Varjo Announces XR-1 Headset With Human-Eye Resolution And Eye Tracking

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Varjo aims for ‘Hard AR’ with its developer-focused XR-1 headset.

Earlier this morning enterprise VR developer Varjo unveiled the latest addition to its hardware line-up, the XR-1, a developer-focused VR/AR headset aimed at delivering photorealistic AR visuals so detailed, they’re indistinguishable from real-life.

Outfitted with dual 12mpx cameras located on the headsets front plate, the XR-1 is essentially an upgrade to the VR-1, the companies first headset capable of human-eye resolution; only this time users can access photorealistic video pass-through that layers impressive AR renderings over reality with an unnoticeable 15 ms of latency.

The Varjo XR-1. // Image Credit: Varjo

The XR-1 also features depth sensor technology which enables the headset to automatically map real-world environments and provide a natural sense of occlusion—as well as 20/20 eye tracking, allowing clients to monitor which moments of their experiences received the most attention.

“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,” said Urho Konttori, Chief Product Officer and co-founder of Varjo, in an official release. “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.”

Volvo using the XR-1 during a live road test. // Image Credit: Varjo / Volvo Cars

These ‘Hard AR’ visuals, as Varjo calls it, offer a new level of realism in augmented reality thanks to realistic digital objects which feature true-to-life colors, cast their own shadows, and can illuminate real-world environments; semi-translucent assets will even refract light in a realistic manner. Being that it is an XR headset, users are able to switch instantly between VR and AR, opening up a wide variety of potential use-cases.

In terms of potential use-cases, German auto manufacturer Volvo Cars has been utilizing XR-1 prototypes since last summer on everything from interior design to safety; this includes projecting a digital moose in front of drivers in an effort to slow their speed and improve their situational awareness.

“With Varjo XR-1, we can start evaluating designs and technologies while they are literally still on the drawing board,” added Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Cars, in the release. “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.”

At the moment, the Varjo XR-1 exists to assist engineers, designers, and researchers with various industry-focused projects. While information regarding an official price and release date are scarce, Varjo has confirmed the XR-1 will be arriving the second half of 2019.

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