A Kickstarter campaign hopes to bring a more human element to social virtual reality applications with a VR headset capable of face-tracking. Veeso is a smartphone-based headset containing infrared sensors that are able to capture facial expressions and project them onto a computer-generated avatar.
Facial tracking is something normally associated with big house production, although if Veeso has its way, it could be available to anyone with a half-decent smartphone. The headset contains two infrared sensors, one of which sits between the lenses to track the wearer's pupils and another aimed toward the mouth and jaw. Together, these are able to capture where the headset wearer is looking, how open the eyelids are as well as eyebrow, mouth and lip movement.
The headset itself contains a dedicated chip that tracks and processes the facial expressions, meaning the only work the smartphone needs to do upon receiving the tracking data via Bluetooth is render the images onto a 3D avatar. Because of this, Veeso claims its headset will be compatible with most Android and iOS devices.
The company proposes that its namesake headset will allow gamers to project their own facial expressions onto the characters of their favourite games, although this seems like a rather ambitious claim given that it's limited to the Google Cardboard platform. With that in mind, it doesn't look like Veeso will let you be Uncharted's Nathan Drake any time soon as the trailer appears to suggest.
More promising is Veeso's prospects for social VR, something Facebook is very interested in. The idea here is that two people chatting in a virtual reality environment would be able to see each other's facial expressions and better gauge their emotions, making the experience more personal.
For its part, Veeso says it will deliver at least 10 customer-built apps and games for its headset within the first six months of its launch, including an "immersive social network" centred on 3D avatars and a poker app that will no doubt put your poker face to the test.
Veeso is currently in the design prototype stage and judging from the company's Kickstarter video things are shaping up well. Final judgement will be reserved until we see the finished article, which is expected to ship in December 2016. Provided the project hits its $80,000 (£61,000, €73,000) funding target that is.