In short: HTC may be planning a new VR headset with multiple adjustable straps that use a geared rotating mechanism in order to provide users with a more firm and comfortable fit, according to a patent recently published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). In total, there appear to be at least three places that could be tweaked and the mechanism functions in a similar fashion to a more standard slider. Gears on the inside of that apparatus would ensure the straps stay in position instead of jostling lose over time and with movement. The adjustments can be made where the strap assembly, comprised of two separate straps, meets the lens housing. Both of the straps are adjustable and the whole assembly is rotatable to ensure that users can get a perfect fit regardless of head shape or size.
Background: For each of the current HTC VIVE-branded VR headsets, adjusting the straps requires a bit of work since they're based on a more traditional buckle design. The more recent Pro variation does fix things to a degree by limiting the number of straps compared to the two found at either the left or right-hand side on the VIVE or VIVE Focus. However, that strap runs along the top and adjustments require users to turn a knob at the back of their head before and after tightening things back down once the strap is in place. Although getting a good fit isn't impossible by any stretch of the imagination, it isn't exactly easy either and that's what the new HTC patent appears to be looking to solve. The above-mentioned gear mechanism is located in a sliding portion of the headset strap at the back of the device and tweaking that for a looser or tighter fit is accomplished by turning a partially exposed external knob instead of pulling at straps. The slider on the sides, to the contrary, is encased as part of the main housing and mostly seems to ensure a snug fit on the user's face.
Impact: While not entirely revolutionary, the design seems to be very efficient in comparison to the head straps on modern VR headsets. With that said, there may also be problems with this design since this type of mechanism would ordinarily have set limitations to how adjustable it actually is compared to a fabric or textile buckle strap. It's not immediately clear how or whether HTC managed to overcome those either so it remains to be seen whether this patent will ever show up on a consumer-ready VIVE product.