When HTC makes virtual reality (VR) announcements it certainly doesn’t do thing by half. Last year the company revealed the HTC Vive Pro Eye and Vive Cosmos in one day and it’s done something similar today. Having detailed a new Vive Cosmos family of products HTC has now showcased a fancy looking prototype headset called Project Proton.
Originally due to be unveiled at the now cancelled Mobile World Congress (MWC), Project Proton is in fact two headsets designed to serve slightly different purposes. No specifications have been released at this time just several images with the company noting in a statement: “Project Proton is a prototype of a future XR glasses-style device from HTC Vive that we hope to hear feedback on from the community as we continue to work on the product.”
One version is a standalone design with a layout similar to Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 or the Pico Neo 2, with a lot of the main components of the device like the battery and processor housed on the back of the headstrap for better weight distribution. Also visible are two front-facing cameras which could either be for inside-out tracking or augmented reality (AR) passthrough features.
The second is a lighter cabled version designed to connect to a PC or smartphone. Looking like a large pair of stylish sunglasses, the arms are missing what looks like speakers extending from the arms on the all-in-one headset. This stripped-back version echos the Panasonic VR EyeGlasses, debuted at CES 2020 last month.
While these images are simply rendered rather than product photos, Tech Crunch has been told by HTC that does have working prototypes saying that: “some version of this product is possible today.” It’s unclear how far into development Project Proton is and when the devices may come to market. What hasn’t been mentioned is 5G, a technology seen as highly important for the future of VR and AR.
HTC isn’t likely to release a version of Project Proton until it’s brought out the entire series of Vive Cosmos products, some of which have dates, others don’t. VRFocus will continue its coverage of HTC and Project Proton, reporting back with the latest updates.