Finally, a VR headset you can wear without bumping into things

You know that thing everyone does after trying on a VR headset, where they try to look at their hands? A company called IonVR claims they’ve got that working, letting you actually see them. Even better — you can walk around without bumping into walls and chairs.

It’s all thanks to Intel’s Realsense ZR300 camera, which when added to the IonVR via an upcoming Intel smartphone gives the headset a realtime 3D look at your environment. This means that future VR environments could supplement the world around you, adding a layer of virtual over the boring old analogue world you usually live in.

“It’s an incredible immersive VR experience where people can literally walk around, reach out and touch something,” says an IonVR press release. “With this new technology, users can be aware of the real-world obstacles while being fully immersed in a virtual reality experience.”

IonVR, a lesser-known maker of virtual reality headsets, claims to have solved the VR sickness problem. The firm is using its presence at CES to show off its new headset, and is making big claims about what it can do when coupled with Intel’s 3D camera.

The experience is untethered, meaning you wear the headset on your head without any cables attached. This helps if you want to walk around, but there’s not much point to walking around with a headset on if you’re going to crash into your table. That’s where the 3D camera comes in, letting your headset “see” real-world obstacles and stopping you from simply walking into them.

This is all very experimental. IonVR’s headset is currently available for $229, and is expected to ship this quarter. The headset works with any Android or iOS smartphone, but the 3D camera capabilities depend on you also having access to an Intel Realsense Smartphone. The phone is currently for sale as part of a $399 developer kit, meaning none of this is exactly intended for consumers yet.

Still, it’s cool that someone is working on a headset you can use without bumping into things. It will be fascinating to see how this all ends up.

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