Just as with sight and input, sound is vital to maintaining a sense of immersion with virtual reality (VR). Truthfully this hasn’t been as big of an issue for developers as the other two factors, with 3D audio solutions already existing. All that said, we’re yet to see a company offer up a dedicated audio output peripheral for VR experiences much like there has been for controllers. That changes today with the announcement of Ceekars, an audio headset optimised for the Oculus Rift VR HMD from Next Galaxy.
Ceekars uses a unique content creation process that localises audio to the user’s ear. According to the company this allows for added depth and perspective so that players can locate the origins of sounds within any given experience. The company uses the example of standing at a concert, and having the music sound different in relation to how close the user is to the stage, with crowds being louder depending on where they stand. The headset is also said to pick up a number of frequencies that other headsets miss, allowing for more accurate sound.
What’s more, Ceekars even includes a haptic system to provide vibration , with other tactile feedback being developed to create sensations when touching surfaces. A remote for easy control is also included along with a microphone for voice-activated commands and online chat. Of course, the headset can also be used for standard applications as well. The device is battery powered and allows for adjusting size and balance between voice and background music.
“Samsung’s Gear VR headset is the latest example of the imminent Consumer Virtual Reality explosion, the visual display however is only one component in creating a complete VR experience. A 360 immersive audio headset is critical to complement the visual display and Next Galaxy is delighted to bring this technology to the market with Ceekars, Next Galaxy President Mary Spio said. “Content is the other part of the equation, for which we are developing Ceek as the world’s first VR entertainment and education hub. With our technology and content, we are stepping in and filling the gaps in the Consumer Virtual Reality marketplace, positioning Next Galaxy to be a major driver in the mainstream adoption of Consumer Virtual Reality.”
It’s not yet clear when Ceekars will launch and how much it will cost. VRFocus will continue to follow the device moving forward, reporting back with any further updates.