Samsung's updated VR headset kicks out the "Screen Door Effect"
Virtual reality doesn't seem to have set the world on fire as much as manufacturers would have liked, but that isn't stopping them refining their tech with new versions. Samsung is the latest to update its VR headset, announcing the HMD Odyssey+, which targets the dreaded "Screen Door Effect" with a clever new tactic and adds a few ergonomic improvements to the outer shell.
The Odyssey+ sports a pair of 3.5-in AMOLED displays, with a total resolution of 2,800 x 1,600. Movements are tracked through a 6 Degrees of Freedom (6DOF) system that works from the "inside out," meaning you won't need to set up external sensors like you do for the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.
Input still comes through HDMI from a desktop or laptop, and it's capped off with AKG Premium Audio and 360-degree Spatial Sound that lets you pinpoint where sounds are coming from.
So far it's basically the same as last year's model, but where the Odyssey+ sets itself apart is in how it squeezes better visuals out of that same display. Anyone who's played VR before knows that sometimes you can see dark lines running through the images, giving the impression that you're looking at the virtual world through a screen door. This Screen Door Effect can be ugly at best, and nauseating at worst.
Samsung has developed a pretty novel technique to combat that problem. The Anti-Screen Door Effect (SDE) display uses a grid to diffuse the light from each pixel, and duplicates individual pixels to fill the spaces around them. The idea is that it hides the gaps in a way your eyes don't notice, creating a "perceived" pixel density of 1,233 pixels per inch. That's double the true resolution of the headset and its predecessor.
On top of that, the company has learned a few things about how to make the physical headset more comfortable. The eye box is now wider – up to 146 mm (5.7 in) – and the whole thing is a little lighter, down to 590 g (1.3 lb) from 645 g (1.4 lb). Also, the Interpupillary Distance (IPD) wheel now allows the headset to be adjusted to suit the distance between different user's pupils.
The motion controllers look much the same, but there's one intriguing new feature. Samsung says the controller can act as a "flashlight" to let you peer into the real world to make sure you're not going to bump into anything. We're not entirely sure how that will work, but we'd wager it makes use of the two cameras on the faceplate that help the Odyssey+ navigate.
The Samsung HMD Odyssey+ is available now, for US$499.99.