Panasonic's compact, HDR-capable VR goggles actually look kinda cool
Home VR is going to hit the mainstream big time this decade, and personally I can't wait. If you're yet to experience the insane ability this rising technology has to fully immerse you in a different time and place, you're in for a treat. And if the giant, chunky facemasks you're seeing in current-gen systems like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are a bit of a turn-off, Panasonic's got the antidote for you.
These prototype VR specs are a set of digital John Lennon glasses, with eye cups and solid frame arms heading back to a set of earbuds. They look far less bulky and cumbersome than what you're used to seeing, and they don't require you to mess up your 'do with a headband, but they still deliver UltraHD (at least 4K) resolution, enough to eliminate the "screen door" effect you can get on lower-resolution glasses.
They're also, Panasonic claims, the "world's first High Dynamic Range capable VR eyeglasses." HDR (High Dynamic Range) in a display sense is kind of the opposite to what it means in photography. An HDR photo tends to brighten the shadows and darken the highlights to give you massive amounts of detail in areas of a photo that are usually blown out or too dark to see. But an HDR display, given content with the appropriate bitrate and color space, can blacken your blacks and brighten your whites to give you massive contrast without losing details in the bright or dark bits.
These are just prototypes at this point, but they also appear to be wireless, which is another thing that's more or less got to happen before home VR takes off and becomes popular in our opinion – the wireless, PC-free Oculus Quest is probably the closest thing on the market that's up and running right now.
Panasonic says it's continuing to develop this tech and other VR gear to be ready when the wave of 5G ultra-fast internet finally begins to break, opening up the ability to stream vast amounts of VR data from sports matches, virtual holiday experiences, and other forms of entertainment including games. It can't happen fast enough for us.