I sweat a lot. If I’m standing outside with the sun up and a little breeze, it’s only a matter of time before I start sweating. Going for a jog? I’ll be pouring with sweat before most people are even breathing heavily. In fact, I often sweat without even the need for my breathing or heart rate to increase. If I’m in VR for more than 10 minutes I’m probably sweating regardless of what the experience is. My hands get sweaty all the time without cause, especially when holding a game controller. It’s just kind of part of who I am and bless my wife for dealing with it.
In that way, the ViveNChill cooling fan for the HTC Vive by RedRotor (currently running an IndieGoGo campaign that’s fully-funded with a little over a week left as of the time of this writing) almost feels like it was made for me. The email subject line we got at UploadVR asked, “Who’s the sweatiest guy at Upload?” as they asked to send us a sample unit to try and I don’t think there was a moment of hesitation before I volunteered myself. And the great part is that this little thing actually works.
The ViveNChill is a dead simple device that is so effective and unnoticeable that I’d be shocked if something like this isn’t naturally integrated into all future VR headset designs. GPUs have cooling fans, why not VR HMDs too?
All you do is thread it into the top head strap, plug it into the USB port on the headset itself, attach the fans and adjust them appropriately, and you’re good to go. Like most people I play with headphones on so I never even heard the fans buzzing despite their location.
They don’t blow a whole lot of air and it’s not very powerful, but that’s a good thing. It’s just enough to get a minor breeze flowing down your face and keeping you cool without distracting. Since the setup is so simple it’s hard not to recommend the ViveNChill.
Additionally, a cool breeze is a known relief for anyone that suffers from nausea or VR sickness, plus it will help prevent your lenses from fogging up. It happens to me with my actual glasses on a daily basis so being able to put a stop to it with my VR headset lenses is a huge boon. My wife actually brings me lens-defogging drops from the hospital she works at for me to use on my headsets. A little fan is a much nicer (and less smelly) solution.
The fact of the matter is that VR is not comfortable right now. The HTC Vive (especially) is quite bulky and smashes against your face when you’re using it. The Vive wands are clunky to hold, the wire tethers you and constantly gets in the way, and it’s just a very early technology that’s still going through its growing pains. VR headsets get extremely stuffy, especially if you’re being active in them, so this feels like a must-have accessory for anyone that suffers from a sweaty face in VR.
You can pledge support to the ViveNChill on IndieGoGo right now. They asked for $5,000 and have raised about $10,000 as of now. The lowest tier that grants you a ViveNChill on launch is $25 or you can buy a 4-pack for $88.