Earlier this year Infinity Design was engaged by Phenomec to design and develop their idea for a flat packable, innovative and portable virtual reality headset for smart phones. Following an accelerated development process, the product proved to be a success at the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) in October, applauded for its appealing and easy to use design. Hundreds of development kits were sold at the Phenomec stand.
The Infinity design team worked around the clock to complete design and testing phases within a few short weeks in order to enable Phenomec to release the product at the PAX exhibition. There were many design challenges that had to be overcome along the way, including producing a highly adjustable design that enabled a sub-$50 retail price. At the 2015 Good Design Awards, Infinity and Phenomec were rewarded for their efforts with a Good Design Selection Award as well as being selected to exhibit the product in the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences as an example of innovative Australian design.
The Flatpack VR Smartview is the only Australian developed virtual reality (VR) headset, providing remarkable immersion and user experience at an affordable price. Current dedicated VR headsets provide users with inbuilt displays and electronics; this comes at a high cost, even though many of us already carry the necessary components in our pockets. Smartphones now come with gyroscopes, accelerometers, multicore processors, wireless communication and outstanding display pixel density. Marrying these features with a robust and ergonomically designed polypropylene body, the VR Smartview challenges dedicated headsets and outperforms its smartphone based headset rivals in comfort, adjustability and user immersion.
Whilst collapsible and smartphone based DIY headsets are accessible and affordable to many users, they lack the ability to conform to each person’s optical requirements and subtle ergonomic differences. With the variety of smartphone thicknesses, set distance headsets also deny users the ability to fine focus the image to their own phones. The Infinity designed VR Smartview comfortably provides both phone distance focus and also lateral lens adjustment to optimise the user’s viewing experience. Slotted features on the phone cradle provide an appealing visual aesthetic and also invite the user to intuitively hold the cradle, allowing good purchase and distribution of force when adjusting.
Accommodating most modern Android and iOS smartphones, the VR Smartview front phone cradle holds the user’s phone firmly in place using a polyurethane pad. Users are able to instinctively line up the VR split screen using notched indicators on the cradle. This aligns the phone while still providing camera clearance for augmented reality applications. Side openings also easily allow phones to be connected to corded peripherals, audio devices, and charging cables, thereby improving usability and enhancing the immersive experience.
Using polypropylene sheet as its main material of construction, the VR Smartview headset provides a sturdy build quality and superior durability to its cardboard competitors. This construction enables the entire unit to be cleaned and washed, allowing the polyurethane phone holding pad to also be cleaned and maintain its holding strength. If the user desires, and the smartphone is waterproof, the entire unit may be submerged even while in use. Such durability ensures that this DIY headset is not simply used as a novelty item and then discarded. Should it need to be discarded, it can easily be disassembled, flat packed, and recycled.
> Check out the video below for a review of the VR SmartView