Varjo, the Finland-based headset manufacturer, today announced the company’s upcoming high resolution VR headset will have AR pass-through capabilities powered by Socionext image signal processors.

Varjo’s headset is basically taking what some consider a shortcut to retina resolution with its ‘bionic display’ – a technique that combines a high resolution microdisplay with a standard VR display to achieve higher detail. Now, on top of the previously mentioned promise of an adaptive microdisplays and eye-tracking (neither were on show at MWC), Varjo is adding AR pass-through to its list of upcoming features.

While the company hasn’t put forth any usecases for its newly announced AR capabilities, or whether the AR function will be offered as an integrated solution or an external add-on, it’s possible Varjo is going for a similar experience to that provided by ZED Mini, a stereo depth-mapping camera which fits on a mount made to attach to VR headsets like the Rift and Vive. When attached, the camera provides stereo pass-through video and real-time depth and environment mapping, turning the headsets into dev kits emulating the capabilities of high-end AR headsets.

Varjo says they selected Socionext’s Milbeaut image signal processor technology because of how complex the level of camera processing is for both pass-through and AR.

Urho Konttori, Founder and CEO of Varjo, comments: “In Socionext, we have found a strong and reliable technology partner for state-of-the-art imaging solutions. With the Socionext Milbeaut technology, Varjo has built a unique way of combining the real and digital worlds in an unprecedented level of realism, quality and latency.”

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Mitsugu Naito, Corporate Senior Vice President and head of Imaging Solution Business Unit at Socionext Inc. comments: “Socionext will continue to fully support Varjo’s requirements whilst customizing Milbeaut to their specific needs. We are very pleased to announce both our collaboration and the design win for Milbeaut as part of their new incredible upgrade to the mixed reality experience.”

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  • Duane Aakre

    1) Is this ‘bionic display’ going to be a consumer oriented product (ie price less than $1000)?

    2) Since the area beyond the central 35 degrees is going to be lower resolution anyway, how about stretching it to more like 140 degrees rather than the typical 110 degrees? A somewhat enlarged field of view would be a great selling point and probably doesn’t hugely degrade the already lower quality outer image.

    • Ian Shook

      Probably because this is a static display – as in no moving high-res part; It is mounted in the center.

      I believe they’re trying different methods to move it around, including using a rotating glass plate to use refraction to simulate movement. Anyway – since it’s static – they probably don’t want to stretch the low res pixels any more than they have to.

    • Cdaked

      Price between $5000 and $10000.

  • Mark

    Varjo is for now focusing exclusively on enterprise and commercial applications for the headset, which the company initially expects to price between $5,000 and $10,000.

    • Lucidfeuer

      I’m sorry but 5000$-10.000$ is never going to be justified for an experimental headset…get back down to earth a bit.

    • dk

      lol why there is absolutely nothing that expensive in the headset

  • psuedonymous

    Until they demonstrate movement of the ‘high res’ region I can’t see much point in Varjo vs. the various other attempts at multi-resolution HMDs. The more “here’s the easy bit, just ignore the hard bit for now” prototypes they release, the less convincing it is that they have any clue on how to actually make it work.

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    • Agree. Without that, the headset has not much use

    • brandon9271

      Even if the high res area in the middle didn’t move it’d still be an improvement over todays HMDs. Especially when you consider the shitty optics of current gen make everything appear blurry in the periphery anyway.

  • oompah

    Thumbs up
    This is the way (foveated)
    similar to natural eye.
    The next step is to have
    ray tracing MLT
    if it can
    & u can forget the real world

  • Shirley Wheaton

    This headset is quite expensive. I am not sure people are ready to spend so much money on this product.