May 25, 2015 | By Alec

While 3D printed accessories and even outfits have slowly but certainly started taking over the world of fashion, French fashion house Dior has now given a very unusual spin to that fact. They have developed the Dior Eyes, a 3D printed virtual reality headset that will bring the fashion show into your living room. Always wanted to go backstage and see all the effort that goes into a single runway performance? With the Dior Eyes you can, and even without bothering the models.

Dior, of course, is a manufacturer of a wide range of luxury high-end goods, from perfumes, to fashion and jewelry that has been around for decades and decades. But as they have a reputation for innovation and unusual approaches, perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised that they have ventured into the virtual reality world. 'Celebrate a new era in the relationship between Dior and its customers: sharing a brand new content form and retail experience. Create a never seen before experience unique to Dior universe,’ they say.

As they explain on the developer’s website, this Dior Eyes 3D printed virtual reality headset grew out of desire to increase customer interaction with Dior. ‘Client behaviors around the word have seriously evolved: they talk, they share, they comment. Client experience is now about consistency and emotion, because emotions are more profitable than messages. People don’t want reasons to buy products, they want true bonds,’ they write. Called “retailtainment”, it’s the 21rst century way of interacting with the fans of your product. ‘We decided to create a genuinely thrilling experience that would give Dior clients the physical sensation of living the Dior show backstage. We knew that people are very intrigued by what’s happening behind the curtains, so we decided that we wanted to give them the opportunity to see it all, something that would truly give a glimpse into the backstage.’

However, this isn’t a case of one-upping the Oculus Rift or anything. Instead, this seems to largely be a publicity stunt aimed at getting people into the Dior boutiques (which you can find all over the world) to try them out. But as you can see from the video below, this VR headset is rather impressive. Developed by the French design business DigitasLBi LABS from Paris, it reportedly relies on a combination of a Galaxy Note 4, Samsung’s Gear VR technology and a 3D printed headset. Once activated, it provides a pretty good visual experience, with a pixel density of 515 ppi and a 100-degree field of view as well as high quality audio. In short, everything you need for a 360 degrees VR experience.

And fortunately they share quite an in depth description of how this has been achieved. ‘We designed and produced a 100% 3D-printed VR headset. The headpiece embeds a high density screen (515 ppp) providing a 2K image resolution, in other words hardly pixelated, associated with a FOV (Field of Vision) close to 100°,’ the French developers explain. ‘This technological feat of vision is completed with holophonic audio sound, recorded live in 360° thanks to a binaural microphone that perfectly recreates a “spacious and enveloping” sound sensation following the user’s movements.’

But you might reasonably wonder why a classy company such as Dior settles for a manufacturing technology as 3D printing. Well, that is due to the tight production constraints. ‘As we only had 3 month to product a series of headset, we have chosen to follow a fast prototyping methodology. All the features and functionalities were split by priority into different categories and designed and tested by iterations. The use of 3D printing and electronic prototyping were used to make each iteration as fast as possible,’ they explain. ‘3D printing was the perfect solution because it helped very quick interactions however the drawback is the quality and resistance of the material. We have tried different materials, PLA, ABS and finally used NYLON because it’s lighter and stronger.’

Considering that three month prototyping period, we are very impressed by the results. By all accounts, the Dior Eyes provides an immersive VR experience and a 360 degree performance, all of which is packed into a flawless 3D printed housing. Expected to be deployed to selected (for now unknown) boutiques, it will be very interesting to experience. While there are no current plans to market this headset, Dior has fortunately gotten a promising taste of digital design. ‘The Dior Eyes headset is a key development as part of the trend for fun and innovative “retailtainment” strategy,’ they write. So what else can we expect?



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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