Image: Somnium Space
The Somnium VR 1 offers high-end specifications and optional features such as eye tracking and high-resolution passthrough, and is scheduled for release later this year.
The last update on the device and its specifications was given in May. Now, the Czech startup Somnium Space is back with a new blog post and a YouTube interview documenting the latest progress in hardware development and launch preparations.
Somnium Space operates the social VR platform of the same name and is venturing into manufacturing and selling a hardware product for the first time with Somnium VR1. They are being helped by their technology partner VRgineers, the maker of the XTAL 3 professional headset.
Pre-orders to start soon
There’s no word yet on when exactly the Somnium VR1 will be released or how much it will cost, but it’s still slated for 2023.
In September, a new website will go live where you can reserve your place for the Somnium VR1. Those who take advantage of this reservation opportunity will enjoy at least a 48-hour head start on purchasing the headset, ensuring that they are the first to receive their devices. The reservation is free and does not require any credit card information.
Also in September, calendar dates will be announced for the Somnium Connect 2023 conference in Prague, where the headset will be shown.
In the blog post, the startup presents images of a recent prototype used to test the facial interface, the four programmable buttons, the weight distribution, the cooling solution, the IPD controller and the durability of the anchor points. The latter allows for the installation of 3D printed accessories.
Somnium VR1 is an open source device
The startup also announces that the mass production optical setup for the Somnium VR1 is complete and that the eye tracking will be open source. This means that developers will have access to the algorithm and can refine and customize it.
The high-resolution passthrough mode, enabled by two 12MP cameras, will support color masking, 3D cockpit modeling (for integrating a physical cockpit into the VR experience), freely customizable visual parameters (color, contrast, etc.), and access to raw images.
The Somnium VR1 comes in a robust travel case that not only provides protection, but also holds important accessories such as controllers, base stations and cables.
The Somnium VR1 was announced in late 2021 as an open-source headset for enthusiasts and tinkerers, and the startup intends to stay true to that principle. “When you invest in the VR1, you’re not just purchasing a device; you’re acquiring full ownership, free from hidden licenses or barriers,” Somnium Space writes.