Virtual reality glasses: now for the masses

Update: March, 06/2016 - 14:18

Another dimension: Two students at VNU University of Engineering and Technology have designed a new model of virtual reality glasses to help more people access VR technology. — VNS Photos Đoàn Tùng

by Minh Trang
Two students at VNU University of Engineering and Technology have designed a new model of virtual reality (VR) glasses "Made in Việt Nam" to help access VR technology.

Three-dimensional technology is becoming increasingly popular around the world, with a range of interactive devices being continuously invented, such as 3D glasses, 3D television, and especially VR glasses.

With VR glasses and a smartphone, users can fully get immersed in 3D movies and games, or check out the world's wonders in a virtual environment that is becoming very real, while sitting, standing or just walking about the same room.

The idea came to the students after Vũ Việt Anh, 22, had a virtual reality experience with Google's Cardboard glasses.

"Though Google Cardboard glasses work quite effectively, I realised its weakness that it can be easily damaged. Then I tried the other companies' products of higher quality, but they are too expensive, costing about US$100 or more for one," Anh said.

"It is very difficult for the users, especially students, who love modern technology but have low income, to own one," he said.
From late 2014, Anh and his friend Vũ Đình Hải worked together to design a virtual reality product of good quality and reasonable price.
However, translating ideas into reality is not an easy process and requires the makers to take a lot of effort and have determination.
Students always lack time, money and transportation. But in order to make their dream come true, they are willing to face difficulties and challenges.

New reality: With Sky VR glasses, users can check out the world’s wonders in a virtual enviroment that is becoming very real.

Because these students are majoring in information technology, they had to spend a lot of time learning how to design the model, which they really didn't know well enough.

"Moreover, a lot of people seemed to hesitate when co-operating with us because they wondered if students like us really want to co-operate," Anh said.

They then had to work hard at taking the first steps, such as finding the start-up capital, selecting materials and finding a place to cut and assemble the parts for creating a finished product.

Finally, fortune smiled on them. Sky VR, the first virtual reality glasses made by Vietnamese students, was launched in May 2015.
This success depended heavily on the help of a  teacher, who listened to their ideas, helped the group get a better understanding of the operating principle and also invested fully in the project.

That teacher was Đặng Đình Long, a 35-year-old lecturer of VNU University of Engineering and Technology. He said, "I was very lucky to live in America for seven years and found that the research activities of students in the academic environment there have developed strongly and have been supported fully by the universities as well as many industrial partners. Therefore, when Anh and Hải asked for help, I was willing to support them in pursuing their passion.

"I am also a technophile and I found that their idea of VR glasses made by students was very interesting. If these glasses are in the market for a reasonable price, more and more students will have easier access to them. They can even design specialised software using VR technology to interact with the virtual world."

Launching Sky VR glasses has achieved an initial goal of the students to bring virtual technology closer to everybody.
Sky VR is made of Foamex board, which is lighter than plastic but more durable than cardboard.

These glasses, based on the general operating principle of VR glasses, use two converging lenses. They enable the wearer to see three-dimensional images that give an illusion of depth and perception.

Sky VR glasses' display quality isn't inferior to other products, but the price is much lower at only VNĐ200.000 (US$9).
"If the glasses are designed exactly in accordance with the principle of the converging lens, they will not affect users' eyes," Hải said.
The introduction of Sky VR glass is the first successful step of young students, who are busy with studies and exams at the university but still try to pursue their dream.

"We have gone through many arguments and many failed attempts, and even wanted to give up several times. However, looking back at the efforts we took, we encouraged each other to achieve this dream," Hải said.

The two students said they haven't thought much about the future yet. First of all, they want to concentrate on the upcoming graduation exams. Then, they are likely to upgrade and produce better products.

They also want to get the attention of users and the cooperation of the potential investors for developing  a virtual reality industry, created by young Vietnamese people, which will become more popular in the future. — VNS