¡Let’s talk about Anti-fog for Virtual Reality!
What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual Reality (VR) uses computer technology in order to make an environment that is simulated so that the user can be immersed and placed inside an experience with 3D worlds. The main benefit of it is that many senses such as vision, hearing, touch and so on, are simulated and people are able to touch the real essence of the artificial world.
Why does fog appear on the VR Headsets?
When using VR Headsets, people often encounter the problem with fog which is caused by their high body temperature condensing moisture onto colder lenses. It is basically similar when people a car during a cold day in the Winter, fog appears when warmth comes into contact with cooler air and binds fog to the window, or on the lenses of the VR Headset in the artificial world.
Alternative solutions that are not effective
- Storing the Headset in warm locations
A solution that many customers see as the simplest way to cope with the fog on the VR headset is putting them in a warmer environment that is closer to the body temperature. On theory, higher room temperature would warm the headset which could be closer to your body temperature. However, this approach depends on the design of your living place which means you might have a totally unsuccessful attempt to defog your lenses. Moreover, you should be careful where you store your headset in order to avoid extreme conditions. This is the reason why we consider the approach described above as ineffective.
- Warming up the headsets before playing
Some people believe that the easiest way to prevent fog on the VR headset is to stick it to your head, not over your eyeballs but over your forehead. Your forehead would warm up the lenses to the exact temperature that you need them to be before playing. Alternatively, some users try hairdryers or other heating appliances (a radiator or a fan) to lightly warm up the headset. However, the approaches described above are not permanent and should be used every time before playing. This could be exhausting for some users and we consider this as an ineffective method for dealing with the fog on your lenses.
- Using Antifog sprays, waxes or even wipes
Another solution that VR users apply is antifog sprays, waxes, or wipes. When it comes to the sprays, we would definitely say that it is the least appropriate solution to the problem. Not only it is a temporary solution for the problem, but it also contains toxic chemicals that might be harmful to our body. For example, one of the sprays which we researched (Cressi) contains 10 mg/g propylene glycol which may be harmful if inhaled. Moreover, it may cause respiratory tract irritation or if it contacts with eyes, it may lead to problems with vision. Skin contact can be harmful if absorbed through the skin. May cause skin irritation. If somehow it gets swallowed, it may cause gastrointestinal disturbances with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. All information has been taken from the Material Safety Data Sheet provided before the production of certain antifog products. Furthermore, the waxes applied to surfaces in order to prevent fogging, contain isopropyl alcohol and sodium bicarbonate which can have an effect on the blood, central nervous system, eyes, hematopoietic system, kidney, liver, respiratory system, skin.
Another alternative solution is the usage of Antifog wipes. The problem is that they provide only a temporary solution or do not react with the surface in any way that could prevent fog. It is only used to clean the surface. The problem is that the wipes contain only ethyl alcohol which gets evaporated quickly and there are no antifog effects after cleaning the lenses.
AN Anti-fog for Virtual Reality: VR lenses and other devices
Advanced Nanotechnologies developed a solution for dealing with the fogging of VR headset and other surfaces. Our X-FOG anti-fog coating solution offers a nanocoating that lasts the entire lifetime of the VR headsets. It prevents the surface condensation that occurs due to large differences in exterior and interior temperature, using the two-step process of the surface:
With the help of ultra-high vacuum machines (UHV), we deposit the antifog material in the visors. This allows us to achieve a nano-thin layer of material.
In order to always maintain the antifog effect on the now treated substrate, it must be cleaned with a special wipe that has been developed by AN. Simply breath on the substrate to fog it up, and then run the AN wipe over the substrate. Do this before every use to ensure maximum performance.