Picture: Space Somnium
Somnium VR1 has been in development for almost two years. The final design will be on display at CES 2023.
A year ago, I wrote an article on the highly experimental VR headset blockchain and NFT-based social virtual reality platform Somnium Space. After the announcement, the device went silent. So far.
Ahead of CES, the Czech company unveiled stunning new renderings of the industrial design and announced a key feature: the Somnium VR1 is a PC-only VR headset with no standalone mode. Visitors to the electronics fair will be able to see the device for themselves in early January. Somnium Space plans to show work development kit which corresponds to the final design.
A helmet for enthusiasts and modders
The company said it is keeping the other two main features, open source character, and modularity. In the announcement on Medium, Somnium Space describes the helmet as follows:
“Somnium VR1 is an open-source, high-end PCVR headset with high-resolution displays, special non-Fresnel custom crystal-clear lenses, eye-tracking, hand-tracking, high-resolution cameras, and a modular design allowing users to change, to add or modify many parts of the headset.In addition, Somnium Space will provide access to the majority of sensors allowing advanced users to create personalized virtual and mixed reality applications.
The company cites the following Features:
- Display: 2 x 3.2″ 2880×2880 fast LCD. 120° horizontal field of view, 100° vertical field of view.
- Passthrough cameras: 2 x 3.864 x 2.192, 90 FPS (foveal transport), FOV 120° x 100°.
- Ultraleap Hand Tracker
- Tailor-made eye tracking
- 6th WiFi
- Wireless PC VR Streaming
- Native wired PC mode (lossless)
- Native support for Steam VR and OpenXR
- 3x 10Gbps USB-C for external accessories (USB 3.2 Gen2)
- High quality built-in stereo microphones
- Headphone jack
- Tailor-made headband with in-ear headphones included
- 3 customizable and 3D printable modular anchor points
The Somnium space plans to present two modules at CES: a mixed reality module and a Wi-Fi 6 module for PC VR streaming. They will be demonstrated using a XTAL helmet from the Czech technology partner VRginiers for instance.
The lenses are custom pancake lentilsthe company wrote on Twitter. Custom VR controllers will not be sold at launch. However, you can use any type of Lighthouse compatible controller.
Standalone version coming later
The device is “aimed at enthusiasts, who want to fully own their VR hardware and those who like to tinker with their hardware and software to get the most out of their experience.”
Somnium Space promises that the new VR headset aims to provide enthusiasts and the whole community with the ability to create their own headset without the restrictions of big companies, and for this reason, the device is built on such an open platform and modular as possible.
Users will be able to download and print 3D drawings of parts and order electronics, sensors and lenses directly from the manufacturer.
A year ago, the Somnium VR1 was announced as a standalone VR headset. “Supply chain constraints and more complex than expected negotiations with major suppliers” delayed the launch. Research and development continues, however. We expect the Somnium VR1 to be released within the next year. The price remains a mystery.