Though it may be the hardest, designing a product is only the first step towards getting to market. No less important is the manufacturing process, which dictates how fast and how economically a company can push out units to consumers. In the case of Sony and its virtual reality headset, very fast, thanks to a series of production optimizations revealed in a freshly released patent filing.
The tweaks focus on two key of elements of the assembly, the first of which is helping the plant workers who will perform most of that assembling become more productive. The Project Morpheus units, as the company calls its visor-like displays, are segmented into two main parts, with most of the componentry concentrated in the overhead projector:
The optical module sticking out on the left plugs into the headset in a perpendicular angle so that the light emitted from the tip is relayed to the visor and its bulky latter portion hangs on your head like a sort of electronic mohawk. The unit is held together with a solid metal sheet in the middle of the display that provides a convenient surface onto which to attach the projector.
It’s a simple approach that requires relatively little effort on the part of the production worker who does the joining and saves space that would be wasted on a more sophisticated arrangement, which brings us to Sony’s second priority: reducing the number of components. That focus becomes the most apparent in the fact the optical module that connects to the sheet reflects rather transmits light from the projector, again for the sake of simplicity.
That allows Sony to use a lot less parts, which means being able to churn units out faster and cheaper, a key requirement to keeping up with the massive demand that it’s apparently expecting based on its efforts to improve production efficiency. For consumers, that will translate into a lighter and more robust visor, a major consideration if you plan on wearing something on your head for extended periods of time.