3 Things to Consider When Designing VR Devices

Aug 30th, 2017

Do you want to fly a plane, drive a race car or dodge flying bricks? You can do all of these, at any time, with a virtual reality (VR) system. The realism of the scene is incredible, but it takes a lot of design and engineering work to get that totally immersive look and feel. And beyond the complex electronics and coding, the fit of the headset on the user is critical to the experience.

Anthrotech offers services to VR headset makers to improve the fit of those products, which, in turn, enhances user experience. We have identified three things companies designing VR products must consider early in the design process. We also indicate the ways Anthrotech can help overcome design obstacles and ensure the successful fit of these devices.

1. Companies want to sell their products globally.

Head size and shape varies substantially across the world, and the VR headset market is a global one. Headset designers need to consider the differences in head size and shape, for example, between Asian and western (U.S.) populations. Thanks to our vast research on head shapes around the world, we have data that pinpoints key head shape differences that would impact design. These differences are key to understanding the type and amount of adjustability that must be included in the successful design.

2. Understanding the eye’s location in relation to the rest of the head is critical to the successful function of VR headsets.

Extreme precision must be used to ensure the location of the optics is lined up correctly with the eye. If that alignment is not in exactly the right spot, the user’s view will be distorted or worse, ruining the experience.

At Anthrotech, we have over 1,500 head scans where eye location is precisely known. The successful use of this data depends on the alignment of scans prior to analysis. For example, if you align scans on the center of the pupil, you can get a distribution of forehead shapes, which may inform the design of the head piece itself. If you instead align the scans on the bridge of the nose, you’ll get a different distribution of forehead shapes, as well as a distribution of eye centers. It’s important that we understand exactly how the product will be worn to provide the most appropriate data analysis for our customers.

Depending on the device being designed, some companies may also need to consider the location and shape of the ear in relation to the rest of the head.

3. Comfort is absolutely critical.

VR devices are often being worn by gamers for hours at a time. Because of this, comfort is essential to the success of the product. In order to ensure comfort over an extended period, we can conduct fit tests over long durations to adequately assess comfort and discomfort levels. From those tests, we can provide specific feedback about what needs to be changed to fix any problems.

Just because VR projects can be complex, doesn’t mean we shy away from them. In fact, our deep understanding of head and face size and shape makes us uniquely suited to carry out this work. We find it exciting to help our clients get past thorny design dilemmas and create designs that are beautiful, functional and fit a wide market comfortably.

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