Life with Head Mounted Display [Part 6]

Dec 17, 2008
Mayuko Uno, Nikkei Electronics

Continued from Life with Head Mounted Display [Part 5].

This is the sixth part of my report on the UP300x, Nicon Corp's portable media player equipped with headphones and a monocular HMD (head-mounted display). This time, I will briefly describe how I felt when I used it in my daily life using examples from the photographs in Nikon's catalog.

I actually did my housework while watching video with the UP300x. In my home, a 21-inch CRT TV sits about 1.5m away from the dining table. As the virtual screen size of the UP300x is just about the same as that of the TV, I had no complaints about the screen size.

The followings are the impressions I had while doing several household chores.

* Washing the dishes
I was rather afraid that I might drop the dishes when I was concentrating on video. But when I was concentrating on washing the dishes, I could not see the video at all. It drove me crazy because I could concentrate on neither of the things I was doing.

* Watering flowers on the porch
It was impossible to use the UP300x there because I could not see the screen image at all as it was outside and in direct sunlight.

* Cooking (not using a burner, cooking my usual dishes)
If the recipe was easy and I was used to cooking it, I did not have any particular problems. I think it would be convenient if I could use the UP300x to read recipes. That is because it would keep my hands free and I wouldn't have to worry about a space for my recipes.

However, when I use a burner, I think it is impossible to cook with the headphones on: Timing matters a lot when a burner is used and I have to determine how well food is cooked by sound.

* Cleaning
I could hardly use the UP300x because I had to move a lot, putting things away, vacuuming and collecting garbage. The headphones, which were steady on my head, caused no problem. But the position of the HMD moved little by little when I was moving, making it difficult or even impossible to view the video depending on the situation. As a result, I had to adjust the display screen's position every time it moved, which caused me a lot of trouble.

If I flipped up the HMD unit to the top of my head to move it out of my view, I had to fine-tune the position and the angle of the HMD's screen to watch the video again.

* Ironing
I ironed simple items such as dish towels and handkerchiefs. There was no problem at all. It might be even more convenient than ironing while watching a stationary TV because there is no need to dart your eyes between the iron and the screen.

* Using a PC
I thought I could watch video while writing e-mail. Though it can be used for viewing unrelated content, I felt that connecting the UP300x to a PC and using it as the second display is the best usage.

When I was transcribing the text displayed on the UP300x' screen using a text editor on the PC (I transcribed the items and hierarchies displayed on the menu screen in fact), I found it very easy as I hardly had to move my line of sight.

Therefore, I think it is convenient to use this product as the second display instead of using two PC displays. Or it might be better to use the UP300x in accordance with the content to be displayed, rather than simply using it as an extension of the main display.