The virtual reality space headset space is getting crowded. The Oculus Rift may be the frontrunner, but now it has to compete with Sony's Project Morpheus and new startups like the ANTVR Kit. Like every VR product, the ANTVR headset wants to be "the best VR headset to date." Leaving the Oculus Rift in its dust won't be easy, but the Chinese company with the same name thinks it has what it takes.
The headset itself uses a pretty standard Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution display (funny how this stuff is now considered normal). But it comes with aspherical lenses that don't distort the picture quality. ANTVR claims the ANTVR Kit headset provides the "largest 4:3 standard screen in the world, which gives you a 100 percent diagonal field of view." Movies in 2D and 3D are supported and it will also work with PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Android devices.
The guys behind the ANTVR even designed the headset to fit comfortably for people who wear glasses. And it also has a "glance window" that lets users get a quick view of the outside world without having to take off the headset. Clever!
Virtual reality just wouldn't be right without 3D depth, though. The ANTVR has a 9-axis "Internial Measurement Unit" that allows for head rotation and movement tracking. ANTVR touts its "one-step positional tracking" technology as a key advantage of the headset. It allows for ANTVR users to step in any direction and their digital counterpart on screen will do the same. Think of it as a Virtuix Omni, but more advanced (if it works as well as the company claims) and without the sling strap-in:
"It gives ballpark acceleration, which makes you feel like you’re really moving, it will lower the possibility of making you dizzy. If you crouch or jump, your character will do the same."
The ANTVR Kit isn't just a headset. The included gun-shaped controller itself transforms to suit the type of game you're playing. The main mode is gun mode, which is for use with first-person shooters. In the second mode, the handle detaches from the gun to form a lightsaber and joystick controller. And for the last mode, the handle itself flips open to reveal a traditional gamepad with a D-pad and ABXY buttons. It's a well-thought out design.
On top of all this, the ANTVR headset is wireless (most of the components are hidden inside the gun controller) and comes with two batteries that last up to 8 hours. And you get a bag that transforms from a vest into a bag and vice versa. (These guys sure love transforming products.)
As of this writing, the ANTVR kit has acquired over $105,000 of its $200,000 goal with 37 days left to go. It's safe to say they're going to easily get funded and get more than they asked for. All of the early bird specials for $270 are gone, but you can still put in $300 and grab yourself a kit. The ANTVR Kit is expected to reach doorsteps by September 2014.