Starbreeze has unveiled the first outcome of its partnership with Tobii, a virtual reality headset aimed at commercial and enterprise users incorporating the company's eye-tracking technology: The StarVR One.
Having announced plans to launch virtual reality arcade halls in January 2016 and launched a joint venture with Acer to produce the hardware, game publisher Starbreeze appeared to get cold feet when in October last year it backed out of an agreement to go halvesies with Acer and capped its funding of the joint venture at only $5 million of a planned $12.5 million - leaving Acer with a majority share at 66.6 recurring percent.
At the time, Starbreeze declared it remained 'fully dedicated to the field of VR where we see great potential in the development of location-based [arcade hall model] VR,' but the company has been largely silent until it unveiled a new-generation headset design this week in partnership with eye-tracking specialist Tobii.
'Over the last few years, Tobii has shown that integrated eye tracking is a foundational technology for next generation VR devices,' claims Henrik Eskilsson, Tobii chief executive, of the partnership. 'The StarVR One headset represents an important proof point for the many ways that eye tracking fundamentally leads to enhanced experiences.'
The StarVR One, the companies have confirmed, will include dedicated eye-tracking hardware in the form of the Tobii EyeChip, which will feed back information to the host system to support dynamic foveated rendering - a technique for rendering the most detail where the eyes are actually looking, rather than at the centre of the display - along with automatic measurement and adjustment for individuals' interpupillary distance, which is a near-requirement when multiple individuals will be using the headset with little time to manually adjust its settings.
'StarVR continues its legacy of innovation that pushes past the barriers standing in the way of enterprise-grade VR experiences,' claims Emmanuel Marquez, chief technology officer of the StarVR joint venture. 'StarVR is blazing new trails to deliver break-through technology for a new world of realism to support real business decisioning and value creation. With our StarVR One headset we are conquering the VR final frontier – the enterprise.'
While full details have not yet been released, StarVR has confirmed the headset will include a custom AMOLED display and Fresnel lens system which offer 210-degree horizontal and 130-degree vertical fields of view - covering nearly all of a person's natural field of vision, the company claims. The company has also confirmed partnerships with Intel, Nvidia, and Epic Games to add support for the hardware to their respective platforms - including the OpenXR cross-platform augmented and virtual reality platform.
More information on the StarVR One, pricing for which has not been disclosed, can be found on the official website.