Bigscreen is a virtual reality company that’s best known for its app that lets you watch movies & TV shows in a virtual theater with a 100-screen or access your PC desktop in your headset. Now the company is getting into the hardware game with the launch of its own headset.
The Bigscreen Beyond is said to be “the world’s smallest VR headset.” That could make it comfortable enough to actually wear for an extended period while watching a 2-3 hour movie. And the experience should be pretty nice thanks to a custom-built face cushions meant to conform to your face and high-res OLED displays. But at $999, the headset isn’t cheap, and that cost doesn’t include third-party gear like headphones and position tracking hardware.
Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.
VR Veteran Studio Behind ‘Bigscreen’ Unveils Thin & Light PC VR Headset ‘Beyond’ [RoadToVR]
Bigscreen Beyond is a $999 VR headset said to be the world’s lightest, at just 127 grams. It has dual 2560 x 2560 pixel 90 Hz OLED displays and a custom fit mesh (you scan your face with an iPhone). External hardware needed for position tracking and audio. It’s up for pre-order now and should begin shipping in the third quarter of 2023.
Hangover Project Restarted To Run Windows 32-bit/64-bit Apps On ARM64/PPC64 & More [Phoronix]
Hangover is an open source tool that leverages Wine and QEMU to let you run some Windows x86 apps on Linux systems with ARM64 chips. I first wrote about it in 2020, but it’s been on hiatus since for several years, but development has picked up again thanks to WoW64 support in Wine.
Balthazar – An open-source hardware modular RISC-V, Arm, or FPGA laptop [CNX Software]
The Balthazar project aims to create an open source 13.3 inch laptop that can use RISC-V, ARM, or FPGA processors thanks to a modular design based on the EOMA68 project. Under development since 2019, it’s not available yet, but work is progressing.
ChromeOS 111 shows a preview of custom keyboard shortcuts [About Chromebooks]
ChromeOS 111 could bring support for custom keyboard shortcuts. Already avaialble in the beta channel to those who enable a set of experimental flags, the feature lets you choose custom key combos to close or switch tabs, position windows, and more.
Windows 11 will soon control your RGB lighting for PC gaming accessories [The Verge]
Microsoft might bring support for controlling RGB lighting on keyboards, mice, and other accessories to Window 11, no third-party software required.
Keep up on the latest headlines by following @[email protected] on Mastodon. You can also follow Liliputing on Twitter and Facebook, and keep up with the latest open source mobile news by following LinuxSmartphones on Twitter and Facebook.
EYEDAK just dropped the vrAse A2 VR/AR/XR headset for mobile phones – with an interesting distribution model via Github – but it’s a bit lacking on details, such as specifications of the lenses, field of view in degrees, material from which the fully pre-assembled model is 3D printed, recommended settings if you decide to 3D print it yourself etc.
It doesn’t seem possible to find any e-mail address via which to contact them and ask, only social media accounts.
Would be interested if you’re able to dig anything up in relation to these questions, Mr. Linder!
Looking at comments from the company’s 2019 Kickstarter campaign for the first-gen Eyedak, I’m not sure it’s worth giving the vrAse A2 much attention.
That said, hers what Eyedak responded when I posted your questions to them on their LinkedIn post:
“field of view is approximately (depending on smartphone screen size, how tight straps are, and other factors) 90º. vrAse was designed to be printed with PLA, the most basic of 3d printed materials, It can be printed also with PETG, ABS, etc but you may need to adjust flow to ensure part fitting. “
Hello Mr. Linder,
First, thank you for reaching out to them and reporting their response here, much appreciated. I also understand from one of their most recent Kickstarter comments that they will:
“publish in the coming weeks more info; printing tips, materials, apps. etc.” so I look forward to reading what that information is.
I have also found an e-mail address for them (it was under the “Social” tab on their website, which didn’t occur to me because of the implication that it was just social media accounts…) and will send them a list of questions so I’ll see what I get back and report here.
I would like to clarify that I have no affiliation whatsoever with EYEDAK and only became aware of them after watching last year’s “Glitch” series and then looking up best recommended smartphone VR/AR headsets; vrAse was highly recommended as a market leader in that segment in old (2014-) and recent (2021) articles. And that’s when I discovered they were planning on launching an updated version. Interestingly, this updated version appears to return to their roots in that it is 3D printed rather than the previous generation that was injection moulded. I somewhat agree with their rationale about the advances of tech going into smartphones and think it could definitely be a cost effective VR/AR solution once smartphones have microLED screens (to completely get over the screen door effect and reduce battery consumption) because then you’ll have the versatility of using your always-with-you handset as a smartphone and, when you want, as a VR/AR screen.
I have now read through the last 500 comments on their Kickstarter to get a better overview of what was going on and, with apologies in advance for the following essay, I would like to humbly suggest that it may be a little hasty to dismiss them.
It’s pretty clear that, as with many such Kickstarters, the project management failed to be sufficiently communicative over many years (although apparently their Twitter feed was updated relatively regularly, not that that helped their backers…), including frequently misleading timeline projections, and whilst they acknowledged that failing multiple times they failed to actually correct it, even after some time consuming industrial partnership negotiations fell through. They also failed to refund the backers who had demanded refunds – it seems they used up all the funds (and then some) in progressing the project. There also appears to have been quite a significant amount of trolling and by one person in particular (who reportedly goes by different names under multiple different Kickstarter accounts) – out of the last 500 comments, username “- REFUND -” appears 185 times (with few mentions by other users – i.e. that particular user has dominated the Kickstarter project’s comments), overwhelmingly recommending one particular competitor’s product and at one point even actively encouraging an EYEDAK employee to abscond with the backers’ funds for financing a holiday! This person continued to insist that EYEDAK had defrauded all their backers and wasn’t using the funds for the project, which was disproven by
“They also went to the police to inform on our (alleged by them) fraudulent crowd-funding campaign. Both Police Scotland and Action Fraud (national fraud and internet crime reporting centre) investigated the claims and found nothing wrong about the campaign. They even carried out AML (Anti Money Laundering) checks on us.
We provided all the documentation they required to proof that the money was being used correctly. Invoices regarding final lens design and manufacturing, product design and industrialization, CNC prototypes…etc.
Unfortunately, while they were conducting their enquiries our bank account was blocked (that’s the normal procedure in this kind of investigations) so we couldn’t access to the funds thus increasing the delay in our work even more.”
BUT, unlike most such Kickstarters, they didn’t run off with the money and in the end they did actually manufacture and ship hundreds of units to their backers, a product which was miles better in quality than that for which the backers had pledged, including certified lenses with the following characteristics:
“measurements came from the laboratory and they confirmed that distortion is 12%…Better that other solutions achieve with dual lenses. Image sharpen is incredible and artifacts present in Fresnel derivative lenses are non-existent.”
apparently a process which “took us almost two years to complete”
as well as a field of view purely
“in square ratios usually hover around 105 to 95 degrees…”;
“For 5’5″ screens you should expect around 85 degrees”;
and, if it’s worth quoting
“but… with vrAse your brain sensation of immersion though is much bigger, because you can see more screen of the smartphone”
I assume that the lenses for the A2 will be those same lenses that were developed through the Kickstarter but I hope to receive clarification on this from EYEDAK.
There are a handful of comments indicating that some backers never received their units but it’s pretty clear that EYEDAK has the data to back up the dates and times when address survey and shipped confirmation messages/e-mails were sent out to each backer. They are trying to make arrangements with those whose units may have been mislaid by the shipping company/postal service agent etc. so by the looks of it those particular backers will end up with this new generation as a significant upgrade without having to pay extra. I really hope that to complete making amends, EYEDAK uses any profits from sales of the A2 to refund those Kickstarter backers who requested refunds.
EYEDAK responded to feedback such as:
“Thanks a lot for the feedback Greg, we have started with your comment to gather as much information as possible to improve. While plastics look weak, they are quite strong… is a classical trade-off situation were adding stiffness immediately adds weight to vrAse, we settled with a compromise we were happy with (that ended almost 100 grams less than Carl Zeiss VRone). Possitioning is also quite tricky as there are so many smartphones! vrAse is universal by nature, so again, certain tradeoffs were made.”
There were some backers who, upon receiving their Kickstarter units, gave feedback on issues such as inability to wear glasses with those units but EYEDAK didn’t dismiss/ignore them; instead they responded by developing solutions specifically to address and correct that experience.
As well as complete specifications, something else that EYEDAK still really needs to communicate in order for their users to get the best out of their headsets is which external controllers would be recommended. For example, which Bluetooth or NFC tag controllers they’ve found work best and whether it would be compatible with the Leap Motion sensors, like the Durovis Dive. (There are also open source implementations of the SDK for some Leap Motion sensors). EYEDAK could update (or third parties could contribute pull requests for) their Github repository to include 3D print files for a mount that would fit such sensors to the A2.
Finally, the best summary I could find of the challenges faced and overcome by EYEDAK in their Kickstarter comes in the form of their following comments:
“These past years have been very hard; haters, creating a totally new product category from a ridiculous idea (putting the smartphone in front of your face), building a startup, raising capital (whole project was much much more expensive of what we raised at here at KS) , suffering paid trolls, building outside china with high labor costs (you know, where people have rights and that sort of things), scammers-dressed-as-financiers, an internal mutiny, rogue suppliers, big companies copying us after we did meetings with them and said our idea “had no future”, national and international press accusing us of scammers (and a famous search engine “conveniently” positioning bad news against us, because, guess what…they launched a vrAse made of cardboard a couple of years after us) …list of bad things is such a ridiculous huge one…but!… we kept pushing through and meanwhile, thanks to the wonders of digitalization, we have a detailed record of everything that was happening to us, so in the future we could tell the whole story.”
“Of course, there will always be higher end solutions than vrAse…with its corresponding price tag 😉 . vrAse is a simple, yet elegant solution for a problem that still exists…and that is corporate greed that keeps feeding programmed obsolescence devices down consumers throats. One example? standalone devices; or as we say around here “vrAse with a glued smartphone inside”. Just check “next generation Quest standalone” coming next year… with wait for it…half of today´s smartphone performance https://www.anandtech.com/show/13392/the-iphone-xs-xs-max-review-unveiling-the-silicon-secrets/4 That´s “next generation”? A closed ecosystem product, coming from a company with privacy scandals, with already obsolete specs”
“This update is to inform you about a founder name change on the Vrase project in Kickstarter.
As you may know, Louise Bankhead was since the beginning, only a representative of the Eyedak Team. The company was established when we created the project, but we did not have all the legal requirements to name the project under the company’s denomination. As she is not working any longer on the company, since September 2014, it is time to pass on the Kickstarter project to the real Eyedak Team, who will keep you updated with the progress. We are working closely with Kickstarter to remove Louise’s name and rename the Created By as the Eyedak Team.
There are some checks to do and soon you will notice the change.”
“There was nothing “shady” about project being transferred to us. It was totally abandoned by the person you commented, so we had to push through with our funds and time to complete it. If you want more info we´ll be more than glad to give you a detailed explanation.
es…vrAse A1 project has been surrealistic-crazy stuff from the beginning. These are five (among others) reasons for our time-wrap-dilation;
· Decision to make a much better device than showed in the campaign. We could have gone and ship that device, but we made the bet to deliver much more…maybe was a mistake…but once we made the choosing there was no turning back.
· Very limited funds => we had to do “extreme-economic-hypermiling”, lowering the speed to a minimum as to lower burn-rate also to a minimum. How many KS projects in the meantime failed with much more funds than ours?
· We started from an idea…like…there were no devices like ours (remember, vrAse was about two years before guugle launched their vrAse-made-of-cardboard-burn-your-eyes thing), so we had to start from scratch.
· Lenses are certified; this process took us almost two years to complete.
· vrAse is made in Europe, Spain; slower than china for sure, but one very good thing is that we had to learn how to do everything by ourselves, and stablished a solid ground for future devices.”
The Asus Proart-studiobook-16-3d-oled… now this laptop has more potential… yet as amazing as it is I still hope that it flops. VR/AR might have some useful niche applications but imagine all of your software having to adapt to these frivolous new expensive gadgets just like the desktop is currently transforming due to the dominance of the smartphone. Last thing we need is to pump more of our money into these corporations without thinking about the cost it has on us.
Virtual monitors and keyboards / USI styli are great, why can’t I detect the AR lenses on these!? Or a facial expression tell in case you want to communicate? Will we only be able to use light sabers in work from home convos then? It’s been 30-35 years since the first goggles thing, at least there’s Jeri Ellis’s 3 D playfield thing.
I’d buy cheap knockoff for $9.99 to wear in public just to creep people out.
Would be cool to eventually be able to play Windows games on ARM assuming the performance of ARM chips are good/comparable to x86 chips usually used in handhelds and they stay fanless. Although, the use of QEMU doesn’t evoke feelings of performance even if the ARM chip is fast.
Anyway, I’ll probably be buying x86 handhelds and installing a Linux distro on them for a long while.
RK3588(S) might provide the experience you’re looking for on ARM?