National Geographic built ‘Space Projection Helmets’ for its new show

Putting one on is almost like gearing up for space, at least based on my demo at a media event in New York. A helper first placed a harness assembly over my head, which includes shoulder pads to balance it. I was then led into a theater, where another worker carefully placed the helmet over my head and locked it into the harness. After that, I slid down the visor and prepared to launch into virtual space.

Wearing the Space Projection Helmet is a strange experience at first — you’ve got the freedom to move your head around, just like a real astronaut. But it felt more claustrophobic than wearing a VR headset, since your head is literally tramped in a tiny space. Each helmet features a tiny 720p laser projector paired together with a fisheye lens. Together, they shoot a properly proportion image onto the curved visor. That surface is also transmissive, allowing anyone to see exactly what you’re seeing in the helmet). As for audio, that’s handled by a speaker built into the harness.

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