Lynx Reveals First Through-the-lens Footage of R-1 Mixed Reality Headset

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French startup Lynx, which is designing a mixed reality headset (capable of both AR and VR), today revealed the first look through its novel optics.

The Lynx R-1 headset was first announced last year as a standalone headset centered around passthrough augmented reality. It’s said to include a Snapdragon XR2 processor, eye-tracking, and unique optics which the company calls a “four-fold catadioptric freeform prism.” It’s expected to launch this year, priced under $1,500.

The novel optics make the company’s first through-the-lens footage, which was revealed today, especially interesting.

While you’d be mistaken for thinking this is a transparent display (like HoloLens or Magic Leap), what you’re looking at above is actually video passthrough AR, which means cameras are feeding the outside view into the headset’s display while the virtual objects are rendered onto the scene. A photo shared by the company on Twitter showed how the footage was captured using GoPro cameras directly behind the lenses.

Image courtesy Stan Larroque

The benefit of using video passthrough to achieve AR is that the virtual objects can be completely opaque and appear more realistic. With existing transparent AR headsets, virtual objects are partially transparent because transparent displays can’t fully block incoming light.

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Lynx also highlights the fact that it has designed its headset to minimize the bezel’s occlusion of the user’s real peripheral view (which can be see on the left of the video). The company says this is essential for enterprise use-cases where the user needs to be aware of their surroundings.

Beyond the impressive passthrough footage, we’re also getting our first look at how the world looks through the headset’s unique optics, which manage to hide an eye-tracking camera directly behind the lens.

Image courtesy Lnyx

Indeed, in the footage there’s really no telling that there’s an eye-tracking camera hidden directly in the center of the lens, though it’s possible to see some artifacts from the four prisms that come together to present a singular image. Granted, it’s surprising how little distortion there appears to be at the seams. There’s no telling yet whether this will be more or less visible to the naked eye.

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  • Ad

    I wish Valve would release a set of better cameras as a frunk attachment.

    • Patrick Hogenboom

      I’d like for the current ones to get some more usage.
      Like an inside out tracking option for when you
      – don’t want to wait for lighthouses to spin up
      – don’t want to hear the lighthouse whine
      – don’t require top notch tracking
      As a developer these options would be nice quality of life improvements

  • James Cobalt

    That is bonkers

  • Till Eulenspiegel

    I think this is what Apple is going for, their VR headset has over 12 cameras and Lidar which will make this type of pass-thru AR more accurate.

    • Let’s not give Apple too much credit until we actually see a single thing to do with their real headset….

  • NullReference

    Impressive!

  • Their flawless passthrough is the most impressive thing here. Wish my Quest could show the outside world as nicely.

    • or even just in color, passthrough on Quest 2 is awesome but it lacks color and you can’t just walk anywhere with it. walk outside the guardian and OP! everything turns black and you’re blind now!

      • Color would be great, but it still has a lot of optical distortion. They fixed a lot of the distortion issues with the first upgrade, but there’s still a lot left to be ironed out.

    • Chester

      the Quest is designed as an VR headset, not an AR headset. if the pass through was as good as this your Quest would probably be $1,000 minimum.

      • Maybe, or maybe it turns out to be a simple fix?

        You could have said the exact same thing when people were talking about the Quest being hooked up to the PC for PCVR. “It’s like two headsets in one, it’ll double the price!”. That didn’t happen though.

  • Interesting. I think getting this level of pass-through in all future VR headsets would be amazing, and is almost a much imo, certainly for standalone.

    • Roxanne Hoffman

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    • Elizabeth Tipton

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  • Xron

    Looks awesome!

  • Luis Miguel Pinto Gonçalves

    Seriously… Nothing new I think. It’s just a smart hack.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      You don’t think the way they handle the lenses and display is something new? hmmm.. Haven’t seen that before in any other headset.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    LOL, looking at the video, it seems they hadn’t cleaned the lenses properly from fingerprints, at least that’s what the distortion looks like to me in de video, not just regular motiondistortion.
    But this sure looks impressive. The image looks pretty clear and doesn’t seem to have any godrays or something like that.

  • In the name of John Carmack we pray!

  • Kevin White

    Beltalowda!

  • The video is supercool. Now it’s time that some human being tries it and tells us his impressions

  • david vincent

    Impressive pass-trough footage, bien joué les gars.

  • oomph

    Thumbs up

  • entropy

    This is an impressive prototype, but I suspect the latency between the camera and the display will be nausea inducing for a while yet until this headset’s design matures some more.

  • Lucidfeuer

    A bit steep for a prototype of a functionality that should’ve already been implemented in all consumer and especially pro headsets, but what they did is impressive and valuable.