Queen Guitarist Brian May Has His Own VR HMD. Really.

by Jamie Feltham • May 25th, 2016

Legendary Beatle Paul McCartney might be starring in his own VR documentary, but equally iconic Queen guitarist Brian May is going one step further.

May is known for his epic guitar solos and political activism, but did you know he was also a VR pioneer? Move over Palmer Luckey; The London Stereoscopic Company which has been co-directed by May ever since 2006 is launching its own mobile-based VR HMD next month.

The OWL Virtual Reality Kit, as it’s called, is a simple pair of lenses that clip onto a user’s phone. The device is based off of the company’s own OWL Stereo Viewer which was designed to view “Victorian-style” stereoscopic images. Think Google Cardboard, just without the surrounding casing. You can watch the master musician himself introduce it below.

May does his best to explain VR, informing us that “you don’t want to miss out on VR, because people are doing it now”. Thanks, Brian. You might have to forgive the romantic Christmas-themed fireplace setting, though, as the video was first launched back in December 2015.

The kit is made of polypropylene and collapses into a flat format. According to the guitarist it can support any type of smartphone. Funnily enough, May uses McCartney’s first video with cinematic VR company Jaunt – a performance of the classic Live and Let Die in 360 degrees – to showcase the kit, calling it “an amazing virtual reality experience”. Chances are if you’re reading this site you know all about this kind of VR and just how convincing it really is, but it’s undeniably amusing and downright surreal to see the music icon introduce it.

The OWL VR Kit is launches in mid June 2016 and will cost £25 (about $37) and is available to pre-order now. That’s without shipping, which brings the device up to a fair bit more than a Google Cardboard when added on. It doesn’t appear that May and co will be creating any unique software to the kit. That’s a bit of a shame considering that we’d love to see one of his incredible guitar solos performed in 360 degrees.

Just when you think VR couldn’t get any weirder. Look out for Gordon Lightfoot’s Room Scale VR spectacular soon. Not really.

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