SomniumVR1 Headset September Update — Dates, Hardware, Optics, Mixed-Reality, Eye-Tracking, Hand-Tracking, Prusa3D, Packaging

Somnium Space
10 min readSep 5, 2023
Dates, Hardware, Optics, Mixed-Reality, Eye-Tracking, Hand-Tracking, Prusa3D, Packaging & more!

Over the past months, our team has been tirelessly refining every facet of the VR1 headset, ensuring it stands as a testament to our dedication to quality. From the form factor of the facemask to the precision of the IPD mechanism, from the refinement of eye tracking to the practicality of our cable and 3D printed holders, every detail matters. A great headset isn’t just about the visual experience; it’s about the holistic integration of design, functionality, and user experience. From the aesthetics of the plastics to the intricacies of the tiniest screws, we’ve left no stone unturned. Dive into this update to discover the latest advancements and get a glimpse of what lies ahead in our short-to-midterm timeline.

⚠️Dates, Reservations, Somnium Connect 2023 & more⚠️

The anticipation surrounding the Somnium VR1 has been palpable, and the question on everyone’s lips has been, “When?” While we’re keeping the exact release date under wraps for now (rest assured, it’s slated for this year), we’re thrilled to unveil our upcoming milestones. As September draws to a close, we will be launching a revamped Somnium Space website, which among many other things will prominently feature a dedicated section for the Somnium VR1 headset.

A sneak preview of our new upcoming Somnium Space website featuring SomniumVR1

Upon the website’s launch, you will have the unique opportunity to “Reserve Your Spot” for Somnium VR1 for FREE. But what does this mean? And why?! As with any physical production, scaling from first units to full line capacity is a phased process. The Somnium VR1 production line in the Czech Republic will similarly experience a gradual increase in production. Given the overwhelming demand we’ve already witnessed and received for our headset, which will already clearly surpass our initial production batch numbers, we’re offering our most ardent supporters (we look at you Texan, joy89, Fraza44 & others) the chance to secure their place in line. Those who will use this reservation opportunity will enjoy at least a 48-hour head start to purchase the headset when we open the gate, ensuring they’re the first to receive VR1 devices. Importantly, this reservation comes with no strings attached — there’s no need to provide payment details or commit financially.

Throwback at Somnium Connect 2021/2022 in preparation of Somnium Connect 2023/2024

Furthermore, as September concludes, we’ll be announcing the official dates for our in-person Somnium Connect 2023 conference in Prague. This event will showcase the Somnium VR1 headset, the Somnium V3 update, and many more incredible products / presentations from our creators and partners. And for those who reserve their VR1 spots? They’ll be granted priority access to secure tickets for Somnium Connect, a crucial advantage given the event’s limited capacity.

Do you have more questions? Want to ask Artur & team directly? Join us at MRTV live-stream this Friday at 10:00 a.m. CET and chat with us!

Upcoming SomniumVR1 MRTV live-stream happening on September 8th at 10:00 a.m. CET

Fine-tuning, fine-tuning & once again fine-tuning!

In the final stages of our pre-production phase, we are diligently working on refining the VR1 headset prototypes, ensuring they provide unparalleled comfort, even during extended VR sessions. Leveraging the 3D printing tech, we’ve been able to produce many iterations of the VR1 design.

For a sneak peek into our progress, take a look at the photos attached below. Captured just this week, these images spotlight one of our latest prototypes. The photos were taken in-house using an iPhone 13, set against our DIY photo booth backdrop. It’s worth noting that this isn’t just an engineering endeavor; we’ve been actively soliciting feedback from our entire team, ensuring we achieve that elusive balance of aesthetics, functionality, and comfort.

In this 4th release candidate prototype we test face-mask, buttons, weight distribution, cooling, IPD adjustment mechanism & anchor points durability.

Our plastic manufacturer is on standby fully prepared to initiate the mass production & fast deliveries of the finalized VR1 plastic parts. This not only guarantees the timely delivery of the finished plastics but also affords us the luxury of additional time to meticulously perfect every nuance of the headset’s design and functionality.

Particular emphasis has been placed on the ergonomics of the facemask. Our objective is to ensure optimal comfort across a diverse range of facial structures. To this end, we have conducted rigorous testing with over 50 individuals from our team, meticulously assessing the fit and comfort for various face shapes, nose contours, and eye placements. This ensures that the Somnium VR1 headset provides a universally comfortable experience.

This is 3D printed face-mask from the 4th ergonomics release candidate unit

Additionally, the Somnium VR1 is equipped with four tactile, programmable buttons located on the top of the device. Each button is undergoing detailed refinement to guarantee a satisfying touch, press, and click experience, aligning with our commitment to user-friendly design.

Somnium VR1 — base VR variant without hand-tracking & mixed-reality modules

A significant portion of our hardware development has been dedicated to perfecting the active cooling system. It’s imperative that the headset remains efficiently cooled, operates with minimal noise, and possesses the cooling capacity to function optimally, even when fully loaded with features such as VR, Eye tracking, Hand tracking, and Mixed Reality capabilities all in one headset.

Optics & Lenses

After weeks of rigorous quality assurance processes, we are proud to announce that the mass production optical setup for the Somnium VR1 is fully finalized.

The completion of our lenses marks a significant milestone in our development journey and your future journeys inside Virtual Reality. Adhering to our stringent quality standards, we engaged in iterations with our manufacturing partners. Our dedication to perfection led us to fine-tune our lenses, ensuring unparalleled precision and long-lasting durability. To guarantee the utmost accuracy, each pair of lenses undergoes precise laser measurements, reinforcing our commitment to delivering an exceptional visual experience.

Eye-Tracking — Open Source Open Source Open Source!

We have made a BIG decision internally to FULLY OPENSOURCE our eye-tracking algorithms to community. What does it mean for you?

SomniumVR1 Eye-tracking tests

By transitioning to an open-source model developers gain the autonomy to refine and adapt the algorithm, ensuring they have comprehensive control over raw image processing. This facilitates a dynamic environment where improvements can be continuously integrated.

Our eye-tracking system already boasts impressive technical capabilities:

  • Refresh rate up to 120Hz
  • Ability to discern between open and closed-eye gaze
  • Heat map visualization
  • Foveated rendering
  • Full access to raw data

Furthermore, these features will be natively integrated into Somnium Space V3.0, ensuring a seamless user experience right from the start.

We will be spearheading competitions aimed at enhancing the algorithm’s overall performance. These challenges will be accompanied by substantial financial rewards, motivating the community to push the boundaries of what’s possible.

Mixed-Reality Path-Through: 3D Cockpit Modeling, Color Masking, Raw Images Access

Our commitment to pushing the boundaries of virtual reality is evident in our latest mixed-reality modules (featuring 2x 12 Mpx cameras with a native resolution of 2x 4056x3040) , designed to empower developers, sim racers, and flight simulation enthusiasts. By integrating cutting-edge software capabilities, we aim to provide an unparalleled mixed-reality experience. Here’s a deeper dive into the features:

  • Color Masking: Our system allows for intricate color masking, providing users with the flexibility to customize and enhance their mixed-reality experiences.
  • 3D Cockpit Modeling: For those passionate about flight and racing simulations, our system offers the ability to model and integrate your working space (cockpit) directly into the VR scene. Combined with hand masking and hand tracking, users can operate their virtual plane or car with unparalleled realism. This feature bridges the gap between augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), fully harnessing the capabilities of the Somnium VR1. This is something what VRgineers have been perfecting for years, and you will get it as part of Somnium VR1 software.
  • Customizable Visual Settings: Users have the freedom to manually adjust various visual parameters, including color, contrast, and more, ensuring a tailored and optimized viewing experience.
  • Raw Image Access: For developers keen on AR development, we provide direct access to raw images, paving the way for innovative applications and enhanced user experiences.

With these features, we’re confident that the Somnium VR1 will redefine the standards of mixed-reality, offering users an experience that’s both immersive and incredibly realistic.

Collaboration with Prusa3D: Seamless 3D Printing Integration

As part of our strategic partnership with Prusa3D, a leader in the 3D printing industry, we are happy to announce that at SomniumVR1 launch Prusa3D will be releasing files that are fully converted and optimized for all variants of Prusa 3D printers.

This ensures that users have access to files that are tailored for the best possible 3D printing experience on all types of Prusa 3D printers. In our shared commitment to openness and community access, these files will be available for free download on both the Prusa3D and Somnium websites. This collaboration not only underscores our dedication to innovation but also our belief of both companies in making advanced technology accessible to all.

After Sales Support: Commitment Beyond Purchase

Our dedication to the Somnium VR1 experience doesn’t end at the point of sale. We’re already in the process of interviewing candidates who will be at the forefront of addressing support queries from our VR1 customers. These individuals won’t just be your typical support staff; they will be in direct & physical communication with our engineering team, ensuring that any technical issues are swiftly addressed with expert insight.

Fluency in English and a deep understanding of virtual reality are prerequisites for these roles. But we’re going a step further. Each selected candidate will undergo additional extensive hands-on training, immersing themselves in hours of VR usage across various headsets, with a special emphasis on the VR1. This ensures that they aren’t just knowledgeable; they’re experts.

Every phase of our customer journey, from initial interest to after-sales support, is approached with the utmost seriousness and dedication. We’re committed to ensuring that every VR1 user feels supported and valued.

Are you a VR enthusiast from Prague? Do you want to work in the most dynamic and dedicated VR team? Than we are looking also for you!

Apply today at ->

Packaging: Purposeful Design for the Avid VR Enthusiast

At Somnium, our passion for virtual reality isn’t just a business endeavor; it’s a personal journey. As avid VR enthusiasts, we use test our platform on a wide variety of VR headsets daily. Our adventures often take us on the road, and our headsets invariably come along, be it for leisure or conferences. Our experiences have given us a deep appreciation for practicality over mere aesthetics.

Each headset comes in EU-made, robust Somnium VR1 travel case

Our office bears testament to this, with what we fondly refer to as our ‘box graveyard’ — a collection of packaging from every VR headset we’ve ever acquired. Their single-use nature is both environmentally unfriendly and practically redundant. Once the headset is out, the box is never used again.

Recognizing this, we’ve taken a different route for the VR1. Instead of traditional packaging that serves minimal post-unboxing purpose, each VR1 headset will be shipped in a robust, EU-manufactured travel case. This case, lined with specialized foam, is not only designed to protect your VR1 but also to potentially accommodate your essential accessories like controllers, base stations, and cables. Whether you’re on a work trip or a vacation, this case ensures your VR1 and its accessories are always within reach, safe, and organized.

VR Hardware of the Year 2023 Finalist

We’re thrilled to announce that the #SomniumVR1 headset has not only made waves in the VR community but has also been recognized on a grand scale. It’s been selected as a finalist for the VRAwards #VRA23 under the “VR Hardware of the Year 2023” category. What makes this recognition even more special is that the SomniumVR1 stands as the sole representative of PCVR headsets in this category.

It’s a testament to our dedication to providing users with a top-tier experience, harnessing the full potential of PC-driven VR. This nod from VRAwards further motivates us to continue innovating and setting new benchmarks in the world of virtual reality.

From VR enthusiasts to VR enthusiasts

In wrapping up, the Somnium VR1 emerges not just as another piece of hardware, but as the ultimate headset tailored for every VR enthusiast, developer, and corporate entity. Our design philosophy is rooted in empowerment and transparency. When you invest in the VR1, you’re not just purchasing a device; you’re acquiring full ownership, free from hidden licenses or barriers.

This commitment to openness ensures that every user, whether an individual enthusiast or a corporate entity, has unbridled access to the headset’s capabilities. The Somnium VR1 is more than just a companion for your VR journeys; it’s a testament to our vision of a barrier-free virtual reality experience. As you delve into new virtual dimensions, rest assured that with the VR1, you truly own every part of your experience.

P.S.: Special thanks to all dedicated fans and friends in our Somnium VR1 Discord group. You bring smile and good mood to the whole team and we enjoy reading your incredible discussions! We love you!

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