Sharp shows lightweight VR headset with fast autofocus RGB camera

Sharp shows lightweight VR headset with fast autofocus RGB camera

Sharp shows a prototype of a particularly lightweight VR headset demonstrating its latest VR technology at CES 2023.

Sharp’s prototype VR headset is designed to showcase the company’s VR-enabled technologies in one device. Sharp says the prototype weighs just 175 grams, a result of Sharps “expertise in component miniaturization, accrued over the years in the development of smartphones.”

Sharp says the low weight is achieved by using an “ultra-light VR display” with 2K resolution per eye at 120 Hz in combination with pancake lenses developed in-house. For people with low vision, diopter correction is attached to the lenses, similar to HTC’s Vive XR Elite. There is no hardware IPD setting.

Compact despite a lot of technology

Despite the light weight and compact casing, Sharp has integrated an RGB color camera module and two black-and-white tracking cameras for hand and room tracking. Sharp does not explicitly mention room tracking in the press release, but it stands to reason that the image from the black-and-white cameras could be used for this as well. According to the Japanese VR website Panora, the headset supports 6DOF tracking.

The RGB color camera module is equipped with a polymer lens for “ultrafast autofocus.” The focus is controlled by the thickness of the polymer lens. According to Sharp, this type of focus is “much faster” than conventional cameras. XR hardware analyst Bradley Lynch is also impressed by the camera’s fast focus and compactness (see video below article).

The RGB camera can display images from the environment in color on the headset’s displays and can supposedly capture objects photogrammetrically and bring them into the VR space as a 3D model. It is unclear from Sharp’s announcement and the coverage so far whether this feature is only planned or already working.

logo

At CES 2023, Sharp’s Aquos R7 Android smartphone acts as content source via USB-C. Speakers are integrated into the arms of the headset.

It is unlikely that Sharp itself will launch this – or any other – VR headset. Rather, the company is likely to showcase the built-in technologies, i.e. the RGB polymer lens camera, the thin LC display and its pancake lenses, to position itself as a supplier for vendors like Meta, HTC, or Pico.

Sources: Sharp, Panora.tokyo, Brad Lynch