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Kopin's Elf VR headset

Kopin’s ELF VR Takes A Step Closer To Reality With Their Latest Prototype

SVP Stuart Nixdorff talks to VRFocus about the progress since E3 2017.

When VRFocus last met with Stuart Nixdorff, Senior Vice President of Kopin to discuss Elf VR it was at last year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Nixdorff was holding a prototype then, and was able to show VRFocus the ultra-small 4K display chip as well as their Elf VR head mounted display (HMD). Roughly six months on and Nixdorff is able to show a working prototype.

Elf VR

Since E3, Kopin have been working on making Elf VR into a working unit that is compatible with the SteamVR, Oculus and Microsoft platforms. Wanting to not only bring videogames to the headset but to do so at a high quality. Elf VR uses OLED microdisplays that boast a pixel density of 2,940 PPI which is approximately 400% higher than conventional TFT-LCD, OLED and AMOLED displays at 20% of the size. With dual 2K resolution, 120hz for each eyes Nixdorff says that is no screen door effect and therefore gives the user a film-like experience that is both rich and beautiful. This would make fast action games, movies or sports a lot more enjoyable to experience.

Here are some more technical specs:

  • Elf VR weighs only 300 grams and is less than half the size and weight of popular VR headsets in the industry.
  • Elf VR is equipped with Kopin LightningTM OLED microdisplay panels, which feature 2048 x 2048 resolution of each panel, to provide binocular 4K image resolution at 120Hz refresh rate. Combined with both 4K Ultra-High image resolution and 120Hz refresh-rate, Elf VR provides very smooth images with excellent quality, and effectively reduces the sense of vertigo.
  • The microdisplay panels are manufactured with advanced ultra-precise processing techniques. Its pixel density (2,940 pixels per inch) is approximately 400% higher than conventional TFT-LCD, OLED and AMOLED displays, and the screen size reduced to approximately 1/5 at similar pixel resolution level.
  • Elf VR also adopts an advanced optical solution with a compact multi-lens design that enables it to reduce the thickness of its optical module by up to 60% as well as reduce the total weight of the VR HMD by approximately 50%.
  • The reference design supports two novel optics solutions – 70 degrees FoV for film-like beauty or 100 degrees FoV for deeper immersion.

Nixdorff mentions that he met a lot of filmmakers at E3, and what they said was necessary for good storytelling, cinematic reality and realism was a product that would enable this emotional engagement. He says that filmmakers want to not only tell a story but want less separation from the environment in contrast to gamers who want to be fully and highly immersed. Nixdorff says that they’re working together with partners to bring in more ambient light and awareness for HMD’s to avoid the separation and making VR more social, or less separated. Kopin have worked together with various OEM’s and will be shipping it to developers soon. Nixdorff hope that developers can make Elf VR even smaller and lighter in industrial design as well as creating content that leverages the resolution.


Kopin is certainly very involved in the virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) space. “2018 will be a very exciting year for Kopin and represents the culmination of years of development,” said Dr. John C.C. Fan of Kopin. “At CES we will unveil a range of Innovation Award-winning technologies and devices that will transform the worlds of AR,VR and wearables.”  When asked about when Elf VR would be coming to consumers, Nixdorff said they are doing something with partners and will hopefully be announcing something before this year’s E3.

Watch the video below to find out more.

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