Varjo releases next-generation XR-3 and VR-3 headsets 1

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The new XR-3 and VR-3 mixed and virtual reality headsets from Varjo are big leaps forward and designed to serve a wider range of businesses

Quick read

➨ The XR-3 and VR-3 are available to pre-order now and will ship in early 2021
➨ Both headsets are significantly cheaper than their predecessors, reflecting Varjo’s desire for its line of headsets to go mainstream in enterprise
➨ The XR-3—with mixed reality now fully integrated—boasts several of its own upgrades, including depth awareness with LiDAR and stereo RGB video pass-through to deliver seamless mixed reality

The story

Finnish immersive technology company Varjo is targeting wider business adoption of its virtual and mixed reality headsets with the release of a new generation.

The XR-3 and VR-3, which are two years in the making, are available to pre-order now and will ship in early 2021. According to Urho Konttori, co-founder and chief innovation officer at Varjo, they reflect client feedback and are “better than other headsets in almost every factor”.

Both headsets are significantly cheaper than their predecessors, reflecting Varjo’s desire for its line of headsets to go mainstream in enterprise. Previous editions were built for Fortune 500 businesses in industries such as automotive and aerospace.

But with the mixed reality XR-3 headset costing $5,495 and the VR-3 virtual reality headset priced at $3,195, Varjo is opening up its range to a much wider pool of enterprises that may not have previously had the budget to try its products.

To put those into context, the XR-1 Development Edition and VR-2 were priced at around $10,000 and $6,000, respectively.

The new headsets from Varjo are also big leaps forward and designed to serve a wider range of businesses.

The new VR-3

Both headsets boast a 115° field of view made possible by Varjo’s full frame Bionic Display with double the human-eye resolution area. They now also support ultra-high resolution across the full frame, as well as color accuracy that mirrors the real world.

Varjo has boosted the performance of the XR-3 and VR-3, giving the headsets a refresh rate of 90 Hz and fast and accurate eye tracking up to 200 Hz, which delivers optimised visual fidelity through foveated rendering.

Both devices also feature integrated Ultraleap hand tracking for natural interactions. 

Varjo has designed a new three-point precision fit headband, made the headsets 40% lighter, introduced active cooling and implemented ultra-wide optical design to lessen eye strain and simulator sickness.

They are compatible with Unity, Unreal Engine, OpenXR 1.0 and hundreds of industrial 3D engines and applications, including Autodesk VRED, Lockheed Martin Prepar3d, VBS BlueIG and FlightSafety Vital.

Varjo’s XR-3

The XR-3—with mixed reality now fully integrated—boasts several of its own upgrades, including depth awareness with LiDAR and stereo RGB video pass-through to deliver seamless mixed reality.

The headset’s inside-out tracking also enables users to determine the precise position of the XR-3 within the environment, which improves tracking accuracy and removes the need for SteamVR base stations.

Konttori says: “Our team has been working non-stop throughout 2020 to further push the envelope of what is possible in XR and VR. The new XR-3 and VR-3 are the most advanced, zero-compromise devices on the market and suitable for any professional workflow.”

“We are especially excited by the introduction of depth awareness in the XR-3 through combined LiDAR and RGB video, enabling the most realistic mixed reality experiences ever seen. With our highest-performance XR, Varjo is setting the new standard for professional immersive computing and paving the way for a collaborative, cloud-enabled mixed reality workplace.”

Varjo has also revamped its software offering. New subscriptions will replace the previous services, allowing clients to manage and acquire software from a dedicated portal. Subscription costs depend on the device.

One client using the new XR-3 is Cole Engineering Services. Thomas Kehr, its programme manager for synthetic training, welcomed the upgrades to the mixed reality headset.

Kehr says: “The enhanced Varjo XR-3 capabilities will allow us to apply this MR technology more broadly, blending together the virtual and physical fidelity interfaces of our collective training applications to provide a revolutionary simulation user experience.”

He cites Varjo’s XR-3’s “rich API and tailorable software capabilities” and inside-out tracking as particular highlights.

Kehr says: “Varjo’s continued commitment to customer service and technical flexibility mirrors our values at Cole Engineering Services to enable a relationship that truly feels more like a partnership than a traditional hardware supplier interaction.”

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Images: Varjo

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