Opto Promises an Interesting Twist on VR

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Virtual Reality (VR) has been hovering over the world of technology for awhile now with products like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Sony PlayStation VR, and the Microsoft HoloLens. Opto adds to that list with a defining difference: it intends to be the first portable VR headset with integrated audio. It’s Kickstarter campaign has already been launched on March 31 with the goal of 40,000 GBP by April 29 for the first 500 devices.

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Developed by industrial designer Tom Jarvis and software developer Richard Stephens, Opto is a portable VR headset where sound was a top priority during the start of its design. Speakers sit inside the headset so that users do not have to add their own headphones. It has a 40mm 32ohm speakers and a frequency of 20hz/20 khz.

Opto will support any smartphone with screen sizes between 4 and 5.1 inches. It will attach to the phone by way of a magnetic front cover that will allow the user to easily place the phone in and out of the device.

According to Opto’s blog, they are actually reworking the device to support larger phone screens as well as enlarging the acoustic chamber to 50mm.

It is made from the patented closed-cell foam material, XL Extralight, which should make it extremely lightweight and comfortable yet tough at the same time. This could make for an interesting angle for parents, considering that this technology is not only durable but is also easy to clean.

“It is especially suited to children as it’s made of lightweight foam and very impact resistant,” Co-founder Richard Stephens said. “We have tried it with children from about 9 upwards. We are also in partnership with WEARVR.com…They are also launching a new app for curated VR content for kids.”

This means that older children as well as adults could experience movies, games, and other content on the go in a full-immersion type of experience, though Stephens stresses that the device has not been tested on children younger than 9 (the American Academy of Pediatric recommends limited time for children on these types of devices anyhow).

The current set of VR devices as of right now are bulky and heavy. They also require wires as well as a set of headphones. The goal for Opto is to just carry a smartphone and the VR device instead of lugging around headphones as well.

“Opto is about making high-quality VR accessible for anyone who owns a smartphone. Our aim is to move VR from the gaming den into the living room, “ said Stephens.

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