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The technical details of Sony's Project Morpheus virtual reality

8:30 PM on 03.18.2014 // Dale North
  @DaleNorth

Specs of first dev kit revealed

After tonight's reveal, Sony spent some time at their GDC talk to discuss some details on the technical goals for their new VR headset, codenamed Project Morpheus. 

Project Morpheus calls on Sony's electronics divisions to meet some of the technical needs for the headset. While they avoided any specifics on the display, technologies and expertise from their display division were used toward their vision for VR. For sound, they developed newly developed binaural technology for full realism, giving users full 3D audio.

Specs were revealed for the development kit. The current dev kit display is 1080p, with a 90 degree plus field of view. The tracking is at 1,000 Hz with a 3 meter working volume at a full 360 degrees. This supports forward prediction as well as tracking compatibility with the DualShock 4 and PS Move. 

The headset is highly adjustable, supports custom headphones, and is comfortable for prolonged use. No weight is placed on the nose or cheeks, Sony claims. An audio jack has been placed directly on the unit. 

Sony stated that only a single VR headset can be attached to the PS4 at one time.

Tracking is very important for virtual reality as it ensures that the world moves realistically with the users head movement. The same technology behind PlayStation Move is being used for Project Morpheus, though at a higher resolution now. Sony joked that "it's almost like the PlayStation Camera was almost made for VR."

They're shooting for ease of use as well as comfort with their final headset. The goal is for it to be as easy as putting it on and off to experience virtual reality, with no setup required. They say that Sony is used to working in this area, so they'll nail this aspect.

Sony's goal for announcing this platform at GDC is to appeal to content creators to create new VR content. They plan to develop pipelines and a community to support it. Unity, Havok, WWise, Epic, Criware, Autodesk, Silicon Studio, fmod, and others were listed as partners.

As a demo, they're working alongside NASA to make a Mars simulator that uses real space rover captured data. Members of NASA were in attendance at the reveal tonight at GDC.

They also like the idea of virtual tourism, and see that as a part of VR's future.

Sony thinks the VR experience will be very social. They mention the use of both head and hand tracking in games to play together, noting that body cues can be seen and used in multiplayer games. Apparently they have a demo where people in the same virtual room can play musical instruments together, taking visual cues from other virtual players on what to play next. 

When asked about the name of Project Morpheus, Yoshida said that they "decided on the name last week."



Dale North, Former Dtoid EIC
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