Japanese VR startup Fove Inc is showing off its newly-named Fove 0 head-mounted display at the Tokyo Game Show right now. Along with the headset’s name, Fove also revealed that pre-orders for the new headset will begin November 2 at its website. The company hasn’t talked pricing yet, nor has it confirmed when the new headsets will be shipping.
The Fove 0 is a high-end VR headset that boasts a 2560×1440 OLED display and integrated 120Hz eye-tracking technology. The creators claim the infrared eye-tracking is accurate to less than one degree. The display itself only has a refresh rate of 70Hz, and the field of view is between 90 and 100 degrees. Compared to the 90Hz refresh and 110-degree field of view shared by the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the Fove 0 is a little behind. Still, Fove’s eye-tracking might be the secret sauce that makes the difference.
The Fove 0 will also include both orientation and positional tracking. Accelerometer and gyro data are combined with information from an included positional camera to enable a free-motion VR experience that, at least in concept, should be similar to what users experience with the HTC Vive. Fove hasn’t mentioned any sort of touch or motion controller interface, though.
Like Oculus, Valve, and Qualcomm, Fove is providing its own SDK for its headset, with support for Fove 0 integration into Unity and Unreal Engine 4. Fove says the headset will also support the SteamVR platform in some capacity. System requirements for the Fove 0 mirror those for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive; a recent Core i5 and a GeForce GTX 970 form the baseline. The headset will connect to desktop PCs using HDMI 1.4 and USB 3.0, and the positional-tracking camera requires an additional USB 2.0 port.
Fove says that the company’s name comes from the fovea centralis, a part of the human eye. The “0” name for the company’s first product comes from “bringing the distance between people to zero.” While that phrase might seem cryptic, Fove made waves on the Japanese internet early this year for its collaboration with Inter Robot on the HUG Project. Using a Fove 0 headset and the Pepper personal robot, the two companies enabled a bed-ridden elderly woman to virtually participate in her grandson’s wedding.
This usage of the headset is both novel and admirable, but we suspect more applications will make use of the extremely precise infrared eye-tracking as a user interface, or to enable foveated rendering. Fove seems to agree, as both concepts have dedicated pages on the company’s website.