AWE 2022 – Shiftall MeganeX hands-on: An fascinating strategy to VR glasses

At AWE 2022 I had the chance of getting a really quick hands-on with the Shiftall MeganeX glasses, probably the most awaited items of {hardware} within the XR neighborhood. And even higher, I’ve additionally had the pleasure of talking with the CEO of the corporate! Let me inform you on this submit all the pieces I realized…

Shiftall MeganeX

At CES 2020, top-of-the-line within the present for us VR folks had been the Panasonic prototypical VR glasses. These glasses had been solely 3DOF, however due to their light-weight design and the steampunk fashion, they seemed like one thing completely completely different from what the VR market was providing at that second. All XR journalists at CES wished to make an image with them.

Even his majesty Palmer Luckey had enjoyable making an attempt them

From that second, the neighborhood began being thinking about them. In 2021, all the time at CES, Panasonic showcased an improved design, with built-in monitoring cameras and audio system. The headset was purported to run by being related to a smartphone by way of USB-C.

This 12 months, the system switched fully title: the Panasonic branding disappeared, to make room for the “Shiftall” title, which is sort of unlucky as a result of it’s simple to mistake its title with “Shit falls”… which is an correct illustration of my life as a developer, however not an excellent title for a headset.

The system’s full title had grow to be Shiftall MeganeX and the headset was transformed to a headset for PC. The neighborhood was a bit puzzled by the selection of the PC platform for a tool that’s this light-weight, however the curiosity continued.

Brad Lynch making an attempt the system at CES 2022

Assembly with Shiftall CEO

At AWE I visited the Panasonic sales space the place I discovered Takuma “TK” Iwasa, who’s the CEO of Shiftall. He was an extremely variety particular person (like most Japanese folks) and answered each curiosity I had. He instructed me that the challenge stems from Panasonic, however now’s managed by Shiftall, which is a startup that could be a spin-off of Panasonic. Panasonic offered the reference design for the headset, and Shiftall is caring about making it a product. After all, Panasonic and its subsidiary Shiftall collaborate lots, and in reality, at AWE the stand was managed by each corporations. Jokingly, TK instructed me that there was a simple technique to distinguish the folks from the 2 corporations: he might put on a T-shirt as a result of he’s a startupper, whereas all of the folks with a tie within the sales space had been from Panasonic.

Shiftall is comprised of simply 32 folks and has the onerous mission of making an attempt to compete with some main tech corporations within the VR market, like Valve, Meta, or Bytedance. The headset is just not the principle enterprise of the corporate, which really makes cash by promoting the inexpensive HaritoraX full physique monitoring system, that could be very appreciated by the VRChat neighborhood. After all, he hopes that additionally the headset could grow to be profitable.

haritorax tracking system
Promotional picture of the HaritoraX monitoring system. It’s so… VRChat (Picture by Shiftall)

The explanations for PCVR

I requested TK why they determined to go for PCVR when the shape issue could be perfect for a standalone or smartphone-tethered headset. He instructed me that Shiftall remains to be a startup, so it have to be very cautious budget-wise. Which means that it may’t attempt to implement too many options on its product: it should deal with the wants of only one class of customers.

He thinks that PCVR customers could be the very best market for this headset for these two causes:

  • The headset could be very light-weight and so it may be probably the most useful for the those that put on a headset for the longest time day-after-day. In accordance with him, PCVR customers are those that use headsets for longer classes, so they’re those that may profit probably the most from a really mild system
  • The present chip for standalone headsets is the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2, which can’t help the massive 5.2K OLED show of this HMD. So standalone was not even an choice.

There’s additionally another excuse for going with PCVR. Utilizing SteamVR, the MeganeX can’t solely entry an enormous library of already present video games (which might have been not possible with a standalone system utilizing its personal retailer), however it may additionally work along with different present SteamVR equipment. So you’ll be able to use MeganeX with Vive Trackers and Valve Index Controllers, as an example. This fashion the system can plug into an already present and vibrant ecosystem and be simpler to promote to the VR market. For this reason Shiftall has simply introduced a SteamVR monitoring bar for its system: even if the headset helps inside-out monitoring, through the use of the SteamVR one, it may plug higher into the SteamVR ecosystem.

Valve Index Controllers
Valve Index Controllers. You should utilize them along with the MeganeX headset

The thought is that individuals already having a Vive Professional can do away with it and swap to a a lot lighter peripheral by retaining al the remainder of the setup (e.g. the controllers) untouched.

Shiftall MeganeX specs

These are kind of the specs of the system:

  • Show: 1.3inch Micro OLED 5.2K (2,560×2,560 per eye) 10bit HDR/120Hz
  • Lenses sort: pancake
  • Weight: Approx. 250g (8.8oz)
  • IPD adjustment: mechanical
  • Monitoring systems: 6DoF, camera-based inside-out head monitoring; outside-in monitoring by way of SteamVR
  • Connection: Show Port Alternate Mode on USB-C or Show Port + USB2.0

Shiftall MeganeX value and launch date

meganex shiftall
Promotional picture of Shiftall glasses from CES 2022. You will note quickly that the exterior “wings” have been eliminated within the newest prototype iteration (Picture by Shiftall)

The MeganeX challenge is in a complicated state, and ought to be “near mass manufacturing”. TK is hoping for a December launch, however if you end up creating {hardware}, you by no means know what delays you’ll have. The launch ought to begin in Japan and the US, whereas Europe ought to be down the road due to its stricter laws.

As for the value, I wasn’t capable of get even an order of magnitude.


I used to be extremely completely happy of having the ability to attempt the newest prototype of this system, as a result of it’s greater than 2 years that I might like to see how these steampunk glasses match with my face. Panasonic was demoing three sorts of monitoring for them: inside-out monitoring, outside-in SteamVR monitoring (I do know, some folks say it’s inside-out as effectively, however let’s ignore this dialogue for now), and Ultraleap palms monitoring.

TK made me attempt instantly the SteamVR one, admitting that the inside-out monitoring remains to be work in progress, and so the performances aren’t nice (I beloved his honesty about this). He stated that inside-out shall be dedicated to the B2B market, whereas for B2C MeganeX will rely totally on SteamVR monitoring. The explanations are those that I described above to you: SteamVR monitoring is dependable, and likewise it already has appropriate controllers available in the market. If the corporate went for inside-out optical monitoring, they need to have additionally carried out a full system to trace their very own controllers.

I used to be given the system, and naturally, the very first thing I did was taking pictures some footage of it.

shiftall meganex front view
Entrance view of the system. Look how it’s completely different from every other headset available on the market. Discover additionally the SteamVR monitoring bar on prime of it
shiftall meganex lenses
Inner view of the system. The lens look very small however really the FOV was not dangerous

Then I attempted to place it on my head, however I observed that it was extremely small. TK stated to not fear and pull the 2 glasses temples aside in order that I might put on it, and so I did. I might really feel the stress of the plastic whereas I used to be doing this operation, however fortunately the glasses didn’t break and I managed to place them on my face. However even after that, I might nonetheless understand they had been a bit too small for my head. I suppose this was made as a selection in order that these small glasses don’t transfer a lot on the face of the consumer whereas he’s in VR, however the results of that is that they’re a bit uncomfortable. On the constructive aspect, I might really feel that they had been extremely light-weight. I’ve by no means had a PCVR expertise with such small and light-weight glasses, and it was merely wonderful, I felt like I might put on it for hours. I additionally beloved the design, and the selfies I shot with them turned out to be fairly cool.

meganex vr panasonic
The becoming mechanism of the system: very tight temples after which an elastic headband on the again of it

After I put them on, it was time to suit them. On the exterior aspect of each eye “cylinder” there was a diopter adjustment dial, and rotating them, I might set the imaginative and prescient parameters for my eyes. This operation was fairly quick and simple to do: I simply needed to transfer a bodily slider till I noticed that each eye had a pointy picture in focus.

shiftall meganex diopter
The 2 diopter adjustment sliders. Headsets that function them are nice as a result of folks with glasses can put on them simply

What was tricker was the IPD adjustment. It’s very simple to vary the IPD on this system: all you must do is take the lenses and bodily transfer them. The headset enables you to transfer the lenses independently and this gives nice ergonomic help to manage additionally with asymmetries in your face. However I’ve observed that with out steering, IPD tuning turns into sophisticated, and I discovered myself confused about which lens to maneuver and in what path in order that to suit the visible system with my IPD. I resolved this challenge by transferring the lenses collectively in a specular means because it occurs on all different headsets as a result of it was a lot simpler for me. I feel that most likely this very configurable system could be good whether it is computerized, and it’s arrange by a digital camera your eye, but when used manually, it may be problematic.

Transferring on lens to regulate the glasses for my eyes

After I used to be prepared, TK launched SteamVR House, and let me take a look at two issues: visuals and monitoring.

The visuals had been what struck me earlier than all the remaining. Within the heart of my imaginative and prescient, the 3D parts had been all vivid and crisp. Due to the excessive pixel density of the show and the HDR, what I might see was actually lovely. Nevertheless it was like that solely within the heart. The periphery of the lenses confirmed heavy distortions to me. It was like issues had been closely blurred and fewer outlined there. TK instructed me that it could possibly be as a result of my eyes weren’t shut sufficient to the lenses, so he made me attempt once more the system with out the attention blinders, and issues had been a bit higher, however the issue was nonetheless current.

shiftall meganex blinders
The attention blinders of the glasses could possibly be simply eliminated and placed on once more

Concerning the sphere of view, the corporate claims that it’s wider than Quest 2, however making an attempt it I had not that sensation. At CES 2022, some folks speculated that it could possibly be round 95°, and that is in step with my expertise.

The monitoring was as an alternative rock-solid. It was the classical SteamVR monitoring, so even when I attempted to maneuver my head quick, it by no means failed. I had the impression that there was a really light-weight lag with the monitoring, however given the quick time accessible, I can’t inform you what brought about that. After a couple of minutes I used to be making an attempt the system, it crashed and the display turned all black, so I suppose that there have been some issues with the demo unit.

First impressions

Me having enjoyable testing the Shiftall MeganeX

I feel that Shiftall MeganeX was probably the most fascinating units to attempt at AWE Europe, and another folks I met on the showfloor (like Sebastian Ang from MRTV) agreed with me on this.

I like how this headset has a design fully completely different from the others, particularly if we evaluate it to the opposite PCVR headsets, that are all large and hulking. That is light-weight and funky to put on. I additionally beloved the definition of the picture I might see once I seemed in entrance of me in VR. These are options that make me hope effectively for this system. However on the opposite aspect, I used to be a bit involved by the lens distortions, which ruined a bit my expertise in VR.

I take into account MeganeX a “very fascinating work in progress”. If TK and the staff handle to resolve a few of its points, just like the lens distortions and the too stretch match of the glasses, then this may grow to be a really fascinating system that brings a breath of contemporary air into the PCVR ecosystem. I actually hope for this to occur and I invite you all to keep watch over this firm.

And that’s it for immediately! As ordinary, should you preferred this text, please share it together with your friends in order that to help me and likewise the wonderful folks at Shiftall. And in order for you me to do extra reportages from occasions, take into account the thought of supporting me on Patreon!

Disclaimer: this weblog accommodates commercial and affiliate hyperlinks to maintain itself. In the event you click on on an affiliate hyperlink, I will be very completely happy as a result of I will earn a small fee in your buy. You’ll find my boring full disclosure right here.


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