Picture: Somnium Space
The Somnium VR1 boasts high-end specs, lots of (optional) features and customizability. Now, the company has provided an update on its development progress.
The PC VR headset was announced in late 2021 and made its last appearance at CES 2023. Now, the Czech company Somnium Space reports back with a blog post, presenting the progress made since January.
As a reminder, Somnium Space runs the social VR platform of the same name and is venturing into hardware development for the first time with Somnium VR1. They’re supported by their (also Czech) technology partner VRgineers, makers of the professional headset XTAL 3.
Custom lenses for a wide field of view
Over the past few months, the team has been working on the lenses, ergonomics, and anchor points. The latter allow users to attach 3D-printed accessories of their choice. Three of these anchor points are equipped with USB-C ports. Somnium Space is also working on a transparent Special Edition (see article image).
The dual aspheric lenses are already in mass production and, according to Somnium Space, provide a field of view of 125 degrees horizontally and 100 degrees vertically. That would be more than most commercially available headsets offered.
The company also promises a particularly clear and bright image. Users will be able to add vision correction lenses via a magnetic mount.
Tons of (optional) features
The displays (2,880 x 2,880 pixels each, 35 PPD) have also been improved: They now offer a brightness of 210 nits and support a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz, 144 Hz is currently being tested. The display also offers high contrast thanks to local dimming.
The PC VR headset optionally supports eye tracking and high-quality pass-through using two front cameras with a resolution of 4,056 x 3,040 pixels each. Optionally, a LIDAR sensor can be attached to the upper anchor point for 3D meshing of the surrounding space.
The device’s features come at a relatively high weight: The current prototype of the Somnium VR1 weighs between 700 and 850 grams (including the head-strap), depending on the configuration.
PC VR purists will appreciate the high-quality, 20-foot cable that combines Display Port (32 Gbps), USB 3 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), and power in a single USB-C cable.
Launch is still planned for 2023
The device is completely designed, developed and manufactured in the Czech Republic. Initial testing of the production facility is already underway. For the ordering process, Somnium Space is working on a web configurator that will allow customers to select the features they want (eg eye tracking, hand tracking, passthrough).
Somnium Space will announce more information about the software toolkit, pricing, and exact availability of the Somnium VR1 in the upcoming weeks and months. The company is “working slowly to ensure that first deliveries will happen in 2023”.
Until the launch, take these announcements with a grain of salt. Somnium Space promises a lot for a startup with no hardware experience. Decagear did the same, and we know how that story ended.