HalfDive VR Cancels Kickstarter After Hitting Funding Goal

If you love the weird and wonderful ideas XR creators come up with then you’ll have likely caught wind of HalfDive, a virtual reality (VR) headset that’s used whilst laying down. Designed by Japanese startup Diver-X, the company launched a Kickstarter back in December to help fund the project. As unusual as the headset is this story gets even more bizarre, Diver-X canceled the campaign after hitting its initial funding goal.


Issuing a statement today to its backers, Diver-X CEO Yamato Sakoda gave three reasons for the sudden withdrawal of the campaign. The first was a “major change in product direction,” going on to say: “we came to the conclusion that HalfDive’s current specifications were not the best way to realize our goals of “completing life in-bed”.”

The biggest issue Sakoda mentioned revolved around the interface rather than the headset itself. Even focusing efforts towards gaming, this wasn’t enough to provide the innovative experience Diver-X was looking for. “We became skeptical of the current concept of HalfDive, our test-product, and its mass production,” Sakoda adds.

Reason two stems from the company’s own organizational structure, outsourcing the design of key components. This increased costs, especially where the optical system was concerned, attributing to around 50% of HalfDive’s cost. “We found out it would be extremely difficult to manufacture within an appropriate price range hardware components that meet our expected-quality.”


Lastly, as with a lot of startups, it comes down to cash flow. Even with the Kickstarter funds, Diver-X isn’t “in a financially stable position” to go into mass production. However, the company has sufficient funds to continue development so it’s not the end of HalfDive. Diver-X aims to address issues mentioned before coming back with an updated design.

The Kickstarter looked to raise ¥20,000,000 Yen (around $176,000 USD) and actually hit ¥24 million before the campaign was canceled. Due to the cancellation, the 248 backers weren’t charged so at least there’s no refund to chase and Diver-X has been honest about what’s occurred.

When gmw3 learns more about the future of the company and its unusual HalfDive headset we’ll let you know.

The Unusual HalfDive VR Headset Launches Kickstarter Campaign

HalfDive image 2

Virtual reality (VR) is all about immersion and a key component of that is physical freedom, being able to move around a tracked playspace however you wish. But that’s not always possible depending on physical space, disability or simply you just don’t want to get out of bed. Enter Japanese startup Diver-X which has just launched a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for its rather unusual headset, the HalfDive.


What makes the HalfDive rather different from other VR devices is that it’s been completely designed around use whilst laying down, hence why it’s perfect for in-bed VR gaming. The brainchild of Diver-X co-founders Yamato Sakoda and Kei Asano, HalfDive draws inspiration from anime like Sword Art Online, where users “dive” into virtual experiences. Sakoda originally started out developing a brain-computer interface (BCI) device but realising the obstacles that stood in the way pivoted towards far more accessible technology.

HalfDive has features you’d expect from a VR headset, a nice 134° field of view, manual IPD adjustment; an LCD display with a 2,880 × 1,600 resolution, four speakers and a 90Hz refresh rate. After that things begin to differ thanks to the whole base-station setup. So rather than clamping to your face HalfDive mechanically moves into position over a users face, meaning there’s no pressure so it should be very comfortable to use. It also features force and wind feedback, a system you usually only find in hyper-reality location-based systems. Most importantly, Diver-X says HalfDive is compatible with SteamVR thanks to OpenVR integration.

Control scheme wise, currently shown are a pair of cabled cuffs to which you can attach trackers such as HalfDive’s or HTC’s own Vive Tracker to. Whilst that puts your hand into VR there’s doesn’t seem to be an input method for walking or other interactions. The company has previously teased a physical controller but there’s no mention of that in the Kickstarter.


When it comes to backing this rather bizarre idea there are two models available. The Minimum Model comes in at an Early Bird price of $750 USD which includes HaldDive, hand “controllers” and a HalfDive Tracker. Whilst the more expensive Basic Model at $1050 adds the Force & Wind Feedback module. Looking to raise ¥20,000,000 Yen (around $176,000) is well over the halfway mark at ¥14 million, indicating significant interest in this device.

How feasible HalfDive will be to play most SteamVR titles remains to be seen. Watching movies or more passive meditation apps will likely be its forte as rotational movement shown in the campaign still looks fairly clunky. If the Kickstarter goes well Diver-X estimates HalfDive will start shipping in August 2022.

Halfdive Specification

  • Display
    • Resolution – 2,880 × 1,600 LCD (1,440 × 1,600 per eye)
    • Refresh rate – 90Hz
  • Optics
    • Lens – 10-element aspheric lenses
    • Field of View (FoV) – 134° (estimated)
    • IPD range – 58-84 mm
  • Tracking
    • HalfDive tracker, Vive Tracker supported (Tundra Tracker support coming soon)
  • Connections
    • DisplayPort 1.2 / USB3.0 / 3.5mm audio jack / 12V power source / I2C (module connection),
  • Audio 
    • 4 in-built speaker and microphone
  • System Requirment
    • Windows 10 (Linux support coming soon)
    • Dual Core CPU with hyper-threading
    • 8GB RAM
    • Nvidia GeForce GTX970 / AMD RX 480

HalfDive’s Kickstarter is due to finish on 30th January 2022. As the campaign progresses VRFocus will keep you updated.

HalfDive VR Headset Kickstarter Cancelled Due to Niche Appeal, Manufacturing Issues

Japanese startup Diver-X launched a Kickstarter for a unique VR headset called HalfDive that was designed to be used while laying down, drawing some pretty clear inspiration from hit anime Sword Art Online. Although the unique project managed to secure enough cash to be considered fully funded, the team has decided to cancel the Kickstarter, citing scaling issues which ultimately stem from its niche appeal.

Diver-X announced that it’s pulling the plug on HalfDive, announcing that all backers would not be charged for funds collected.

The company mentions three major concerns, which essentially boil down to its niche appeal, inability to reduce costs by producing major components in-house, and resultant cash flow issues due to scalability issues. You can read the full text in the company’s blog post.

“We were faced with the brutal reality that no matter how optimized and multifunctional our device may be for use in sleeping-posture, it is only a replacement of existing VR devices and not yet an interface that brings innovative experiences,” Diver-X says.

Despite the setback, the company maintains it’s still dedicated to developing “full dive” tech which emphasizes in-bed VR immersion. The original article announcing the campaign’s start follows below:

HalfDive has just surpassed its funding goal, amassing around $178,000 from 177 backers. All available funding tiers are still available at the time of this writing, with the most popular tier, the early bird Basic Model, having nearly sold out at $1050.

Diver-X hasn’t published stretch goals yet, however we’ll be following the project as it finishes out the remained of its 40 days until the campaign comes to an end on January 30th, 2022. The original article detailing the Kickstarter follows below:

Original Article (December 16th, 2021): HalfDive isn’t a brain-computer interface like SAO’s NerveGearhowever it does promise to let users play SteamVR games like VRChat and experience some pretty interesting object interaction via its tethered force feedback solution too.

The Kickstarter launched today, and is asking for ¥20,000,000 or around $176,000 USD. At the time of this writing, the project has already garnered over $70,000, putting it around one-third of the way there.

Diver-X is offering two distinctive models through the Kickstarter, what it calls a ‘HalfDive Minimum Model’ (starting at $750) and ‘HalfDive Basic Model’ (starting at $1,050).

The minimum model includes the headset and base, a pair of HalfDive controllers, and a proprietary head tracker. The basic model includes that, plus the force feedback module and a pair of wind feedback modules (re: fans) for both greater immersion and cooling.

Image courtesy Diver-X

The company previously said it would be providing a more expensive version with variable focus lenses, however the creators say the variant is too difficult to mass produce. There won’t be a stretch goal for vari-focal lenses either, something Diver-X says they’ve decided as to better focus on development and production.

Controllers haven’t been revealed yet either. The creators are ostensibly still working on its promised foot-worn ankle controllers and the Vive Index-style hand controllers, which it teased in previous marketing material. Its force feedback cuffs appear to provide a place to attach Vive Trackers at least. The company says its working to integrate support for Tundra Trackers as well.

As for functionality: unlike standard VR headsets, which require you to strap them to your head for optimal fit and image clarity, HalfDive is more of a passive experience that seems to cradle your head rather than tightly affix it in place. Diver-X CEO Yamato Sakoda adjusts himself into a prone position and slips on two hand-worn cuffs that are tethered with retractable wires to force feedback modules in the base of the unit.

Diver-X says its design primarily allows users to operate in VR without any pressure on the head, and as a result covers 99% of all human head sizes.

As you’d imagine, a user laying on the ground has a different expected range of motion is than someone using a VR headset in either sitting or standing positions. The headset’s range of motion was previously described by Diver-X as 4.5 degrees of freedom (DOF), further calling it “virtual 6DOF”. We can see what that means functionally in the video of the 3D printed third prototype below as he adjusts the visor down into the optimal viewing position and angles it left and right, also called ‘yaw’.

What the gif doesn’t show is it can also apparently pitch up and down (relative to the user’s point of view) to a lesser degree. Still, that action looks pretty stiff, and even with the promise of a smoother injection molded body, looking around will decidedly require more effort than with a standard VR headset in either seated or standing position.

Construction of the mold for mass production is said to take place in February 2022, with completion estimated for May. Shipping is said to arrive sometime in Summer 2022; Kickstarter funding tiers are marked as releasing in August 2022.

It’s an innovative design for sure, however HalfDive is probably not for everyone. Playing VR games whilst laying down—but positioned in the VR world as if you’re standing up—may cause discomfort in some users depending on the amount of movement required in the game. Vection, or the motion that’s implied by movement in your visual field, can lead to discomfort if artificial motion and your body’s expectation of that motion don’t match up well enough.

That’s essentially why room-scale games without any type of artificial locomotion are usually the most comfortable to play, while games that toss around your point-of-view with topsy-turvy game geometry, or include heavy expectation of frenetic movement, are often the least comfortable among the bunch.

Granted, HalfDive looks pretty ideal for watching Netflix in the void theater, and maybe even hanging out in VRChat for a chill virtual face-to-face that doesn’t require too much virtual locomotion. We’re looking forward to seeing more as the headset exits its third prototype phase and heads closer to mass production in early Summer 2022. Again, you can check out the Kickstarter here.


  • Display – 2,880 × 1,600 LCD at 90Hz (1,440 × 1,600 per eye)
  • Optics – 10-element aspheric lens array
  • FOV – estimated 134°
  • Adjustable IPD – 58-84 mm range
  • I/O – Located in headset base: DisplayPort 1.2 / USB3.0 / 3.5mm audio jack / 12V power source / I2C (module connection),
  • Tracking – HalfDive tracker, Vive tracker supported (Tundra Tracker support coming soon),
  • Audio – built-in 4-spear array, microphone
  • Supported OS – Windows 10 (Linux support coming soon)
  • Minimum PC specs – Dual Core CPU with hyper-threading, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX970 / AMD RX 480

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Kickstarter for Sword Art Online-inspired VR Headset Delayed by “a few days”, Reveal Video Here

Japanese startup Diver-X is looking to launch a SteamVR-compatible headset that seems to be taking a few ideas from popular anime Sword Art Online. The new style of VR headset—not a brain-computer interface like the “full dive” NerveGear featured in the show—was supposed to hit Kickstarter on December 6th, however it’s now been delayed by “a few days.”

Update (December 9th, 2021): Diver-X has issued an update on Twitter in recent days announcing the delay of its Kickstarter campaign. Here’s the text in full:

“Due to a mistake in the process of posting on the crowdfunding site, the review of the page has not been completed yet and the publication is expected to be delayed for a few days. We apologize for the delay, and will notify you as soon as the page is available!”

In the meantime, the studio has released a reveal video that will ostensibly be featured in the campaign when it launches in the next few days.

Original Article (November 18th, 2021): Called HalfDive, the Tokyo-based company says its taking advantage of the sleeping position to “enabl[e] human activity in its lowest energetic state.”

Since it’s worn laying down, the creators say they’re freed from many of the design constraints that conventional VR headset makers are used to pursuing with the introduction of things like pancake optics and microdisplays. Since the weight isn’t on your neck, it doesn’t have to be light or slim.

Image courtesy Diver-X

Instead, HalfDive is perched on a base that allows it to include things like a 10 aspherical lens stack for a reported 134-degree field of view (FOV), and what Diver-X calls a “significantly improved image quality” out of its  1,600 × 1,440 pixels per-eye dual displays.

After all, HalfDive is meant to be a mostly stationary experience, so users really aren’t meant to physically move outside of turning their heads left and right, something the company calls 4.5DOF (degrees of freedom), further calling it “virtual 6DOF.”

The company says its supporting the avatar movement simulation mentioned above in addition to SteamVR base station tracking, which may be used for its yet to-be-revealed controller. We’re eager to see just how that’s supposed to work when HalfDive gets closer to its Kickstarter launch, which is coming on December 6th, 2021.

That said, Diver-X has revealed surprisingly little for such a unique design concept. So far we know the system’s locomotion method will be fairly passive too; locomotion is controlled by foot-worn controllers which depend on the degree of tilt of the user’s ankle.

Image courtesy Diver-X

A hand controller hasn’t been completely revealed yet either, although a blurred image released in late September suggests it will be something akin to Valve’s SteamVR controllers (aka ‘Knuckles’).

To immerse the other senses, HalfDive also features four speakers—that’s two more than basically all VR headsets out there. The company has also made mention of a “wire-based-force-feedback-module” which it says will give the user a sense of touch.

A concept image shows a lead connecting the user’s hand and the headset base, which may allow for a basic level of resistance when encountering digital objects.

Image courtesy Diver-X

Two fans integrated into the headset provide greater immersion via wind effects and also comfortability when set on low.

Another weighty inclusion to the headset: a vibration feedback system which syncs with audio to enhance things like enemy footsteps, gunshots, and environmental sounds.

The most expensive version of the hardware coming to a Kickstarter next month will include a custom varifocal optical stack, which allows the headset to more naturally replicate vergence and accommodation—something Meta (formerly Facebook) has been working on over the years too in various prototypes.

We won’t have to wait too long to see it in action hopefully. HalfDive is being pitched on Kickstarter starting December 6th, and is slated to offer the headset in three flavors: a basic model without varifocal lenses (~$700), some sort of bundled package (~$1100), and its varifocal lens version (~$3,900). You can check out the full specs below:


  • Degrees of Freedom: 4.5dof (Virtual 6dof)
  • Optical system: Original optical system using 10 lenses. Varifocal feature supported.
  • Field of view: 134 degrees
  • Resolution: 1600 x 1440 pixels per eye (3200×1440 pixels combined)
  • Refresh rate: >=90hz
  • Dial styled IPD adjustment: 58-82mm
  • Audio: Immersive sound system using 4 speakers
  • Controller: Two hand/foot controllers
  • Tracking: Lighthouse supported / Avatar movement emulation system using foot controller
  • Camera: Keyboard overlay system
  • Interface: DisplayPort 1.2 / USB3.0 / 3.5mm audio jack / 12V power source / I2C (module connection)
  • Platform: All SteamVR application supported
  • SDK: Unity (features dedicated to VRChat) / Unreal Engine

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