Sony Unveils 'Project Morpheus,' A Virtual Reality Headset That Can Take You To Mars (And, Hopefully, Hogwarts?)

Sony unveiled their latest foray into technology Tuesday — a virtual reality headset called Project Morpheus. At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Sony Computer Entertainment President Shuhei Yoshida rolled out a prototype to help announce the news. Though it has no release date at present, Morpheus joins the yet-to-be-released Oculus Rift in stirring big expectations for the burgeoning field of consumer virtual reality (VR.)

Video game companies have attempted to tackle VR before, with varying levels of success, but most all fall short of the awe-inspiring, immersive ideal sometimes dreamed of in science fiction. The infamously awful Nintendo Virtual Boy is a very prominent example — a tiny box propped up on narrow legs; you had to press your eyes against the viewer, not unlike an old-time penny arcade film; and let your eyes suffer through a gaming experience rendered entirely in various, searing shades of red.

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Just a handful of Sony's 'Project Morpheus' specifications are known so far — it'll have a 1080p visual display, and will be curved across the field of vision to immerse the eyes in a virtual world. It'll also be bolstered by gyroscopes to track and react to movements of the head. There's also a plan for three-dimensional sound, which is crucial (if obvious) if you want to losing yourself in a sprawling digital realm.

And there could be exciting potential applications for Morpheus beyond playing around. Sony has partnered with NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to try to achieve something pretty thrilling — recreating the Martian landscape within the headset. That may not count as a game, but it sure sounds fun. Said Sony engineer Richard Marks:

VR is going to be pervasive. ... It's going to be used for all sorts of things you might not think it would be used for.

Count us as incredibly excited.

Image: Sony