Virtual Reality

In spite of the fact that Virtual Reality seems to be taking over the world, it still has it’s share of naysayers. There are still those hangers-on who refuse to see the reality that is staring them in the face… pun absolutely intended. Most of these people must by now realize that they were wrong to doubt the successful resurgence of VR and they are simply holding their position in the faint glimmer of hope that this raging behemoth of an industry will trip over it’s laces and fall flat and they won’t have to admit they were wrong. With all of the major tech players involved, including Oculus, HTC, Valve, Sony and Google, that glimmer of hope now seems like a figment of their imagination. But there is one thing that could still kill VR before it has the chance to mature. Cooties.

That’s right, cooties. Germs. Disease, Gnarly funkage. Whatever you want to call it. These headsets can become filthy after prolonged use and possibly even spread disease. And though you probably received several cootie shots when you were in public school, you are going to want better protection than that. If this headset is going to be pressed against your face then you are going to want to be sure that it’s clean.

Imagine you went to a hotel and when you went into your room the pillows had no pillow cases on them. You call down to the front desk to let them know the mistake and they tell you that they don’t use pillow cases. I think most people would either check out immediately and find a new hotel or else sleep without a pillow. The thought of laying your head on something that countless other people have used with no protective barrier is revolting. And yet, out of box, the situation is very similar for users of VR headsets like the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive.

Oculus and HTC have put a good deal of thought into the ergonomics of their headsets in order to ensure that they are comfortable. HTC has their thick, formed facial foam that provides a good amount of padding and Oculus, while not as thick, uses two layers of foam to provide comfort. The problem with both of these headsets is that the designers did not seem to take into account just how hot it can be inside these units, especially on a crowded show floor or in the heat of midsummer. Sweat happens in these cases and that facial foam becomes like a sponge, sucking up the dirt and grime that the sweat is gathering off of your face and the face of the other people who have used the headset.

While hygiene of the entire unit is important, especially when demoing to a lot of people, the most important area when it comes to cleanliness has to be the facial interface. It’s vital to make sure that this area is easily washable and the best way to do that is to cover it with a washable sleeve that can be removed, or better yet, that doesn’t have to be because the cover itself can simply be wiped down with an antibacterial cloth. If the entire padding can be made washable and removable, even better.

2016 looks to be shaping up to be the year of VR, what with companies like Facebook’s Oculus and HTC having already released their headsets, Sony set to launch theirs in the coming months and even Google getting into the game this fall with their Daydream VR standard. It seems that our future is going to be full of pressing our faces into these machines to do everything from play video games, to watch movies to shopping. So maybe we should also try to make sure that 2016 is the year of VR hygiene as well.

To make sure that your headset is ready for the Year of VR Hygiene, visit our store.