Sports gear suppliers can now make your first virtual reality headset with the help of a new company.
The company is called Hyperkin, and its founder and CEO, John A. Williams, was born and raised in Hawaii.
Williams says he was a big fan of the Oculus Rift and its virtual reality capabilities, and that when Hyperkin was created he knew he had to do something with the technology.
“The idea was just to create a headset that could be worn on the body, so if you wanted to wear your VR headset on your face you could,” Williams says.
“I remember a couple of people asking me, ‘So how do we do that?’ and I thought, ‘Well, I’ve got a couple companies doing this right now.’
And then I started to think about, how do you make this stuff that would be compatible with the Rift?’
And so, we built Hyperkin.”
Williams began the company in 2014 and has been working on VR headsets since.
“We’re very focused on bringing VR to the consumer,” Williams explains.
“For me personally, VR is the next big thing for me because I think that’s the future of everything.”
Hyperkin offers a headset for $400, and it includes a pair of head straps, two memory cards and a USB cable, so it’s all ready to go when you order.
Hyperkin will be available for $399 when it launches in late September, and the company says it will offer a limited number of headset types, and more details on that later.
The headset comes with a battery, but it’s not the cheapest one you can buy, as Williams says it’s still going to be more than double the price of a normal headset.
“When I think about the cost of an Oculus Rift headset, it’s probably about $500,” Williams said.
“But when you’re doing a project like VR, I think you’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars, so the cost is not really that high.
So when we were looking at it, we realized we’re not going to get it for $500, so we said, ‘Okay, we’re going to build this for $300.’
And it’s been a little bit of a journey, but we’ve learned so much.”
The headset does require a special power source, and Williams says Hyperkin is going to offer a special plug that will allow the headset to work with different power sources.
He says it’ll also come with a charger, which is another new addition.
“One of the things that’s cool about Hyperkin and VR is that it’s the only company that will be offering these in-house, because they can actually make them,” Williams explained.
“They have an industrial designer that can actually create the parts and they’ve got the parts made by the factory and they have a factory that’s been designed specifically to make these.
So they have this industrial design that allows us to actually make the parts.”
Williams says the company has also worked with Oculus to design a VR goggles that have been tested for compatibility with the headset, but they’re not yet ready to put it to the test.
The VR goggles are expected to ship later this year, and Hyperkin says they’ll be available to purchase for $100 each.
Hyperkins will be competing with other headset makers, like Oculus, to make the best VR headset available for gamers.
“That’s where Hyperkin comes in,” Williams tells Polygon.
“Hyperkin is the only one that’s going to provide this headset, so that’s really where the game-changing stuff comes in.
So, we’ve been working really hard to make sure that we can do that and we’re also going to bring our VR experience to consumers.”
Williams also said Hyperkin can’t guarantee that the Oculus VR headset will work with all VR headsets.
“There are going to have to be a lot of different headsets that are coming out and the one that works with the Oculus headset is going, ‘OK, I’m going to go ahead and make that one,’ but that will not be compatible,” he said.
Williams will also talk more about Hyperkins new headset at the VRTech 2017 conference in Orlando this month.
“Now, Hyperkin has a history of creating really cool and innovative products,” Williams told Polygon, “and I think they have that history and we look forward to working with them.”