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How bolting a Move controller to a head massager led to PlayStation VR

How bolting a Move controller to a head massager led to PlayStation VR

March 9, 2016 | By Alex Wawro

March 9, 2016 | By Alex Wawro
More: VR, Production

"The story is complicated, but we basically made Move, and then because Move existed, people could just take Move and mount it to their head and have a tracking system for free."

- speaking to Polygon, Sony's Richard Marks sums up the origin story of PlayStation VR.

Two years ago this month Sony made a show of unveiling PlayStation VR (then known as Project Morpheus) at GDC, confirming long-running rumors it was working on its own virtual reality headset.

Since then the story of how it works and where it came from has been alluded to by Dr. Richard Marks, a senior researcher with SCEA's R&D Group and one of the minds behind PlayStation VR.

Before PSVR Marks was well-known for being the man behind the PlayStation Move controllers, and in a new Polygon feature published today he joins a coterie of other Sony employees in speaking about how the company's motion control experiments paved the way for PSVR.

He's joined by fellow Sony engineer and PSVR co-creator Jeff Stafford, who describes the headset as a "grassroots project across multiple divisions" that he started working on in his spare time.

At one point, he tells Polygon, he found himself trekking across the floor of the Consumer Electronics Show in 2012 to look at what appeared, in the distance, to be a head-mounted display worth studying -- only to realize, upon closer inspection, that it was actually a head massager.

"It was bulky enough that you could bolt things on and counterbalance it," Stafford recalls. "So I ordered that from Amazon and we built our first official Morpheus 1.0 prototype."

At some point Sony engineers wound up sticking a Move controller on the head massager to help it track head movement in 3D space, and late in 2012 Stafford, Marks and the rest of the Morpheus team at Sony got the official go-ahead to make it a real product.

For more details on how that early prototype worked its way through Sony and evolved into the PlayStation VR device slated to debut this year, check out the full feature over on Polygon.

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