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. Lynx previously said it was pivoting to target both enterprise and consumers however, now adding that the headset will start at $500 when it hits Kickstarter sometime in late September.

Update (September 10th, 2021): Lynx tossed out a new promo yesterday in which an opening price point was revealed, reaching well below the sub-$1,000 price tag previously mentioned in July.

The consumer version is said to be priced at $500. A transparent ‘Limited Edition’ model is said to come in at $700, while a professional edition for businesses will sell for $900.

CEO Stan Larroque explains in a Q&A video that while it won’t be selling hardware below cost, they’ve factored in the price of both limited and pro editions so they can hit that $500 price point for consumers. The original article announcing the Kickstarter follows below.

Original Article (July 9th, 2021): 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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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 4,000 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • 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’.

      • Ad

        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.

          • Cless

            You have a very weird way of saying “Facebook is buying out a monopoly while its cheap by using anticompetitive tactics”, but to each their own I guess…

      • ViRGiN

        *all facebook haters confirms its sold undercost

        Literally not a single facebook hater even produced a single unit for twice as much.

    • 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”

      • VRFriend

        They are investing in this. Operating losses do not matter now.

        • Ad

          I am more optimistic now, although partly because of facebook’s AR sdk.

      • ViRGiN

        Your logic is 100% artificial. You say one thing out loud then crawl back to your reddit echochamber contradicting yourself. You’ve been exposed.

    • philgamer

      The most expensive part on the Quest 2 are the controllers. The Lynx doesn’t ship with controllers.

  • 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.

    • ViRGiN

      Better than blind optimism, cause they have shown something somewhere.
      Kickstarter? Take your money; i’ll sit back and relax and watch all the butthurt comments, like every other campaign in existence.
      Watch how confident they are now, to crawl back to their shithole when estimated dates are nearby. COVID is a real thing, but never real enough to impact any crowdfunding ever

      • Jistuce

        It… really isn’t better. It is contentless mockery(which is admittedly better than the “facebook/apple ad copy” they usually post). If they have a REASON for cacophonous laughter, it would be nice to hear it.

        Personally, I see an intriguing hardware design with some notable potential. I also see a concept which is completely useless to me because my understanding is that the lenses need to be very close to the eye, placing them inside the space my glasses exist in. So I am, unfortunately, in a position where I hope this really cool idea does not take off because widespread adoption of it would ruin the market for me personally.

        I’ve had pretty good luck with Kickstarter, though I’m aware that there’s a lot of failed projects out there, ranging from “hopeless naivete about real-world costs” to “wildly ambitious but risky” and on into “blatant fraud that any idiot should’ve seen coming”. And I do believe that Kickstarter themselves are enablers for blatant fraud, as despite their promises to fix the problem they have never really done anything meaningful or even enforced their existing policies. They have no incentive to do so and benefit from the perpetuation of fraud, as they get paid when the money changes hands.

        (I see the article’s recently been updated, which explains the sudden interest in a two-month-old post)

        • metaphysician67

          yeah i love how they pile on anyone with anything even remotely positive to say. at least one of them slags Valve constantly as well.

          anyway as far as the product itself Stan mentioned in the video update that glasses would be no problem for most individuals. they’ve redesigned the lenses and the IPD range is fairly wide ranging, at least compared to the 3 positions on the Quest 2. the test AR/MR video they’ve shot shows the headset being used outside on a pretty sunny day and looks fairly impressive for the most part.

          as far as the KS and the delivery times, i think they might be optimistic, but i can say that Stan has apparently been very open in the past. his Twitter feed goes back 5 years and he’s updated it constantly with updates on his glasses projects, so this isn’t someone brand new to the scene, deliberately selling KS snake oil. he seems to have connections to manufacturing partners and is responding to user feedback. as far as manufacturing goes they are planning to have some of the team in Taiwan onsite full time, rather than handling it remotely. watching the videos for Update #2 in late July and Update #3 was helpful, but their site information can be spotty, which i hope they will correct.

          • Jistuce

            I’m glad to know that the tech doesn’t inherently preclude glasses. Because it does look really darn cool, and solves some legitimate issues.

  • 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.

  • dk

    Kickstarter: $499

    Special Edition: $699 (transparent; they will only build about 1000 of those)

    Professional: $899

    • ViRGiN

      Real takeaway: ultra-professionals for $1899 will get it first before anyone else, and even then it will be lacking everything promised today.
      Remember, COVID is real, but not when you’re collecting money.

  • Ad

    It costs as much as an index HMD, and personally it’s not a bad choice if you have a VIve. Especially if you can get some AR use case while using those controllers, and if Leap’s hand tracking holds up.

    • ViRGiN

      Why don’t you follow up on those ‘multiple games to play’ shilling, while complaining about lack of new games to be released?
      What a Valve shill

  • VRFriend

    1600×1600 per eye. This kills it for me as G2 owner. Looking forward only to devices at least as good as thew new HTC Vive 2.

    • Steve R

      The intended market for this headset is 1) those who want a standalone headset that has both color AR and VR capabilities and 2) those who want a reasonably priced standalone headset that doesn’t require a facebook account. It is not a competitor to headsets tethered to a PC or expensive standalone headsets.

  • Cless

    A very futuristic music for a device with a 1 year old CPU….

  • Johnatan Blogins

    Tried looking at the specs on the web page, in the sensors section it doesn’t list cameras for eye tracking, but it does in the tracking section “low latency eye tracking”, the post above also implies “no need for eye tracking”. Did they remove the eye tracking functionality to bring down cost, or is it still there?!?
    I think eye+hand tracking is a serious proposition for MR interfaces, both are needed for an effective controller-les solution (not for classic VR gaming obviously) but I don’t see anyone buying this for gaming…

    • Steve R

      They announced that they removed it to bring costs down.
      Curious why you think eye tracking is necessary for MR UI

      • Johnatan Blogins

        late reply, but with the combination of the two you can do context with eye tracking, fine control with hand: two panels with buttons, look at one panel, then move hand slightly to select specific item, or simple pinch gesture for confirm after selecting with eye tracking…

  • oomph2

    Revolutionary optics

  • Muckylittleme

    90 degree FOV? Are we going backward?