In an unexpected but rather welcome move, Sony revealed today they will show a prototype augmented reality helmet at the upcoming Tokyo Game Show.
Going after the name of “Prototype-SR”, the new device appears to be a modified version of the recently announced HMZ-T2 head-mounted display with added features such as a camera (for “seeing through” the visor) and a head tracking system (located in the little black box attached to the lower part of the device).
The description of the announcement video (embedded below) reads as follows (from Japanese, via Google Translate)
People, how far immersive?
It experiments explore the possibility of new entertainment
“Institute immersive pleasure HMZ” head mounted display
Has been developed for the open experiment, models with head tracking system / live camera
Tokyo Game Show head-mounted display “PROTOTYPE-SR” Limited 2012 Specifications
※ jointly developed with RIKEN team Fujii
New 360 degree immersive entertainment sensation
World of the music of the movie world flew in to the real world
Experiments conducted public 9/22, 23
(Deadline September 13, 2012) in recruiting an experience
You will witness the future of entertainment
Even tho there are no plans yet to actually commercialize this product (“experiment” is mentioned 3 times in the above description), it’s rather interesting that Sony has decided to introduce this prototype at the Tokyo Game Show rather than at a more “generic” consumer electronic show like CES.
Moreover, even tho the inclusion of a camera hints at AR applications, the head tracking feature of the Prototype-SR suggests it might very well evolve into a virtual reality headset, not unlike the Oculus Rift.
Maybe a virtual reality helmet for the PlayStation 4 is not out of the realm of possibilities after all.
Kudos to NeoGAF for spotting this.