Varjo promises true mixed reality with XR-1 Developer Edition

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Finnish headset maker Varjo has upgraded its seminal VR-1 with a front plate featuring dual 12 megapixel cameras that it claims achieves true mixed reality (MR).

Varjo’s XR-1 Developer Edition, which will ship in the second half of 2019, uses cameras, attached to the VR-1 via a front plate, to digitise the world in real time, and then multiplexes it inside the GPU with the virtual content to show the combined result to the user.

The dual 12 megapixel cameras produce high resolution with imperceptible latency (<15ms).

Users can switch seamlessly between MR and full virtual reality (VR) modes. The depth sensors in XR-1 allow mapping real-life objects and environments for building natural occlusion.

Varjo said examples of industrial applications for the device include UX design, collaboration with photorealistic three-dimensional (3D) models, training and simulation, as well as unique research and data analytics across real and virtual environments with XR-1’s 20/20 eye tracker.

Varjo promises true mixed reality with XR-1 Developer Edition

Speaking to VRWorldTech in April, Urho Konttori, chief product officer and co-founder of Varjo, promised that the add-on would bring “by far the highest quality MR of any headset out there”.

He said in April: “The HTC Focus line-up and the Vive Pro have certain resolution cameras that you can use for mixed reality, but with very high latency. The distortions are still quite visible. We’ve worked on all of these things. The resolution is huge. Latency is non-existent, certainly below typical VR rendering. There is much more work we do for each pixel you see, but we’ve been able to get rid of all the latency.”

Varjo has also announced that it will receive an investment from the Volvo Cars Tech Fund, the Swedish car manufacturer’s venture capital fund that invests in high-potential technology startups.

Volvo Cars has been using XR-1 to test-drive virtual car designs on the road since the middle of last year.

Konttori said: “XR-1 brings all the convenience of seeing your body as well as the real world around you and being able to look at your colleagues while designing a virtual object or environment.”

“The XR-1 can show mixed reality with true-to-life fidelity you can only achieve using video-pass- through. Lifelike mixed reality is quite literally impossible to achieve with optical-see-through systems like HoloLens.”

Henrik Green, chief technology officer at Volvo Cars, added: “With Varjo XR-1, we can start evaluating designs and technologies while they are literally still on the drawing board.”

“Instead of the usual static way of evaluating new products and ideas, we can test concepts on the road immediately. This approach offers considerable potential cost savings by clearing bottlenecks much earlier in the design and development process.”

Watch the video below to see how Volvo has used the XR-1:

Image credits: © Varjo: