Zeiss VR One Plus

E3 of the video game 2016 : Zeiss VR One, a headset by the optical specialist

OPTICAL. All virtual reality headsets have one thing in common, they are equipped with optical lenses. What could be more natural then for the German specialist in precision optics to be interested in this rapidly expanding sector. Called Zeiss VR One Plus, the Zeiss head-mounted device is a mid-range device, located between Google’s Cardboard Cardboard and luxury headsets (HTC Vive, Oculus Rift). It is one of the products that work with a smartphone that is slid in front of the lenses. The drawer in which the smartphone is housed can accommodate any model, as long as it is large enough to display an image in front of each eye. In addition to its undeniable optical qualities, the Zeiss VR One Plus has various features rarely seen for a product of this range.

The drawer allows to slide smartphones of different brands – Photo credit Zeiss

The multifunctional headset

In addition to the usual tasks offered by such products as 3D video playback or mini-games, the Zeiss head-mounted display has some amazing features. Connected to the remote control of a drone, it allows using the gyroscope of the smartphone to control the angle of view of the camera by turning the head. Taking advantage of the smartphone positioned in the head-mounted display, the Zeiss VR One is also capable of offering augmented reality using the phone’s camera. The screen displays what the camera is filming, while adding a layer of information in addition, this is where we talk about augmented reality. The application recognizes certain geometric shapes present on maps and is able to superimpose characters or objects animated in 3D. This process is reminiscent of the augmented reality application of the Nintendo 3DS that allows to appear virtual characters on a very real table and interact with them. The last feature that is not least, the ability to” stream ” content from applications usually designed for the high-end headsets that are the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. By connecting the Zeiss headset to a computer, it is possible to broadcast images from the computer on the smartphone screen. It is therefore the computer that manages all the power necessary to display the virtual reality application while the headset serves as a viewer. The classic controls of a high-end virtual reality experience like that of the Oculus Rift are here emulated by the internal sensors of the smartphone. Eventually, it will even be possible to use a second smartphone as a controller to navigate these virtual worlds.

BALANCE. Zeiss is not the only one to have had the idea of allowing to slide phones of different brands in its head-mounted, but the quality of the optics and the variety of applications offered make the difference. The price will probably be an asset at the launch of the product in the last quarter of 2016, at 129€ it is the assurance of getting started in virtual reality without breaking the bank.

READ ALSO. What are the video games to remember from E3 2016 ? Here is the selection of Sciences et Avenir.

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