The 2020 prototype is now a real product about to enter the market: the MeganeX, a 5.2K HDR VR headset from Shiftall appears to have all the right things to change how VR is perceived in the future.
Shiftall, a fully owned subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation, presented at CES 2022 the MeganeX which is an ultra-lightweight, 5.2K HDR VR headset supporting 6 degree-of-freedom (DoF) head position detection and various SteamVR applications. ProVideo Coalition covered the evolution of the project, first in 2020, as Panasonic introduced the prototype at CES that year, and then in 2021, during the virtual edition of CES, as Panasonic revealed more details about the VR headset.
Back in 2020, when the prototype was revealed at CES, we wrote that “designed to offer a comfortable fit that makes users feel as if they were wearing eyeglasses, the VR eyeglasses from Panasonic are a high performance display device equipped with a micro OLED panel”, and one year later, at CES 2021, Panasonic revealed the second generation of the headset used 2.6K OLED panels and was designed for extended use and portability, in a “use anywhere” solution that uses 5G mobile devices and PCs for connectivity. One interesting piece of information about Panasonic’s VR Glasses is that they offer Inter-Pupillary Distance (IPD) and diopter adjustment options, which has been a key request from users in new models of VR headsets.
A VR headset for Virtual Production
All the key specifications are confirmed now, as Shiftall Inc., a fully owned subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation, shows at CES 2022 the MeganeX which is an ultra-lightweight, 5.2K HDR VR headset supporting 6 degree-of-freedom (DoF) head position detection and various SteamVR applications. The MeganeX has a very small form factor thanks to Kopin’s 1.3″ displays and the slim Pancake optics. The small, lightweight form factor makes the glasses comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, unlike today’s bulky VR headsets. The very advanced VR glasses also provide, as promised, for interpupillary distance (IPD) and diopter adjustments so that they can be used without corrective lenses. The foldable frame with built-in speakers makes it easy to carry.
The MeganeX 5.2K HDR VR headset will appeal to consumers, as it offers not only a viable solution for Virtual Reality gaming – through SteamVR with more compatibility promised for the future), but also to watch movies using apps like Bigscreen. But the VR headset may also play an important role in Virtual Production, as the film industry moves in that direction, and needs VR headsets that are easier to use and take around. The prototype from Panasonic now turned product by Shiftall may well be a key accessory for the future of filmmaking.
A studio-quality, HDR VR experience
The 2.6K x 2.6K OLED DoC is designed with Kopin’s patented backplane architecture that reduces power consumption and delivers very high frame rates up to 120 Hz and 10 bits of color (30 full-color bits). Utilizing its patent-pending ColorMax technology, Kopin has been working with its partner, Lakeside Optoelectronic Technology Co., Ltd., to optimize the duo-stack OLED structure to output color spectrum to match the bandpass of the color filters for high color fidelity (> 100% sRGB), coupled with very high Current Efficiency for high brightness (> 1000 nits). The 30-bit color control, together with the high color fidelity, high brightness and high contrast ratio (> 10,000: 1), enables the much-desired studio-quality, HDR VR experience.
Kopin’s world’s first all-plastic Pancake optics (named P95) optimized for Kopin’s 1.3″ 2.6K x 2.6K OLED microdisplay provide a large field of view (equivalent to > 200 inches viewed from 3-m distance) and offer better image quality, much smaller size, lighter weight and lower cost than anything previously available.
“It is necessary for VR glasses to be lightweight and comfortable to wear as well as deliver life-like images in order to be widely accepted to consumers,” said Takuma Iwasa, CEO of Shiftall. “Kopin’s unique 2.6K x 2.6K OLED display and all-plastic Pancake optics are the key to achieving these objectives. We are very pleased with our close partnership with Kopin for the development of our VR glasses.”
From cumbersome VR headsets to the MeganeX
“We have had a long-standing collaborative development program with Panasonic and Lakeside, and each company has contributed its core elements of the technology and design – for the ultimate VR Glasses that have both high-performance and a sleek, comfortable design,” said Dr. John C.C. Fan, President and CEO of Kopin. “We look forward to seeing Shiftall delight their customers with these magnificent VR Glasses.”
The Shiftall VR Glasses will be shown today, January 6th, at Kopin’s suite at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino during the reception (6:00 – 8:30 pm) and Fireside Chat (7:00 pm) with Dr. Fan and Chris Chinnock (Insight Media, Inc. & 8K Association). As expected, the conversation will also be about the Metaverse, which is a mandatory theme these days… as the Virtual World Second Life – which is a metaverse without VR – was two decades ago!
On a more serious note, the Shiftall VR Glasses may find their right place in Virtual Production, if they are made compatible with the tools now available. The lightweight and compact MeganeX, with its high resolution, looks like the ideal par of “glasses” for filmmakers to enter their virtual sets. 2022 starts with an exciting note about Virtual Reality. Meaning filmmakers like Jon Favreau, Rob Legato and the whole team who looked like nerds using cumbersome VR headsets for The Lion King production will have a better solution to work on their next projects using Virtual Production.