HTC Vive has been doing a lot of teasing recently, gearing up for a new virtual reality (VR) headset reveal during its first Vivecon event in May. In a possible upset to that showcase, the prestigious iF Design Award has published a new entry in its ‘Product’ discipline for a Vive Air VR Headset.
Alongside a bunch of imagery, the entry page notes that the launch date for the headset is in 2021 for the ‘Asia, Europe, North America’ markets and that its target groups including consumers and more specifically, VR Fitness. From the details HTC has previously leaked, this appears to be a totally different design although it’s still a standalone headset.
The iF Design Award page also notes: “VIVE Air VR headset is specially designed for virtual fitness, optimized for high intensity with long use. Inspired by sports shoes, the new headset introduces knitted materials to VR to provide unprecedented comfort and fit. The breathable and quick-drying fabrics improve ventilation in the heated exercise. The innovative lightweight structure allows users to forget the presence of the head-mounted display to focus on virtual content. The quick-release design allows the removal of ergonomic soft components for washing.”
While components like the four front cameras are fairly standard for all-in-one headsets currently, that ‘quick-release design’ is one of the more unusual aspects of the device. It’s certainly the most visually eye catching of any VR headset currently available, but whether its purely a design concept or an actual product remains to be seen.
There are several components you’d usually expect missing from these images such as buttons for power, volume control and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The strap definitely looks like a soft strap so headphones would be required, although there’s always the possibility the Vive Air is purely Bluetooth.
As for the fitness aspect, it’s a growing trend within the industry as users look for new and fun ways of working out using titles like VZfit, FitXR and many other rhythm action videogames. Although a headset purely for fitness seems a bit too niche.
It’s the fact that the information comes from the iF Design Award 2021 that give the images any real credence in the first place. If HTC Vive does confirm its existence then it’ll be at Vivecon 2021, with VRFocus bringing you the latest updates.