If you love the weird and wonderful ideas XR creators come up with then you’ll have likely caught wind of HalfDive, a virtual reality (VR) headset that’s used whilst laying down. Designed by Japanese startup Diver-X, the company launched a Kickstarter back in December to help fund the project. As unusual as the headset is this story gets even more bizarre, Diver-X canceled the campaign after hitting its initial funding goal.
Issuing a statement today to its backers, Diver-X CEO Yamato Sakoda gave three reasons for the sudden withdrawal of the campaign. The first was a “major change in product direction,” going on to say: “we came to the conclusion that HalfDive’s current specifications were not the best way to realize our goals of “completing life in-bed”.”
The biggest issue Sakoda mentioned revolved around the interface rather than the headset itself. Even focusing efforts towards gaming, this wasn’t enough to provide the innovative experience Diver-X was looking for. “We became skeptical of the current concept of HalfDive, our test-product, and its mass production,” Sakoda adds.
Reason two stems from the company’s own organizational structure, outsourcing the design of key components. This increased costs, especially where the optical system was concerned, attributing to around 50% of HalfDive’s cost. “We found out it would be extremely difficult to manufacture within an appropriate price range hardware components that meet our expected-quality.”
Lastly, as with a lot of startups, it comes down to cash flow. Even with the Kickstarter funds, Diver-X isn’t “in a financially stable position” to go into mass production. However, the company has sufficient funds to continue development so it’s not the end of HalfDive. Diver-X aims to address issues mentioned before coming back with an updated design.
The Kickstarter looked to raise ¥20,000,000 Yen (around $176,000 USD) and actually hit ¥24 million before the campaign was canceled. Due to the cancellation, the 248 backers weren’t charged so at least there’s no refund to chase and Diver-X has been honest about what’s occurred.
When gmw3 learns more about the future of the company and its unusual HalfDive headset we’ll let you know.