Continual use of HMD’s (head mounted displays) can be rigorous.
Frequent users can be plagued by the all-too-common ails of “sweaty Rifts”, not to mention cheekbone chafing from the tight fit.
But an aptly named Kickstarter called About Face aims to make strapping a virtual reality headset to your face a lot more comfortable.
Crafted by neuroscientist and VR developer Eric Greenbaum, About Face is centered around two main goals: to make extended use ofvirtual reality more comfortable and clean.
Using an ergonomic foam accessory that’s molded to fit HMD’s like the Oculus Rift, the product provides a padded barrier between the user’s face and the peripheral.
It also wicks sweat from your face.
As Greenbaum states in the Kickstarter, About Face was something that was “born out of necessity” to meet a very real need of the VR community.
“The About Face project was born out of necessity. My first foray into VR development was a mountain biking exercise simulator called Project Singletrack. While experimenting with that system I quickly ran into issues with my Rift getting sweaty.
” Around the same time, I founded the NY VR Meetup and noticed that sweaty Rifts were not just a problem for VR exercise but for the VR community at large.
“In thinking about the problem, I realized how important HMD ergonomics and hygiene were going to be for widespread adoption of VR technology.”
The liners themselves are made of “microfiber encapsulated dual foam layers” that are scientifically designed to ergonomically distribute pressure evenly to the major points of a person’s face. As for comfort, the foam inserts provide “soft, luxurious wicking contact surface for your skin” and are washable.
The project is a great leap forwards for virtual reality in terms of ease of use and accessibility. With products like these on the market, users will see the peripheral as a more inviting experience, rather than a daunting tirade of fatigue and discomfort.
The project is also pioneering a movement to meet the “unmet human needs” of the VR community with the ergonomic system, and is directly contributing to the growth of the emerging platform.
Form factor and ease of use are major elements to the launch of any interactive product, and About Face looks like it ticks all the right boxes.
So far the Kickstarter has met half its $12,000 goal with 29 days remaining, proving that gamers and VR developers are keen on the idea. It’ll be interesting to see how much funding is raised over the next few weeks and whether or not About Face will adapt a solution to other HMD’s in the future.
About Face is currently compatible with the Oculus Rift DK1 and DK2 models. For more information be sure to drop by the product’s official website.