Luci Debuts VR Headset Based on MicroOLEDs

Luci (Santa Clara, Ca), a division of AT Holding (Beijing, China), has unveiled a virtual reality headset based on micro-OLEDs. The product is called the Luci Immers and is described as a “portable, lightweight wearable ‘personal cinema’ that delivers an incredible visual experience for entertainment.”

The Luci Immers headset operates when tethered to any one of a variety of mobile computing sources:

  • Smartphones, laptops, PCs and tablets using the USB-C port.
  • PCs, laptops, gaming devices such as PS4, Switch and others using an HDMI cable.
  • Apple devices via a Lightning to USB-C adapter.

In conjunction with the headset’s optical system, the dual 0.7 inch microOLEDs enable the equivalent of a display with a virtual 1,023 inch screen as seen from a viewing distance of 20 m. With this the case, the image is similar to that experienced in a typical movie theater. In addition, the Luci Immers headset is capable of presenting video imagery in stereoscopic 3D.

The company describes the headset as comfortable to wear and offers several reasons why this is so. In addition to being light and physically compact, the headset uses a curved design to fit the forehead. A soft, skin-friendly cotton and felt cushion is used in a forehead band and around the eyes.

The Luci Immers uses a modular design that offers the user three head mount options:

  • Glasses: The most portable configuration. This option is not compatible with user worn glasses.
  • Head band: Provides the easiest way to put on and take off the headset. No adjustments are required. The headband option is described as compatible with user worn glasses.
  • Crown: The “halo” allows the user to flip up the main body of the headset making it easy to switch between different use cases. This configuration provides the least pressure on the user’s face and is described as compatible with user worn glasses.

Specifications and features of the Luci Immers headset include the following:

  • Physical dimensions: 50 mm high x 168 mm wide x 47 mm deep. (Represented as physically more compact than other headsets having similar capabilities.)
  • Weight: 180g. (Represented as “lite” and similar in weight to typical ski goggles.)
  • Display resolution: two 1920 x 1080.
  • Pixel density: 3147 pixel per inch. (Described as 6 times the pixel density of a typical display used in a smartphone.)
  • Response time of less than one millisecond.
  • Field of view: 70 degrees.
  • Contrast ratio: 100,000:1.
  • Color space: 114% SRGB. 24 bit color depth.
  • Brightness: 500 nits.
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz.
  • Interpupillary distance is adjustable from 55 mm to 71 mm.
  • Sensors: gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer.
  • 3.5 mm audio jack.
  • Bluetooth remote.
  • Uses three degrees of freedom control and an infrared sensor.

A video at the end of this article illustrates and discusses the Luci Immers headset. A blow up of the Luci Immers headset is illustrated in the figure below.

A blow up illustration of the Luci Immers headset.

Luci Immers premium product version comes with a plastic cover, while the exclusive version comes with a metal cover. All the other aspects of the headset are the same.

The design of the Luci Immers headset was optimized for use in conjunction with streaming media. Also available is an app that enables exclusive content in 2D, 3D, 4K, 8K, 360 degree and games. Luci Home is the company’s official content platform. It supports Windows, Mac OSX, iOS and Android.

It should be noted that an additional consequence of the headset design is that the Luci Immers product is less suited for gamers. This is due to the fact that the displays in the headset refresh at 60 Hz while video for VR games is best to run with a refresh rate of 90 or 120 Hz. The higher frame rate for games is intended to provide better immersion and minimize cyber sickness.

Luci has chosen to utilize an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign to transition the Luci Immers headset into production. The campaign can be found here. The campaign has been highly successful and is already significantly oversubscribed. At the time this article is written, $212,327 has been pledged by 465 backers towards a flexible goal of $25,000. The campaign was scheduled to close on April 4th.

The retail price of the Luci Immers headset is expected to be about $1,000. The headsets are reported as currently in production and expected to ship in early fall of this year.

One on-line review reports that the quality of the image produced by the Luci Immers headset is quite good, noting in particular that there were no screen door or ghosting artifacts. While the imagery may be impressive, Luci would still seem to have at least one real challenge in commercializing the company’s new product. The problem derives from that fact that the price of the Luci Immers headset will be much higher than the price of the products with which it will compete. – Arthur Berman