VR startup Looxid Labs unveiled a new type of virtual reality headset during CES 2018 in Las Vegas, equipped with EEG brainwave sensors and eye-tracking cameras, all working together to determine what the user’s brain may be experiencing when looking at VR scenery. The headset is called the LooxidVR and in theory, it could be used as a research tool by businesses or the health industry.
The idea of using VR technology in the health department is not new. Last year Firsthand Technology created a VR application designed to alleviate the pain experienced by burn victims by placing them in a snowy VR environment and diverting their attention towards a particular objective like throwing snowballs at designated targets. More recently in November 2017, South Korea’s Gil Hospital of Gachon University created a VR therapy center with the goal of treating various mental issues like cognitive impairment and post-traumatic stress disorder. But while existing VR solutions have previously seen some uses in the medical field, Looxid Labs has created a VR headset designed specifically to give an insight into the human brain while experiencing virtual reality. The LooxidVR headset is equipped with six miniaturized EEG sensors and two eye-tracking cameras, one for each lens. Combined with a proprietary detection algorithm the VR headset can collect a wide variety of eye-related information, ranging from pupil dilation and movement to blinking patterns. At the end of the day, the idea is to accurately track human perception data from VR interactions and centralize that data in a single software platform for better and easier understanding of the human brain. In any case, the device is not an all-in-one VR solution so it needs to be connected to a smartphone, and the startup recommends Daydream-ready devices with 5-inch displays and running Android 7.1 Nougat or higher.
In theory, this technology could see a variety of applications. In the entertainment industry like the gaming segment, VR headsets equipped with this type of technology could track a player’s brain activity in order to change the game world or in-game events accordingly. It could also be used as a research device for health or as a more comprehensive tool for therapy for entities that are already exploring the potential health benefits offered by virtual reality. Or perhaps as a tool for an increasing number of corporations that seem to want and acquire comprehensive human data in order to sell products more efficiently. The LooxidVR headset will be available for pre-order starting on February 1st, though in limited quantities, and early bird adopters can benefit from a 20% discount, though exact pricing is unknown.