In 2014 we first began producing hand-sewn cotton covers for the Oculus Rift Developers Kit. We’ve come a long way in the past three years, here we take a look back at the path we’ve taken from the first hand-made products to foam replacements and finally disposable covers.
Not long after the release of the HTC Vive in 2016 we began to offer cotton covers which were an instant, overwhelming success. Anybody who used their Vive for more than a few hours every day soon began to realize the stock foam could easily become unhygienic by absorbing sweat, oil and dirt. For personal use, cotton covers that attached over the headsets foam padding were the perfect answer due to the comfort and sweat absorption they offered.
After the success of cotton covers we went on to design foam replacements for the Vive and later the Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift. The main benefit of using foam replacements is the ease of use and customization allowed. We created foam padding with PU leather for easy cleaning, with cotton fabric for comfort and with thinner foam for improved field of view. In the case of the Oculus Rift we had to first design a custom facial interface that allowed foam replacements to be attached, it’s now a must-have accessory for Rift users.
At about this time, others began looking for their own solutions, an example being the infamous VR Ninja Masks that originated in Japan. Disposable masks create a simple barrier between the face and headset, the main benefit of them is that they’re cheap to produce. Unfortunately the paper thin material doesn’t stay in place well and can easily become distracting, it is also not good at absorbing sweat. Creating a solution for high volume environments such as VR arcades was our next aim and after testing hundreds of prototypes we decided on our new disposable hygiene covers.
What makes our disposable covers special is the sweat absorbing properties of the materials used along with a stick-on design that means no distractions while playing. This makes disposable covers the perfect choice for VR arcades who have thousands of people using the same headset each year, there’s no clean-up required by the owners and the customers can be confident they are not sharing germs. PU leather foam replacements offer some benefits, in that they’re easy to clean, however, imagine you’re just getting into a game of Holopoint on a hot summers day and begin to feel the sweat dripping down your face, this is where our disposable hygiene covers come in and allow you to keep playing harder and for longer without distractions.
VR fitness is the other main industry that has started to adopt the disposable hygiene covers. One of the main problems with current VR work-out experiences is sweat. If using PU leather foam replacements you are covered with regards to hygiene, but again, they don’t help with sweat dripping down the face or even worse, into the headset. Early results have shown that our disposable hygiene covers offer huge benefits to virtual reality exercise and will be a necessity for any gym looking to experiment with VR.