Before PSVR: Sony’s PS2 VR headset, the PUD-J5A

takoyaki

Member
Vr Commodore?

Is that ps2 headset 3D? What kind of tracking does it have?

It's 2D 3D and the head tracking hardware is inside the headset, no camera/sensor for outside-in tracking. Those are the kinds of head-movements he headset can track:



edit: The video content was 2D, the headset actually used stereoscopic technology projecting two slightly different images to simulate 3D in those 6 games.
 

Reallink

Member
I never saw this in US mags or sites at the time, or even recently. When Oculus first blew up in '12 and led to a boom of news stories drudging up old obscure HMDs that didn't even head track, I never saw this device mentioned even in passing. This is a literal 100% unseen unknown in the West.
 

Sutanreyu

Member
The 3 PS2 thing reminds me of the multi-monitor feature of Gran Turismo 6... Really crazy features like that need to return.
 
And people already think of the reused move controllers for psvr as a ripoff. Wait until they hear about this!

Seriously though, I never knee this thing existed. And it actually looks pretty neat for its time.
 

Biff

Member
I do remember this vividly but I had no idea it had head tracking.

I always thought it was just a way for people to emulate a much larger TV than they actually had. 42" TVs were expensive as fuck in 2002.
 

hesido

Member
So when the puck is VR going to take off?

It's disheartening to see how many times they've tried. And failed.
 

takoyaki

Member
Are there any impressions online at all? What was the resolution and refresh rate? What an oddity.

Pif posted a 15min video in German above. Those are the best impressions, everything else I found are 10 year old posts on message boards. The guy in the video says it’s an impressive piece of tech for its time but in no way meant for mainstream consumers. And he takes some pills for seasickness before playing in the video.

Screen resolution/Refresh rate isn’t mentioned in any of the official spec sheets, I’ve seen a few guesses that it’s around 450x240 pixels.


Stop driving up the prices haha,i was finally about to pull the trigger on one of these

Haha, sorry about that ;)

If you do decide to get one, some impressions would be greatly appreciated.
 

rrs

Member
So when the puck is VR going to take off?

It's disheartening to see how many times they've tried. And failed.
I'd say it's as likely as ever now, since the screens are cheap and don't suck complete ass. The 90's had a load of VR is the future prophets denied by LCDs costing a mint and the screen sucking
 

Metalmarc

Member
This is the first time it's actually immersive like it should be, though.

I'd say it's as likely as ever now, since the screens are cheap and don't suck complete ass. The 90's had a load of VR is the future prophets denied by LCDs costing a mint and the screen sucking



Thats what they said about the 3D in the likes of avatar and the 3DS, that 3d was finally perfected, and as good as it was, well who wants it now?

Remember how many bluray players, and T.V's suddenly had 3D, sky T.V and other networks were launching channels dedicated to it, 3D had finally arrived.


Time will tell.
 
I remember seeing this in a game magazine when I was a kid, at the time I thought Japan was lightyears ahead of us technology-wise. Funny to see it wasn't all that impressive and didn't sell too well.
 
I worked with Sony back then and had no idea this existed, but given the limited distribution it's not surprising. It seems more like a public experiment like that robot dog they had, rather than something they wanted to mass produce. Expensive experiment to develop though.

That train simulator sounds like a great idea for the PSVR though. Just sit back and watch the world go by.
 

takoyaki

Member

Shortly after making this thread, a friend mentioned that those headsets sometimes show up in Japanese Retro Shops/on Yahoo Auction and helped me buy one for around $80. The supported games are still pretty cheap as well, most cost $5-15. Only the train conductor game/video disc (Train Simulator Real THE 京浜急行) is around $80-100.


The headset is connected to the control box via one cable. The control box gets video&sound from the PS2 via Composite Cable (via an adapter) and the tracking data is transmitted from the control box to your PS2 via USB. The control box also needs a separate power cable.


The PUD-J5A itself is a lightweight device with “futuristic” design and it gives you a couple of options to adjusted the headset until it sits very comfortably on your head. The headphones sound like a pair of decent over-ear stereo headphones (note: The unit I bought didn’t come with ear-pads, looks like those are gone on most used headsets these days). There’s an official logo for the PUD-J5A and its head tracking functions.

The 2D screens are better than I expected even if colors are a bit washed out. They don’t engulf your whole field of view; I’d compare the experience to looking through a 40-50” 2D TV that’s maybe 1.5m away from you. The on-screen image reacts to the movements of your head which creates a slight sense of depth even without 3D visuals. The resolution is adequate for playing games, but it can be tough to make out smaller Kanji.

Head tracking is not bad for inside-out only tracking a device from 2002, but you notice a slight lag between head movements and what happens on-screen. I only got tracking problems when I turned my head around more than 180°. Tbh, I expected the experience to be much worse than it actually is. Using the PUD-J5A didn’t give me headaches or make me sick. And you can always reset the tracking via a button on the left side of the headset.

I’ve tried 4 games so far and the set-up is easier than I expected. The headset is automatically recognized by the game and you don’t have to tinker around in the settings at all. Headset support is mentioned on some game boxes, but not with the official PUD-J5A logo. 1-2 pages of game manuals are dedicated to explaining the headset functions.


Out of the 3 flying games I tried, Sidewinder V is clearly my favorite in VR and the cockpit perspective works pretty well even during dog fights. Riding a rollercoaster in VR is the best, even if it’s just in 2D 2002 VR. I’ve also tried the Ayumi Hamasaki concert video to test how FouthView works but haven’t gotten it to work yet. Since FouthView is not a VR exclusive feature, there might be more settings involved.


I think the PUD-J5A must have been a seriously impressive device in 2002. So far, playing around with the headset has been fun, it’s an interesting curio for collectors/VR fans if you can find one cheap. It's been interesting to find out how long Sony has been dabbling in VR before they released their first mainstream VR device this year with the PSVR.

 
Fantastic thread and great update.

Thanks for the quality posts guys. Fascinating.

I've heard of many of Sony's headsets, including Glasstron (love that design) and the HMZ, but this is a new one for me.

Really nice to see a new piece of history.
 

extralite

Member
The 2D screens are better than I expected even if colors are a bit washed out. They don’t engulf your whole field of view; I’d compare the experience to looking through a 40-50” 2D TV that’s maybe 1.5m away from you. The on-screen image reacts to the movements of your head which creates a slight sense of depth even without 3D visuals. The resolution is adequate for playing games, but it can be tough to make out smaller Kanji.

Head tracking is not bad for inside-out only tracking from 2002, but you notice a slight lag between head movements and what happens on-screen. I only got tracking problems when I turned my head around more than 180°. Tbh, I expected the experience to be much worse than it actually is. Using the PUD-J5A didn’t give me headaches or make me sick. And you can always reset the tracking via a button on the left side of the headset.

Sounds like it would be comparable to cardboard (because of the slight latency) with a really small smartphone screen (because of the limited FOV).

But is it really using inside-out tracking? That would imply position tracking but it sounds like it's directional head tracking only, which is usually accomplished with motion sensors.

The best position tracking on the market today (Vive) is inside-out btw.
 

MattAces

Member
Sounds like it would be comparable to cardboard (because of the slight latency) with a really small smartphone screen (because of the limited FOV).

But is it really using inside-out tracking? That would imply position tracking but it sounds like it's directional head tracking only, which is usually accomplished with motion sensors.

The best position tracking on the market today (Vive) is inside-out btw.

How is Vive inside-out?
 

takoyaki

Member
Sounds like it would be comparable to cardboard (because of the slight latency) with a really small smartphone screen (because of the limited FOV).

But is it really using inside-out tracking? That would imply position tracking but it sounds like it's directional head tracking only, which is usually accomplished with motion sensors.

The best position tracking on the market today (Vive) is inside-out btw.

Yeah, cardboard might be a good comparison.

And no idea why I put it like that. I meant to say the tracking of your head movements works surprisingly well without any external devices like an Eyetoy camera, but the headset doesn’t have any way to track your surroundings/do positional tracking.
 
very interesting read

3DoF VR (6DoF headsets today, 0DoF for VB) with very tiny FOV and probably horrible framerate, but pretty good for a time when consumer VR was just a pipe dream

anyway, goes to prove Sony had prior art in the field, way before Oculus folks (psvr own origins date back to 2010 experiments in VR with Move tracking tech)
 

_Spr_Drnk

Banned

How popular would Virtuality be in the time of Covid?

Not very..

I tried Virtuality out around 1994, the frame rate made me very queasy, though at the time (being much less well informed than we all are now), I couldn't put my finger on why exactly.

Glad this got necrobumped though, as like most others ITT, I knew nothing of Sony's earlier efforts, interesting stuff.
 
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Virtuality was a 3DoF arcade experience only available in a few select places. Sega VR headset was a prototype vaporware (as was atari's) and VB was just a monochrome 3D glasses, there's no headtracking at all, only a stiff and painful neck. It's no more VR than Virtua Fighter.

There was no consumer VR in the 90s, it's a common myth. And even 10 years later, on PS2, tech was not much better either. Yes, this one is 3DoF but the FOV at 25 degrees is so tiny the immersion is not there, it's just like a TV in front of you rather than being there. Took another 12 years or so to have 6DoF with nice immersion at around 100 degrees - and graphics had time to mature to more realistic levels.

Btw, fans of futuristic slim form factors: the slimmer the headset, the smaller the FOV and lenses. That's how it goes with optics physical limits.
 

Kev Kev

Gold Member
people still think vr is a trend or fad but weve been trying to get it working for 30+ years. obviously this is something that people still want, and im really excited to see more and more VR interest every month. only got into VR within the last 6 months but i am fully on board. flat screen just feels like this lesser form of gaming now. still fun of course but i almost begrudgingly play a game flat screen if its not on VR.
 
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