The Technical Details Behind Sony’s Project Morpheus VR Headset

Sony have jumped into the VR headset arena with both feet, announcing their VR headset, dubbed Project Morpheus. There were some fascinating details to the approach they took during development and their thoughts on what helps to immerse a player in the virtual worlds.

There were also a bunch of technical details about the developer hit and design of the device, which we’ve summed for you:

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  • The current dev kit has a 5″ 1080p LCD display (960×1080 per eye) with 90 degree field of view. This is not final.
  • Head tracking runs at 1000Hz within a 3 meter volume and through 360 degrees, facilitated by the PlayStation Camera and LED lights alongside an accelerometer and gyroscope.
  • The PS Camera can track both your head and any DS4 or PS Move controllers at the same time.
  • It is wired, using HDMI and USB to connect to the PS4, though they’re looking at wireless solutions.
  • The social screen feature allows the game image to be shared on an external TV, so that others can witness and join in.
  • The unique design sits higher on your head, in such a way that the display itself doesn’t put pressure on your nose and allows air to circulate.
  • It will accomodate those who wear glasses.
  • The prototype allows for you to use your own headphones, which you can plug into the headset, for it to process the 3D audio.

ProjectMorpheus-960-5

Sources: Eurogamer, Engadget, The Verge

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31 Comments

  1. Nobody does sleek looking devices as well as Sony. I said god damn when I first saw the device.

    I’m gonna go ahead and say it will be fairly successful in pushing VR into the mainstream and more casual audience.

    Mark my words.

    • “Nobody does sleek looking devices as well as Sony. I said god damn when I first saw the device.”

      Apple.

      • ”Apple.”

        Banana.

      • Apple make good looking devices, but not as good looking as Sonys.

      • It is, of course, a matter of opinion. Just happens in this case that your opinion is wrong and I’m certain that the vast majority of the rest of the design community would agree.

  2. Wired? No thanks. Also there is only one HDMI out on a ps4 so I’m expected to keep swapping the cable, on a port that apparently had issues at launch, and plug a separate USB in at the front? Perhaps when it’s a commercially available they plan to release a revision of the PS4 with 2 HDMI out ports and a rear USB port, which they should’ve had in the first place IMHO.

    Also surprised at the lack of integrated speakers/headphones. No idea how this would work with my Sennheiser headphones/modmic setup either, would they sit under/over it, and what about its longish cable dangling about?

    Dunno, it’s a neat concept but not sure it’ll ever appeal to me in its current form.

    • My supposition is that it’s connected via an HDMI switch/splitter that sends a signal to the headset and another signal to the TV.

      They’re not dumb enough to require you to constantly unplug it!

      • They were dumb enough to omit a rear USB port for those of us who use USB driven audio/mic solutions so I wouldn’t put anything past them.

        Whilst I’m on the subject of hardware, hey Sony, where the hell is my official dual shock charging station I ordered months ago?! There have been none in stock anywhere and they don’t seem too bothered about supplying any. Great move when your controllers have less battery life in them than a dead AAA!

    • Thinking about it with the sharing to TV feature that suggests some kind of HDMI pass through, though I wonder what implications that has for HDCP etc.

  3. Looks… interesting. I feel a bit cynical, but then I was about Oculus Rift and that seems to be going going brilliantly. This looks a long way from release, I can imagine the headset being wireless with build in headphones and a more distinctive PlayStation design when it’s for sale. I’d like to see vouchers for at least 25% off office swivel chairs included with the headset.

    • I was extremely skeptical of this recent VR push until I got to mess around with an early prototype Oculus Rift that a guy brought into our practice. Admittedly, they were selling it as an architectural tool, so I was wandering around a rather bland master plan in central London, but the technology was mightily impressive and that was at pretty poor resolution and movement latency. They’d even connected a DS3 for navigation, so I could definitely see the implications for gaming.

      For me, it all depends on which developers take up the tech, the pricing strategy and how convincing the actual kit is before VR will become anything more than a peripheral for the gaming community in general.

  4. Sounds like a lot of devices needed. Camera, controller, headset, vr headset. You’re gonna need a pretty undisturbed place to use it. Just cannot see it being successful. This isn’t what the masses want.

    • Doesn’t seem to have done Apple any harm – much of what Steve Jobs did wasn’t about making what people wanted, it mas making them want what he was prepared to make them.

      • I don’t recall an iphone that needed 3 other things plugged into it to make it work. VR tech has been tried for 20+ years and failed miserably every time.

  5. 90 degree field of view = fail. It needs to be at least 120! It also still sounds quite a long way off with fundamental specifications still not nailed.

    • It does say it’s not final, but like you, I can’t see how you can have a VR headset and only 90 Degree FOV, strange.

    • Yeah, seems a strange choice, especially as that was one of the early problems that the Rift solved, using 110 degrees made things a lot better.

      I would expect that Sony will increase this during devlopment.

      • Crikey, even the old Atari jaguar VR used 120 degrees & that wouldn’t be enough in an open world environment, but worked pretty well with missile command VR!

  6. For everyone throwing their dummies out because of FOV and wires etc, relax! It’s still prototype and the whole point of this reveal was to get developers feedback, I’m sure they will be saying the same thing :-)

  7. If it was to launch in that state, now, it’d be a complete disaster.

    But that’s not going to happen, only being a prototype and everything. For a start, that resolution needs to double. 1080p across both eyes? It needs to be capable of that on _each_ eye.

    And it absolutely needs to be wireless. No looking at it being wireless, just bloody do it. And put a big enough battery in the thing.

    And it also needs to be a sensible price. They could possibly pull that off. The Oculus Rift seems to be $300. For a developer version that you can’t buy now. If Sony charge that much, plus convert it into proper money, it’ll be about £300. Not much less than a PS4? Can’t see that working out too well.

    But this is a big company that can probably get things made a lot cheaper. And I can’t see it appearing before late 2015, so things should be even cheaper by then. Could they halve that price? At £150, they might sell quite a few. Could they get it much cheaper than that? Because even at that price, it’ll sell a fair few and then get ignored.

    We might just have to wait until the PS5 before it stands any chance of taking off properly. At which point everyone will want something else anyway. And Sony will be far too sensible and not bundle it with the PS5. So it’ll get ignored by developers again. (The alternative is bundling expensive hardware that few people want and charging far too much for the whole thing. How’s that working out lately?)

    • Fuck me.

      You make valid points, but if we went about all being perfectionists nothing would ever get made. Its a first gen VR headset. The second will be better and the third generation even better. BUT you have to start somewhere right, or you’d never get anywhere.

      CHRIST.

      Also I’m no techie but I think it is 1080p per eye: “960×1080 per eye”.

      • 1080p would traditionally refer to 1920×1080. Which is what this prototype appears to have, except that’s covering both eyes. So you get half the number of pixels for each eye.

        So technically it’s 1080p, but each eye only sees half of it.

        Which is weird, really. If I’ve not got confused, for 3d images it’s the horizontal resolution that matters more. Eyes tend to come in horizontal pairs, so all the 3d information comes from the horizontal differences between the two images. Vertical doesn’t matter as much. Which is why 3d TVs that cheap, passive glasses don’t seem to have much of a problem with the vertical resolution being halved.

        In this case, it appears to be the horizontal resolution they’ve halved. Which could give a worse image.

  8. Also, they appear to have partly solved one of the big VR problems with that prototype.

    Normally, you’d just look like a twat wearing one. Now, you can look like a Twat From the Future.

    Actually, it kind of reminds me of those little Playroom robots. Or possibly the weird, cute version of Marvin from that H2G2 film a few years back.

    • Okay, the second line of that made me LOL.

    • This nails it. It’s the same fundamental flaw with the 3D Glasses (and 3DTV). People simply don’t want to wear stuff like this. It looks stylish but makes us look like hilarious tools that might need to grow up a bit. VR has been attempted before and I really don’t see this doing anything different. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love for it to be accepted by the mainstream. It’s just… you know… you have to wear something on your noggin’. In front of your peepers! “No sale” for so many people.

  9. Main thing, even if you don’t get 1920×1080 for each eye, or get 60fps or they don’t increase FOV – make it affordable and ensure continued support….

  10. I’ve heard Nintendo are bringing out a Power glove!

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