French startup Lynx launched a Kickstarter campaign for Lynx R-1 in October, a standalone MR headset which is capable of both VR and passthrough AR. Starting at €530 (or $500 if you’re not subject to European sales tax), the MR headset attracted a strong response from backers as it passed its initial funding goal in under 15 hours, going on to garner over $800,000 throughout the month-long campaign.
Update (November 10th, 2021): Lynx R-1 Kickstarter is now over, and it’s attracted €725,281 (~$835,000) from 1,216 backers. In the final hours the campaign managed to pass its first stretch goal at $700,000—a free facial interface pad.
If you missed out, the company is now offering direct preorders for both its Standard Edition for $600 and Enterprise Edition for $1,100. It’s also selling a few accessories including compatible 6DOF controllers, facial interfaces, and a travel case.
Previous updates to this article have been included at the bottom, which include a play-by-play of its progress and additional stretch goals.
Original Article (October 5th, 2021): Lynx R-1 features the same Qualcomm XR2 chipset as Oculus Quest 2 and HTC Vive Focus 3, and like those two it’s also based on a heavily modified version of Android. Plug it into a VR-capable computer, and the creators say you’ll be able to play SteamVR content too when it launches next year. Jump to the Kickstarter here if you already know what’s up.
For everyone else: what sets it apart though is it’s tuned from the ground-up to play full VR games and do both passthrough augmented reality, making it a mixed reality headset by definition. Another hardware quirk: it also features a novel optic called a “four-fold catadioptric freeform prism,” which is said to slim down the size of Lynx R-1 seemingly beyond what current Fresnel-style lenses have achieved. More on specs below.
Lynx is hoping to appeal to a pretty wide swath of would-be backers, as it offers both a Professional Edition starting at €950 (or $900 without VAT) and a consumer-oriented version at €530 (or $500).
A Limited Edition version is also available for €745 (or $700 without VAT), which features a fully transparent faceplate. Only 1,000 of those are being made available through the campaign, so get ’em while they’re hot.
Initially started as an enterprise-focused company, Lynx R-1 Professional Edition offers few things over the consumer version; with that tier, you can resell the headset and also receive pro-level support from Lynx. All headsets—save the €4,999 tier where backers can meet the team and receive a signed model a month early—are slated to ship in April 2022.
All versions are also coming with a 1m USB-C cable, USB-C Charger, VR facial interface for a more immersive experience, and fabric headstrap for added comfort.
Since it relies on hand tracking, motion controllers aren’t the ‘out-of-the-box’ control method. CEO Stan Larroque tells Road to VR that its 6DOF controllers are based on Finch Technologies ‘Shift’ controller hardware, something we’ve seen in practice with HTC Vive Focus in the past. Those are available as a separate €100 (or $90 without VAT) add-on tier via the headset’s Kickstarter.
The campaign is shooting for €300,000 (~$350,000) for its initial funding goal, although we can bet it will go well beyond that if any of the recent VR hardware campaigns from this past year are any indication. Tundra Tracker, a small motion device using the SteamVR tracking standard, managed to net over $1 million back in April, and the Yaw2 motion simulator chair garnered a whopping $2.7 million in June.
Here’s a look at the headset’s specs.
Lynx R-1 Specs
- 1,600 × 1,600 LCD @90Hz per eye, with ultra low-latency Color Passthrough for Augmented Reality
- Qualcomm XR2 chipset with 6GB of RAM and 128GB internal storage
- 6DOF rom-scale
- Optical Hand tracking
- Cameras: 2 B&W for positional, 2 IR cameras for hand tracking, 2 visible light cameras for passthrough
- WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5
- PCVR compatible with SteamVR over WiFi
- SD card slot for up to 1TB of external storage
- Two stereo speakers, 4 microphone array and a 3.5mm Jack TRRS
- Eye Relief: 13mm, Eye-Box: 11mm
- Battery life: estimated 3 hours
Update (November 1st, 2021): The Lynx Kickstarter has doubled its funding goal, currently at €600,000 of €300,000 (~$693,000 of $346,500). One week remains in the headset’s crowdfunding campaign which expects its first shipments in April 2022.
The Lnyx team recently showed a closer look at the headset’s Ultraleap-based hand-tracking capabilities, including occlusion and drawing.
The company plans to livestream an update on November 4th which it says will cover topics like SteamVR, the headset’s developer SDK, and the upcoming AWE event which Lynx plans to attend.
Update (October 15th, 2021): Less than two weeks since its launch, the Lynx Kickstart is approaching twice is funding goal, currently sitting at c488,000 of €300,000 (~$567,000 of ~$348,000). With 24 days remaining, the project looks likely to exceed the double mark and then some.
The project has also revealed its first set of stretch goals:
- $700,000 – Extra face pad
- $1,000,000 – 128GB SD card & 2M USB-C cable
- $1,500,000 – Option for $50 travel case (photo here)
The company says it may add additional stretch goals moving forward.
Lynx also shared a demo of the headsets hand-tracking in action (which is powered by Ultraleap):
Update (October 6th, 2021): The Lynx R-1 campaign has passed its €300,000 goal, and now sits at around €320,000 nearly one full day later. There’s still no talk of stretch goals, although if it keeps up its current pace we that may change here soon.
Lynx also provided an update this morning to clarify that Lynx R-1 does indeed cost $500 for people not subject to European/French value-added tax (VAT). It was previously reported that the Early Bird tier was around $615, however it now the creators have created a dedicated funding tier without VAT for non-EU backers. We’ve made note of these changes in the article below, and have adjusted all pricing tiers.
Additional reporting by Ben Lang