French startup Lynx announced its Lynx R-1 mixed reality headset last year. The standalone headset, which is capable of both VR and pass-through AR, was previously said to launch for business somewhere around the $1,500 price point. Now Lynx says it’s pivoting focus to include both enterprise and consumers, and will bring the headset down “below $1,000.” You can expect a Kickstarter sometime in September 2021, the company says.

Lynx founder and CEO Stan Larroque announced in the project’s July update a few key changes to its upcoming MR headset. You can check out the full 30-minute video at the bottom of the article.

In short, the headset is now said to include a modified version of its unique “four-fold catadioptric freeform prism” optics which will remove the need for eye-tracking, something that was required due to the headset’s relatively small eye-box—the “sweet spot” area within the headset where you can view the image in focus.

Image courtesy Lynx

One of the biggest revelations from the update was that Lynx R-1 is expected to be “way below $1,000,” or just a “couple hundred dollars,” Larroque says. This was achieved by modifying some components, however it wasn’t specified which ones.

Larroque confirmed the headset will still include Ultraleap hand-tracking, which is the only other change in its overall feature set. All other features are said to be in-tact, and the product “is complete,” including specs and design. The Qualcomm Snpadragon XR-2 is still listed on the headset’s spec sheet, which is nice to see.

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A month-long Kickstarter campaign to fund the headset’s refocus towards consumers is expected in September 2021, with shipments targeting February 2022. Lynx says it’s reimbursing those who pre-ordered the headset and will give them a promo code. A special clear version of the headset is also slated to be on offer, which you can see in the image above.

Prototypes of the updated design are said to ship sometime this summer to select members of the press, so we’ll hopefully have a better idea of how everything has come together after the company’s two-year stint in R&D.

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  • Ad

    This looks like a spectacular debacle in waiting with no clear focus or purpose. And the UploadVR article was obnoxiously clickbait.

    Without controllers it’s pretty useless for SteamVR. Without dedicated AR software, and there won’t be much, it doesn’t seem to be of value to consumers.

    I’d love to see it succeed but what do they even want to be?

    • Rudl Za Vedno

      The most interesting part of this headset is it’soptics. 4-​fold catadioptric freeform prism enables hmd to be very thin. This could be the future of VR if it turns out to be any good.

      • Hymen Cholo

        It also improves the pixels per degree and screen door effect using some overlapping image voodoo I don’t fully understand. This is an in depth presentation from the makers of the lens hardware–

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Personally I don’t care if the headset is thin (with taking current headsets as the maximum thickness), as long as the picture is as good as possible. I’d rather have a larger headset with a large FOV then a thin headset with a small FOV.

        • Ad

          Weight and comfort are what matter in the end.

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    One more proof of Quest’s price being subsidized by FB doesn’t hold water. I’ve been saying all along that Quest 2 is NOT priced under it’s production and distribution value. If these small startup guys can sell you pretty high end AR/VR headset for “just a few hundred dollars” and still generate “very little” profit (not sell at a loss), I bet you FB achieves the same (probably even better ROI due to Quest’s mass production) with Quest 2.

    Zuck wants you in his FB garden, but he surely ain’t subsidizing you from his pocket to catch your attention time. His marketing department has done a splendid job, convincing ppl that they’re getting a good deal here, while in reality Zuck is the one profiting most from it.

    • kontis

      Subsidizing does not require negative profit margins.

      Quest 2 probably isn’t sold at negative profit margin, but when you count billions they invested in VR it’s obvious that making it back with hardware sales alone would be impossible. So pricing Quest 2 correctly to offset these costs without software and data sales would result in a much more expensive device.

      Nintendo also never loses money on hardware. Even Sony stopped doing that after PS3 (PS4 was around zero profit margin).
      But they spend at least hundreds of millions on R&D and designing the system and ecosystem, so not getting this back in the actual hardware is also considered subsidizing, because they are giving consumers hardware they normally wouldn’t be able to without strings attached.

      Valve initially thought that those few dozen million dollars they invested in VR R&D would result in billions (we know that from ex employees) in profit just from software sales and they hoped they would never have to make any hardware, so they were initially even okay with the idea to give all tech for free to Oculus (before FB happened). That was wrong after HTC gave up on being their hardware slave and also wanted to get that delicious software pie.

    • All hardware manufacturers confirm that it is sold undercost and they know how much does it cost to make a headset… also analysts say that Facebook from R&D and hardware sales will have a loss of $6B for the VR sector in just 2021. It is a business strategy, they do it because they can.

      • Can confirm hardware development is sure fire method of losing money. Even bringing basic gamepad to market isn’t inexpensive.

        Hiccups during pre-production are expensive, or worse QA issues affecting production units with associated RMA costs.

        Old hardware saying, ‘Want $10 Million? Start with $20 Million’.

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        Is there another example of a company losing money 4:1 like this? The only examples I can think of are intensely failed launches.

        • Yep, you’re right: Facebook can, and does, do it because they’re
          101% committed to VR being the next mass market computing platform,
          and as such, they’re deeply financially committed to it’s rapid advancement.
          Meanwhile, Apple is betting on AR, but AR is stupid.
          Why is AR stupid?
          Because one of the [dumb] knocks against VR is that it’s isolating:
          when you’re in VR, you’re unaware of what’s going on around you in IRL.
          So you’re telling me with all those AR whirring & spinning graphics
          CONSTANTLY in your face, that you won’t be concentrating on *that*
          instead of what’s happening around you …? C’mon. lol
          AR is isolating too, and only to a slightly lesser degree than VR.

    • Ad

      Yeah no. Screw this fake logic. Not only is this lynx launching without controllers from a team that doesn’t know how much it’ll cost in all likelihood, but facebook reality labs is reportedly costing facebook 8 billion and only bringing in 2 billion.

      “The analyst points out that The Information recently reported
      that Facebook has close to 10,000 people working on virtual reality
      devices. Mahaney estimates that the company will generate between $5.4
      billion and $6.4 billion in operating losses this year on its virtual
      reality business”

  • Geogaddi

    So the price range is about $200 to $999… Nice to know :)

  • I’m very intrigued by this… passthrough AR offers some new interesting possibilities…

    • What do you find so “intriguing” …??
      I bet you a Napoleon this never even releases.
      Some people on Kickstarter are about to learn a hard lesson …. lol

  • Jistuce

    That was an incredibly detailed and insightful post. Thank you for your valuable contribution to this discourse.

  • Well the slim form is nice, it doesn’t look like it covers the user’s eyes well. And how would the shape of the prism “remove the need for eye tracking”? All VR headsets could use eye tracking.