Sony Unveils 8K VR Headset Prototype

PlayStation VR fans have been hankering for more news regarding Sony Interactive Entertainment’s (SIE) follow-up but this week saw a slightly different virtual reality (VR) unveiling. Sony – no not PlayStation – held a “Technology Day” presentation showcasing a low-latency head-mounted display (HMD) with a new 4K OLED Microdisplay for some dazzling visuals.

The handheld prototype was showcased by Sony R&D engineers Yasuko Ishihara and Kei Kimura, focusing on the new microdisplay which offered a 4K resolution per eye, 8K combined. The resolution is packed into a much smaller display than those currently found on VR headsets, helping to make future devices smaller, lighter and more comfortable. For now, though, the chunky, PC-connected prototype requires users to hold it with both hands.

Sony’s microdisplays also feature new low latency technology for a smoother experience. The R&D team has been working on reducing the processing time down to less than 0.01 seconds by combining data from multiple sensors.

As you can see from the demonstration video the imagery certainly looks sharp, with plenty of detail on the fabric and on the dials. The fact that it’s an OLED panel certainly helps, delivering richer blacks in comparison to LCD technology. Several VR manufacturers utilise fast switch LCDs rather than OLED to aid refresh times, which makes Sony’s OLED prototype even more exciting.

While Sony’s consumer VR efforts have generally revolved around gaming, Ishihara and Kimura do envision the technology being used for remote collaboration, medical training and manufacturing support. So there’s a good chance Sony may be looking towards the higher end of the VR market, possibly going toe-to-toe with devices like the Varjo Aero, eventually.

Does all of this mean some of Sony’s new tech will make its way into PlayStation VR 2? As this looks like an earlyish prototype, probably not, but rumour specs for the new headset do give it a 4K display as well as a wider field of view (FoV). SIE still hasn’t revealed what it’ll look like although it’ll probably be quite slick considering the controllers unveiled in March.

VRFocus will continue its coverage of Sony’s VR plans, reporting back with further updates.
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