HTC has been taking the virtual/augmented reality game seriously for a while now. From the HTC Vive Pro to the Vive Cosmo, the Taiwanese tech giants are helping to push the boundaries of VR/AR and its applications like no other. Its next step in creating lightweight headsets for VR certainly caught our eyes, and “Project Proton” seems like a viable next move.
As CEO Yves Maitre put it, the new headsets will look “really, really close to normal glasses.” Judging from the images, they come closer to old-timey aviator goggles than conventional eyewear, but we’ll take it. Considering the size and look of most VR headsets, these are definitely an improvement.
The future of VR
In a statement to Engadget, an HTC spokesperson stated that “Project Proton is a prototype of a future XR glasses-style device from HTC Vive that we hope to hear feedback on from the community as we continue to work on the product.” While no information on the specs has been revealed, it does hint at plans to move into 5G connectivity (externally) and mixed reality.
These come in the two variants of Project Proton. The all-in-one headset appears to have the processing unit housed at the back, improving balance while keeping the visor small. Two attachments at the side are likely for headphones. The other variant will need to be combined with an external processing unit, such as a smartphone, to experience VR. There are no speakers, so it will likely use your general earbuds and earphones.
Both devices seem to have front-facing cameras that will either be used for tracking or for a passthrough view of your surroundings. They are certainly less hefty than headsets we are used to, so the weight will be less of an issue.
VR competition heats up
At this stage, many questions will remain about Project Proton. The competition between HTC, Oculus, Valve, and (to a lesser extent) PlayStation will only heat up in the future. We will definitely be keeping an eye on these prototypes, as the VR realm continues to amaze.