We live in a world that has depth as far as the eye can see in any direction. Several attempts have been made to imitate this situation within other environments namely 3D and virtual reality (VR). Generally the approach to the deliverance of these environments has involved headgear of some sort that helps persuade the eyes to convince the brain that the supplied images are not all that they might seem. One product that has been designed to deliver a VR-type experience, from a headgear device, is the appropriately named Immerse™.
Manufactured by VirtrealHD in China, and available from thumbsUp!, the Immerse kit comes with the claim of being compatible with most smartphone currently available with a width of between 3.5 and 5.7 inches. By combining the Immerse unit with a smartphone, you can watch content that is stored on the smartphone. This content can include 3D movies, games and VR experiences although in many cases you will need an external method of providing control over the manipulation of the content.
The Immerse device consists of a black, plastic viewing box (16 x 9cm) onto which a pair of adjustable lenses with a padded foam trim has been attached along with straps in the form of a skull cap that is often worn by members of a rugby team who play in the scrum. These straps can be adjusted to ensure that the Immerse headgear fits comfortably on the head during viewing sessions. I would suggest that this adjustment is carried out after the smartphone has been added to the device as its weight could affect the balance and fit of the unit when positioned on your head.
Prior to inserting the smartphone into a compartment, which is revealed by pressing a button on the top of the unit, you do need to ensure that you have downloaded the appropriate material on to the smartphone. The Immerse website (http://www.immerseheadset.com/) lists a number of suggested apps that can be downloaded to provide an immerse experience that you might enjoy. These apps have been categorised either as Free or Paid with sections for Android, iOS or Youtube sources.
Adjustable horizontal retaining bars will hold the smartphone firmly in place in a landscape orientation. On either side of the compartment is a small break-off tab that can be permanently detached to allow access for a headphone lead to be attached to the headphone for a private audio feature. The choice of this access point could affect which way round the smartphone needs to be positioned within the compartment so that the headphone socket lines up with the gap.
Unless you have some means of externally controlling the smartphone, you will need to start the app before enclosing the smartphone within the compartment as you will not have tactile access to the screen. If you do not have such a remote control device then a web search should reveal numerous possible devices that can fulfil this function. You will need to look for devices that link via Bluetooth rather than have a physical connection to the smartphone.
As everybody’s eyes are different, both in their positioning on the face and their optical capability, the Immerse does allow for some adjustments to be made to the lenses. You can individually adjust each lens by moving it to the left or right. However this is the limit to the adjustments that can be made. Unfortunately there is no option to adjust the focus to help compensate for any ocular condition you may have such as the weakness I have in my right eye.
What did not help, in this respect, was my glasses. It was almost impossible to wear the Immerse while my spectacles were in place. Without my glasses, the headset, with its 1-inch thick soft foam padding running around the front of the unit, was comfortable although I often struggled to position the lenses to get a reasonable 3D view – this was especially noticeable when text was being displayed.
The Immerse kit comes with a small instructions booklet and a lens cleaning cloth which could also be used to remove finger smears from the smartphone. The Immerse device is priced at £29.95.
|add to del.icio.us||Digg this review|