Oculus Rift, Your Competition Has Arrived (And Will Cost $US500)

Oculus Rift, Your Competition Has Arrived (And Will Cost $US500)

First revealed with a slightly terrifying set of prototype specs, Avegant's "Virtual Retinal Display" now has a snappier title, a retail design and some release details.

The virtual reality glasses are planned to go on sale in 2014, with a price of $US499. Avegant will be running a Kickstarter early next year, with potential discounts available to early backers.

Now known as "Glyph", the unit is positioned as a general multimedia device, one you could kick back and watch TV and movies (including 3D movies) on as well as use for gaming. It includes a VR display unit on the front, as well as headphones; as you can see in the image, the display pops up, sci-fi style, if all you want to do is listen to something.

The comparisons with Oculus Rift are to be expected, but there are a few key differences between the two. For starters, Glyph's display technology is a little fancier. Instead of simply placing two small LCD screens really close to your eyes, Glyph uses a low-powered LED, optics and a micromirror array to essentially beam the image straight onto your eyeballs (rather than have your eyes be watching a screen).

Avegant claims this eliminates one of the bigger problems facing Oculus Rift - eye strain from extended use - but we'll have to try that ourselves to be sure.

Oculus Rift, Your Competition Has Arrived (And Will Cost $US500)

It also works a little differently with gaming. Oculus Rift is, at least for now, heavily slanted towards the PC. I asked Avegant's Chief Executive Officer Edward Tang how Glyph will work with video games. Drivers, motion support, that sort of thing.

"As we are focused on making sure it works with as much content as possible, we've designed our built-in wireless headtracker to map to a standard mouse control" he told me. "This has allowed us to play virtually any game that uses the mouse to control the camera, which is a lot of games."

"We've also been able to replicate the joystick function on a standard PS3/Xbox controller - allowing us to do demos on these consoles. For example, we have been showing people a demo on the new Call of Duty Ghosts on the PS3. This is a game that isn't designed for headtracking nor Virtual Reality, but the effect is amazing and adds a whole new level of immersion to an existing game."

Because of this, they claim that the headset will work on all kinds of platforms. Even phones, if the game has controller support.

Glyph will make its debut at CES in January.


    Why force people to use sh!tty looking headphones with this?

    Audiophiles will not be happy.

      Since when does appearance equal quality of sound? If that were true, Beats would be the greatest sounding headphones in the world.

      And audiophiles aren't the target market here. In any case, most audiophiles run screaming from the room as soon as you start talking about headphones, at least in my experience.

        Audiophlies make up a part of the target market the the way Beats headphones look is tell tale sign for audiophiles that the quality of the drivers them self won't be so great. With These though you can tell they're crap due to the cheap plastic and earpads, if they had put some effort into sound quality they would have at least bit a bit more Into that. Also for the price+the display high quality audio is completely out of the price range.

        Valhala has a point, here - at the very least that they will want the sound drivers in those headphones to be top quality as well as providing a very comfortable experience. I have yet to find a set of well built headphones made by a computer peripherals company which has the build quality, sound quality and comfort of the sorts of headphones built by specialists. Bass in speakers turns wet & high frequencies turn crackly within a year of purchase & consistent usage & when you've paid $500 for a set of VR goggles in a situation where you can't swap the headphones out for a better/unbroken pair - these will turn into a $500 undesirable reality.

      it depends. maybe they will be decent specd. I hope they do a true 5.1 model. I have true 5.1 headphones (it really has that many speakers) and its awesome. hopefully they will be good

    Wow this looks cool. I think occulus rift's motion control is a little more... I hate to say "realistic"... Immersive? But the ability to be almost immediately compatible with so many games is a huge plus for the glyph (I'm also at half mast over the led/mirror tech)

    Both names are badass though.

    It seems problematic that when you aren't using it that you put the eyepieces on your head... I foresee more time cleaning the thing than using it

    With my greasy hair I would be constantly having to clean the lenses.

      Or you could just... you know, wash your hair (properly). :p

        heh heh. True. But rub yr sunglasses in your hair for 5 minutes, then see how clear the view is.

        But I am a grub.

          I don't own any sunglasses. :)

      Maybe they'll come with complimentary bottle of shampoo or maybe at least an oleophobic coating.

    I do think the occulus guys should work with Sony and get it working with the PS4. Even if not 3D, the immersion of being able to look over your shoulder in driving games etc. would be fantastic.

    Not to sound like a Rift fanboy or anything, but this looks kinda rubbish. Firstly that thing doesn't look like it'll stay on your head at all once you pull the visor down over your eyes, especially once you start moving your head around with any kind of vigorous movement at all. Then claiming the Rift gives you eye strain? There's no more eye strain from staring at the Rift's screen than staring at a monitor. Colour me curious about this LED/micromirror display though. Right now it's making me think Virtual Boy. Also the whole mapping to mouse movements thing sounds a bit off. And that bit about wireless headtracking... but there's a wire in the picture? Ok.

      If you look at the 'video mode' one, there just seems to be a strap on the back and no wire. My guess is that the wire's just for the headphones.

    I hope I can try before I buy one of these things........the last thing I want is to spend $500 on a machine that lets me play for 5 minutes then makes me throw up........Maybe the Occulus and this one could have sort of a "so we made you vomit on your carpet" seven day returns policy??

      That is a great idea, but only if it is named exactly that.

    So, lets compile all the ways in which this has clearly been created by a designer, and not anyone with any understanding of engineering....

    - Headphone mode => Grime/oil from your hair all over the eyepieces
    - Video mode.... how in the world is that supposed to stay on your head in that position?
    - http://i.imgur.com/GqxUtuC.jpg

    This could work. The oculus rift has taken the pc master race route and made fun of consoles. So if these guys could strike a deal with MS or Sony could be a nice alternative to people who want VR on consoles + pc.

      Oculus Rift is, at least for now, heavily slanted towards the PC

      i fail to see the problem here

    The fact that the headtracker is mapped to your mouse or stick tells me that this thing is going to be garbage. I also don't like the built in headphones.

    I laugh at these comments, clearly none of this was thought out with the inclusion of an engineer at all through the design process. This is purely a designer at work, all play no functionality.

    Also people need to realise that the PS4 and Xbox One will not support VR, the X1 may have the possibility to in the future due to their offloading server compute power. However the current performance of the consoles wont handle the work required for the 3D VR, heck you still need a decent pc to use 3D.

    EDIT: Also eye strain from using the Oculus? I've played over 5 hours in one sitting with the Oculus and no eye strain and I hate watching 3D movies as they give me headaches unless using active glasses.

    Last edited 19/12/13 3:25 pm

    Hey mr Plonker this thing has nothing on oculus. .New prototype has below 20 ms which will not force brain into burp mode...While Glyph with its follow mouse control is pretty much gonna be burp-fest. Cheerio

    Oculus Rift uses optics between you eyes and the screen - you do not look directly into the screen.

    The level of engineering going into the Rift makes it a cut above anything that a copycat jumping on the bandwagon can come up with.

    When we see companies actually putting real R&D into VR tech, then the Oculus will have some actual competition. And not many companies can boast Carmack as engineering lead!

    I don't think physics works like they think it works.

    So it beams the image straight into my eyes? What happens if I look left? Cant beam into my eyes now.
    At least with the Rift I can look around and not keep my eyes fixed forward.

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