Gear VR

VR Lens Labs: Prescription VR Lenses

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Wearing glasses in VR can pose a bit of a problem. VR HMD manufacturers have developed the ergonomics of the devices to cater for users that wear glasses, however, the straps of the HMD can still cause discomfort when worn over the top of the frame of the glasses. This is caused by the pressure of the strap pushing the arms of the glasses into your temple, which can become unpleasant over time. Also, If a VR HMD is worn over the top of a user’s glasses, both of the lenses have a tendency to rub against each other, which can scratch and damage the lenses on both your glasses and your headset. VR Lens Lab, a project that recently appeared on Kickstarter, is a company that is trying to solve this problem.

The solution to the lens ordeal has been cooked up by the same company that brought us the VR cover, an accessory for the Oculus Rift and Gear VR that adds an extra layer of padding, to give the user additional comfort.

VR Lens Lab was founded by Jay Uhdinger. Jay has also brought a similar project to market, along with Peter (Pit) Marx, optical specialist, that came in the form of Gauss Eyewear, a range of prescription glasses that use a ‘superhydrophobic’ coating – a coating that offers protection for the eyes from harmful light frequencies (BlueGuardVR). Jay Uhdinger told VRRelated “After working with Pit on Gauss Eyewear in 2015 we decided to do VR Lens Lab because we have the whole infrastructure to make this work already in place.”

The Kickstarter campaign for VR Lens Lab was launched on Tuesday, 19 Jan, 2015 by the company, based in Stuttgart, Germany. The downside to launching a campaign like this via Kickstarter is that “prescription lenses are medical devices in the US and you are not allowed to sell this on Kickstarter.” Jay Uhdinger explains. This means that VR Lens Labs are only able to advertise non prescription lenses as part of the campaign. Which, as you can imagine, can be a hinderance if that happens to be the crux of your product. Nevertheless, the campaign is still getting a lot of support based on the benefits that the idea presents, as the BlueGuardVR coated lenses also provide protection from harmful blue light for users that don’t wear glasses.

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We asked what this restriction means for backers, and Jay Uhdinger told us that:

“Right now they can buy lens caps for 9 Euro, prescription adapters for 9 Euro, and later prescription lenses for 29 Euro for regular coated lenses or 39 Euro for lenses coated with Blueguard VR. We also offer lens protectors, to prevent scratches, that are easy to clean, for 19 Euro and Blueguard VR lens protectors for 29 Euro. Some people also simply donated money because they love the idea. We send out super soft microfiber cleaning cloths to them. We really appreciate the support.

Backers that would also like to purchase the additional prescription lenses will be able to do so from the GaussEyewear website. Where they will provide “any prescription from +10 dpt to -10 dpt, and correct for things like astigmatism to give you whatever you need.” These lenses will be available after the Kickstarter campaign has finished. The lenses attach to the headset via the adapter so “they will not affect the field of view (FOV)” of the device. (Uhdinger)

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The campaign is currently aimed at GearVR users and the biggest problem at the moment, according to Jay Uhdinger, is that “It is now hard to get in touch with Samsung Gear VR owners because many of them are way more casual than those people who own DK2s.” So if you know anyone that you think may benefit from a project of this nature then feel free to spread the word.

As well as GearVR, Jay is also working on adapters for the HTC’s Vive, and, Facebook owned, Oculus Rift. He told us, “we are confident we have a good solution for the HTC Vive and some good ideas and prototypes for the Oculus Rift. We will have adapters for all popular consumer VR HMDs at launch or shortly after”. However, they wont be designing for older models such as the GearVR innovator addition due to design complications.

The lenses will be available as standard lenses, or as BlueGuardVR editions. BlueGurardVr editions will come with a ‘superhydrophobic’ coating that offer an “anti static” surface that stops particles from sticking, as well as, protection from dangerous blue light frequencies, an EMI coating that “blocks electromagnetic interferences and an array of other features.

You can find out more about VR Lens Lab and GaussEyewers offerings, by heading over to the Kickstarter page, or the VR Lens Labs website.  Or you can check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

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