Playing a virtual reality game while wearing glasses can be extremely frustrating, not to mention headache-inducing. Interestingly, Sony has filed a patent for prescription glasses compatible with virtual reality headsets, seeking to improve eye-tracking performance for four-eyed players.
According to Siliconera, the VR-compatible prescription glasses patent, filed in December 2017 and published last Friday, states that the problem with wearing regular prescription glasses while using the headsets is improper eye tracking movement. That is, the VR headset cannot determine the direction of the gaze of the player wearing glasses as accurately as it would that of the player without glasses, which causes blurriness, distortion, reflections, and other negative side effects, especially since the glasses don’t stay firmly in place during play.
Sony believes the remedy for this discrepancy would be to make the prescription glasses the source of the eye-tracking instead of the VR headset itself.
This is also interesting because the current PlayStation VR model does not support eye-tracking at all.
The glasses would contain system components that can detect when the player mounts the VR headset and activate the sensors to detect their gaze, then transmit the information back to the VR display, as shown in the picture above. The headset, possibly a newer model of the PlayStation VR, would be equipped with a camera to further detect the exact physical position of the glasses, which can create accurate focusing of the player’s gaze and provide greater tracking without creating the aforementioned nasty side effects.
For even more precise tracking, the glasses might be equipped with infrared LEDs on the lens and transmit data on the model and power level of the glasses.
This sounds like an interesting concept for bespectacled gamers who want to experience at-home VR gaming without winding up at the doctor’s office with a massive migraine the next day, but given how much money they’re already paying for glasses, especially those with blue light filters for prolonged screen exposure, there’s a slight chance it’ll come to fruition. And since glasses come in different shapes and frames, depending on the person, Sony would need to collaborate with eyeglass providers such as LensCrafters in order to create lenses suitable for VR gameplay–if optical insurance companies will cover them.
Of course, this is all theory for now. Not all patents become actual products, and many remain forever in the realm of “what could have been.” This shouldn’t be taken as a clear indication that Sony is actually planning this kind of product, nor that future PlayStation VR model will support eye-tracking.
If you’d like to read more about Sony Interactive Entertainment’s virtual reality efforts, you can check out the latest trailer of Everybody’s Golf VR, and the reveal of Playstation VR support in Concrete Genie.