OJO 500 takes a modular approach to Windows Mixed Reality
Before virtual and augmented reality become widespread in our homes, it might gain traction in public spaces like museums and hotels, and Acer's new OJO 500 headset has been built with sharing in mind – it's semi-modular design allows the straps and lenses to be removed and cleaned separately.
If you're sharing a headset with a lot of co-workers or strangers then that's going to make for a much more comfortable experience. The headset can be configured with either a soft strap or a hard strap, and whichever one you go for, you can easily detach it.
Keeping with the theme of personalizing the headset for everyone who uses it, the device features an interpupillary distance (IPD) dial – that lets you focus the display image based on the distance between your pupils.
For those out there who don't know their IPD off-hand – just about everyone, we suspect – the dial can simply be adjusted until everything looks sharp (not always a guarantee in virtual reality headsets). Alternatively, there's an associated Android app from Acer that lets you calculate your IPD with ease.
The Acer OJO 500 also brings with it two 2.89-inch LCD displays with a combined resolution of 2,880 x 1,440 pixels, a 90 Hz refresh rate, a 100-degree field of view, and special "sound pipe" technology that creates immersive audio around the wearer's head without headphones (headphones are built in too, if you prefer to use them).
As well as the detachable straps and lenses – which help keep the headset fresh and clean – the OJO 500 visor can be flipped up without taking the whole headset off, which is useful for quickly checking on your surroundings and making sure you aren't wandering into any walls or furniture.
The headset integrates 6 degrees of freedom positional tracking via a camera on the outside, so movements are tracked without the need for external sensors, and you can add two optional Bluetooth controllers to the mix if you want more ways to interact with the virtual world around you.
This is all powered by a cabled connection to a Windows 10 PC and is branded as a Mixed Reality headset – the term Microsoft favors for its Mixed Reality platform, which essentially combines VR and AR technologies together (though right now it's leaning much more towards VR).
The idea is to provide a cheaper, lower-spec entry point into virtual reality and augmented reality than you get with something like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. More than 2,500 Mixed Reality apps are available on Steam VR and the Microsoft Store to get you started.
There are a growing number of Mixed Reality headsets on the market now, but the semi-modular design of the Acer OJO 500 should help it stand out from the crowd. It'll be out in November, with prices starting at $399 in the US and €499 in Europe.