s Daydream. The current prototype is referred to as the EP1 and it’s a standalone headset powered by its own external battery said to offer up to eight hours of use on a single charge.
Spec-wise, the experimental head-mounted display (HMD) features two 90Hz custom display panels manufactured by Samsung, offering a resolution of 2560 by 1440 pixels and a field of view of 120 degrees. The prototype unit is powered by an unspecified NVIDIA Tegra system-on-chip (SoC), presumably the NVIDIA Tegra X1 featuring four ARM Cortex-A57 CPU cores along with an additional ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core processor. The headset is powered by Android, however, it can be used in conjunction with the SteamVR platform when connected to a PC, and interestingly enough, it comes with built-in support for Lighthouse tracking, as well as 3D-tracking and hand-tracking powered by Intel RealSense and Leap Motion technologies. In practice, this combination of sensors and capabilities allows GameFace Labs’ VR headset to tap into three different VR ecosystems and seems like a good step toward combatting fragmentation in the VR market, which has become a more evident issue as more companies and startups have hopped on the VR bandwagon over the past couple of years. Of course, there are numerous companies like the Khronos Group that are currently trying to standardize VR and AR technologies, but GameFace Labs’ EP1 headset is primarily designed for developers who need to create VR content on multiple platforms and isn’t primarily intended for consumer use.
As of now, developers can reserve one of two variants of the EP1 headset, namely the GF-DD which only offers support for the Daydream platform, and the GF-LD which includes support for Lighthouse positional tracking. The former carries a price tag of $500, whereas the latter costs around $700. Keep in mind that those prices are not necessarily set in stone and may change by the time the first production model will be ready for the market. Developers who may want to register for a dev kit can head down to the official GameFace Labs website linked below and apply for early access.