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Avegant Glyph: A Different Kind of HMD

The Oculus Rift. Project Morpheus. GameFace. Altergaze. Dive. These are just some of the many head-mounted displays (HMDs) available now or coming to market soon that focus primarily on one very distinct technology: virtual reality (VR). However, what would happen if a HMD that was capable of VR also looked towards stereoscopic movies, high quality audio and other media? Avegant’s Glyph is the exact answer to that question.

A lightweight yet robust headset, the Glyph is still undergoing refinement in it’s ergonomic design. Yet even at this point it’s comfortable to wear for a short duration. Exactly how it would faire over the period of a two-or-three hour film remains to be seen, but Avegant are primarily aiming at this audience so it’s certain to be an important consideration. Furthermore, though the ergonomic design is not yet finalised, the visual and audio technology is impressive enough to believe that the Glyph isn’t too far from a release-ready version.

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The visualisation area within the Glyph is limited. Despite the fact that the band appears to stretch fully across your field of vision, the reality is that it presents a centralised ‘screen’ within this radius. Indeed, the Glyph doesn’t entirely restrict your vision in the same fashion as the Oculus Rift or Project Morpheus; users can still see the real-world above and below the screen. This obviously limits the immersion factor when considering VR, but makes the device ideal for long journeys on planes or trains which, in reality, is what the Glyph is designed for.

The quality of the picture within that limitation, however, is unmatched by any HMD VRFocus has witnessed thus far. Two wheels on the lower side of the band allow the user to adjust the focus of the lenses in place and effectively adjust the depth of the stereoscopic view in the same fashion as the Nintendo 3DS’ slider, however the more noteworthy point is the fact that there is next-to-no pixilation. The infamous ‘screen-door’ effect that many HMDs suffer from is nowhere to be seen.

The audio design is also fantastic. VRFocus‘ opportunity to assess this was limited – the highs of treble and lows of bass for music where not available at any point – however for video viewing the 3D audio worked perfectly. Stereo sounds and height was entirely convincing, so the hopes that the Glyph will work just as well as an audio device as it does a visual HMD remains high.

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The Glyph also features a head-tracking technology via Bluetooth. Exactly how this component works is not yet known – it was not available to test during the demonstration given to VRFocus – but the intention that it will allow gamers to enjoy VR alongside their movies, television programmes and audio entertainment is a worthwhile effort. Avegant are expecting the Glyph to be available as a commercial product later this year and VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details.