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Vive Flow: ultra-light “immersive glasses” for virtual reality

“Immersive glasses”, this is how HTC describes the Vive Flow , its new particularly light virtual reality headset. According to the company, this headset without controllers was designed for watching multimedia content, meditating, and working.

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HTC has just launched a virtual reality headset from a new genre. Finally, according to the firm, they are rather immersive glasses. The Vive Flow is a new kind of device, much lighter than the virtual reality headsets already on the market. The firm targets a “well-being and productivity” use.

It is first of all indeed virtual reality and not augmented reality. The device incorporates two 2.1-inch LCD displays, with a resolution of 1,600 x 1,600 pixels for each eye . It offers a field of view of 100 degrees with a refresh rate of 75 Its multiples are, among others, the kilohertz (kHz), the megahertz (MHz) and the gigahertz (Ghz).
This unit comes from the scientist German radioelectricity pioneer Heinrich Hertz. On this point, it is a little below other headsets in virtual reality, including HTC’s Vive Pro 2 and Flow 3 , which most commonly have a 110-120 degree field of view and a 90-degree refresh rate at 120 hertz.

A VR headset that requires an Android smartphone

The Vive Flow is an all-in-one device that does not need to be connected to a computer . It is equipped with a Qualcomm XR1 chip and 64 gigabytes of storage. The only other standalone virtual reality headset currently on the mainstream market is the Oculus Quest 2 , which is based on the newer Qualcomm XR2 chip. The main advantage of the Vive Flow is that it takes up much less space than the competition and weighs only 189 grams, which is just over a third of the weight of the Oculus Quest 2 (503 grams).

Vive Flow

This helmet is worn therefore like glasses, without requiring a strap. It integrates two cameras for tracking movements and requires an external battery, which partly explains its weight and reduced size. This is a good idea, as the weight of classic VR headsets can get tiring quickly.

A VR headset for multimedia, meditation and work

With this device , HTC seems to want to find a new market for virtual reality. Without controllers, it cannot play popular games like Beat Saber or Population One . It is rather intended for a multimedia use , both for video content in 180 or 360 degrees and / or stereoscopic, as for viewing films in 2D, projected on a giant virtual screen. Thanks to its small size, the Vive Flow can be used anywhere: on the couch, in bed, or even in public places or on the plane. HTC also highlights the immersive applications for meditation or even virtual reality social spaces, as well as for work and virtual meetings.

The device comes without controllers and at the moment the headset must be connected wirelessly to a smartphone Android . This serves as a remote control and it is possible to project the screen in the virtual space. Compatibility with iOS may arrive later, but for now iPhone owners will need to do this. dead end on this helmet. HTC has also indicated that the headset could integrate hand tracking in the future, but that is not for now. The Vive Flow is available for pre-order at 549 euros, which is still 200 euros more than the Oculus Quest 2 , with a shipment expected from November 2.

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