Facebook has agreed to replace the removable foam face liners in its Oculus virtual reality headsets after months of customer complaints about skin irritations such as rashes and hives. The recall affects about four million units.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that the tech giant’s Oculus subsidiary had received 5,716 complaints of skin irritation incidents related to the facial interfaces in its Quest 2 VR headsets. Some 45 people who used the device had severe reactions that required medical attention.
“The foam facial interfaces can cause facial skin irritation and reactions including rashes, swelling, burning, itching, hives, and bumps,” stated the CPSC notice, which identified that the affected headsets had serial numbers beginning with ‘1WMHH’ and ending with a number below 1264.
In a statement on Tuesday, Oculus said it had issued a “joint voluntary recall” notice with the CPSC and Health Canada for the face liner “in response to reports from a very small percentage of users who have experienced skin irritation where the foam portion of the facial interface rests on the skin.”
A Facebook spokesperson told The Register that the recall does not apply to the headset itself, only the detachable facial interface “made principally of polyurethane foam.”
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In June, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission issued a recall of the Quest 2 due to skin irritation caused by the headset’s foam interface. Facebook previously confirmed that an EU commission is looking into the face mask – which has led to its headsets being pulled from shelves across the Eurozone.
Soon after the Quest 2 system launched last October, users raised the skin irritation issue, with complaints of burning sensations, red facial marks, and hives while wearing the VR headset. In December, the company said that it had received reports from “about 0.01%” of people using the headset – but it claimed the “vast majority” of cases were “mild and … should resolve on their own.”
While comparing the complaints to the “occasional skin irritation” caused by motorcycle helmets, glasses, and ski goggles, Oculus admitted that the condition may be caused by “substances introduced during the manufacturing process or reactions between materials in the headset and cosmetics or skincare products” and said it had made changes to address the reported effects. (RT)
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