Following the launch of Varjo’s enterprise-focused VR-2 headset back in October, the Helsinki-based company has now made available its XR-1 Developer Edition headset, which at $10,000 includes the company’s high fidelity ‘bionic displays’, integrated eye-tracking, and now passthrough cameras which promise to make the headset an ideal platform for both AR & VR enterprise development.

Like Varjo’s enterprise-focused VR-2, the new XR-1 includes the company’s ‘bionic display’, blending a central 1,920 x 1,080 micro-OLED ‘focus display’ (60 PPD) with a larger ‘context’ display at 1,440 x 1,600, which has a lower PPD but provides the headset with an 87-degree field of view.

Varjo’s display architecture left quite the impression on us to say the least, as we called the company’s prior headsets a “breathtaking preview of VR’s future.

Image courtesy Varjo Technologies

In addition to its integrated eye-tracking, which was previously made available in both VR-2 and VR-2 Pro variants, Varjo has now included in its XR-1 two fixed-focus 12 megapixel cameras, which have a 90 Hz refresh and a 94-degree circular viewing angle. This, the company says in a blog post, aims to let developers build “truly photorealistic mixed reality experiences where virtual objects seamlessly merge with reality for the first time in full field of view.”

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To highlight this, Varjo also released a video showing an unmodified capture shot through XR-1 Developer Edition, which shows a cockpit-based XR solution built by Bohemia Interactive Simulations which lets the pilot and co-pilot to interact with the physical cockpit while immersed in a virtual environment.

Below you’ll see the pilot looking out at the virtual world and down at the instrument cluster, revealing that the superimposed virtual simulation environment is actually blended to include his own physical hands and flight controls.

Like all of its enterprise-focused headsets, the company is also tacking on its mandatory one-year software and support package, which costs an extra $1,995, bringing the whole package to just under $12,000—no small bananas, but apparently a price range large names such as Audi, Volkswagen, Saab Group, haven’t minded shelling out in the past, as Varjo has seemed to tap into a variety of industrial usecases that require the highest fidelity 1:1 virtual environments for skill transfer.

If you’re looking to try out Varjo’s headsets, the company will be demonstrating the XR-1 Developer Edition, as well as VR-2 and VR-2 Pro headsets, at I/ITSEC 2019 through December 5th, 2019.

XR-1 Developer Edition Key Features:

  • Photorealistic video pass-through enables users to see digital objects in true-to-life color, lighting and shadows in a full field of view (87 degrees).
  • The ability to switch between mixed reality and ‘full’ VR so users can interact with the real and the virtual world in one device for applications such as testing designs in different environments or manipulating their surroundings with pixel-perfect clarity.
  • Industrial-grade 20/20 Eye Tracker delivers unmatched sub-degree accuracy of users’ eye movements in mixed reality scenarios for valuable insights into research, training and simulation and product design.
  • Ultra-low latency imaging pipeline lets users experience the most realistic digital worlds as extensions of the natural environment without perceivable lag.
  • Human-eye resolution Bionic Display™ (over 60 PPD/3,000 PPI) brings high visual fidelity to even the most demanding industrial scenarios where extreme precision and photorealistic accuracy is required.
  • Varjo’s products can also be experienced at I/ITSEC at various customer booths including Bohemia Interactive Simulations, Vertex Solutions, Ryan Aerospace, Presagis, Flight Safety International, and Aechelon.

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  • The Bard

    Why not 100 000 $? IDIOT COMPANY, nothing else!!!

    • Mike Porter

      I bet they initially wanted to sell for less but then figure out microOLED is a dead end when it comes to lowering production cost anytime soon.

    • Kyokushin

      Exactly, at now the everyone can get. There need to be some price point to separate the ‘wannabe’ from ones who owe it.

  • Mike Porter

    12 megapixel camera is just a little over or less than 4K resolution depending on aspect ratio. Not really “photorealistic” or retinal resolution. On top of that the most high dynamic range cameras are not even close to the dynamic range of the human eye, nor the refresh rate. For these reasons video passthrough AR is not that great, and definitely a no-no when flying a helicopter or even driving a car, don’t know who was the idiot in charge of making that video decision.

    I know we want to dream, but Varjo is not the place to look what to expect. They made a “human eye resolution” headset by doing the same as a 2016 google patent describes, they failed to figure out how to make the foveal portion dynamic (moving). Now instead of fixing those issues they add fake AR which isn’t even retinal resolution anymore.
    They just keep putting bandaids and pretty stickers on a product that failed to deliver on the initial promises.

    And this is the best former Microsoft and Nokia engineer are capable of? No wonder Microsoft fails to innovate and Nokia keeps dying and being resurrected.

  • Francesco Fazio

    Well from the video that has been posted it looks like worst than the graphics of the Oculus Rift.

  • cataflic

    Still waiting for almost 8K display and foveated rendering….non so complicated….until that kind of microdisplays will be among us I will make a buffer stock of patience

    • Mike Porter

      To be fair, even 8K won’t be enough to match 3000 PPI. More like 8K vertically if we settle at 120 degrees+ vertically for gen 2 or ~7K vertically if we stay at 110 degrees vertically.

    • John G

      Sure, it won’t completely look like the real world, but VR is certainly ‘real’ … you don’t need the full eyeball PPI.

      Dive in, the water’s fine.

      == John ==

      • cataflic

        At the beginning I was thinking that the knowledge curve of these hmd had to be growing fast, but was a mishful thinking.
        They’r playing us around with sensors, wi-fi, icxyzfdtft tYpe of panel…..ok!…I understood….the entire environment isn’t ready to this…we’ll wait for decent micro display, a generation of video card that can sustain those resolution with an affordable price…5 more years I believe….(sad face)

  • Cragheart

    >”larger ‘context’ display at 1,440 x 1,600, which has a lower PPD but provides the headset with an 87-degree field of view”
    >10 000 USD
    are they out of their mind?

    • Joe Pineapples

      I know right?? So bizzare! For that money I’d expect a wider FOV.

  • NooYawker

    Just because you label your product “developer” doesn’t mean you can charge ridiculous prices for it.
    Videos that isn’t seen through the actual headset basically means nothing when it comes to VR.

  • The Bard

    Samsung should release their AR/VR curved OLED headset. It would wipe out all other headsets on the market in a matter of months. Should be very easy as flexible OLED is available since years now. Provide rectangular OLED with FIXED bending in headset, 6000 pixels wide, by 4000 pixels height and that’s it. We are THERE in VR. The road with 2 smartphone screens like Pimax does is just temporary primitive solution. Must be transparent OLED (for VR, but also for AR), for 210 degree view, special lenses with big hotspot. All weights 200 grams or so. This will be the ultimate future.

    • mfx

      A patent means a concept idea, not a necessarily a current viable prototype dude..

      They patented this in case, to get royalties if in the futures, if this ends up being manufacturable by their competitors.

      Keep dreaming but that’s not how it works.

      • The Bard

        It is not a dream, but forseeable future. Small Curved OLED panels were presented years ago, Galaxy Fold released. There is no any problem to install them in 180 FOV VR headset. Will happen sooner than you can imagine. Are you all from Pimax? :)

        • Mike Porter

          There won’t be much difference in both size and field of view compared to Pimax or StarVR, curved screen doesn’t allow much real estate savings.

    • Mike Porter

      Curved OLEDs are sadly not the solution. The optics wouldn’t be much different and not much smaller than Pimax 8K. It would only help with better field curvature and peripheral distortion but only in the X axis. For a perfect field curvature (almost perfect sweet spot) we will need dsiplays curved in both X and Y axis which is not possible by bending them (imaging trying to make a dome from a piece of paper compared to making a cylinder). Even then, the size wouldn’t be much different from current Pimax 8K. The diagrams from the patents show a meniscus lens as the eyepiece. A meniscus lens provides less magnification than a convex lens, meaning the display either needs to be farther or larger than the lens. This can be slightly changed by having a convex Fresnel surface on the side of the lens facing the display and a meniscus (concave actually) lens surface facing the eye, but that’s also worse than a convex-Fresnel lenses we currently use when it comes to magnification, distortion and field curvature. In the end you will end up with slightly smaller eyepieces but still same size screens so the HMD size won’t change much. Also people with glasses won’t have a great time with meniscus surfaces at the same eye relief. I’ve talked about this alot with an optical engineer, curved OLEDs seem interesting at first but from an engineering point of view they don’t seem to solve anything important such as field of view at a smaller form factor. Maybe Samsung will think of something we’ve missed but until then this is just a hoarded patent that we shouldn’t get excited about.

      • Joe Pineapples

        Yeah, you tell ’em Mike!

      • The Bard

        Interesting post. You will see they will have a great solution with Curved OLED. That OLED can be bent in both direction. What’s the problem? There is no problem at all. Sides bent and top+bottom bent towards viewer as well. Size will still be smaller as no need for weird geometric shape of headset.

        • Mike Porter

          You need a stretchable, not only flexible (bendable) material to bend in both axis at the same time. This is just physics. Or the display must be accurately assembled as a 3d surface to begin with which nobody can currently do.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Yeah, they might have a patent, but that doesn’t mean they will actually produce a product.. Back in June they said they would show their new AR/VR products within a couple of months.. Well those couple of months have come and gone, still no word from Samsung on any new device.. And it also doesn’t mean the product they will show will be blow others out of the water.. And what I really hate about Samsung is the lack of even distributing their current headsets to the EU.. So if they don’t plan on selling their new headsets in the EU like they don’t do the current ones, they can go F themselves..
      And I don’t want any transparent headsets, I want real VR headsets, I’m not interested in AR..

  • John G

    I get the expense, as I’m sure it’s complex to make and the volume is low.

    After having said that, I wonder how well the IPD adjustments translate to the outside RGB cameras.

    I haven’t been able to test this anywhere, but my strong hunch is that if the external AR cameras aren’t *exactly* your IPD, you’ll see artifacts.

    This was very apparent to me with the Rift S. For it, it’s really just registration and initial setup, but still, the VR world seemed … odd. Mind you, those cameras were designed for SLAM not for AR, so they were nowhere near the human eye IPD.

    == John ==

  • plrr

    The price isn’t so strange is it? Some ppl seem to think it’s a consumer device. High-end enterprise, I suppose this would be.. Price is a supply and demand kind of thing. If you consider it too expensive, you don’t buy it… Derogatory comments are still too common on the Internet…

    • Mike Porter

      Even for high end the price needs to be justifiable. Companies, big or small, still have limited budgets for each project or department. Those who haven’t ran a business don’t seem to understand this simple fact that businesses aren’t an endless supply of money to their owners.
      So sure, Varjo may get few large companies to be their clients but non-multi-billion-dollar firms are going to be hesitant regarding a small device that costs 10K + yearly fee + custom plugin programming to take advantage of the hybrid display system with not very obvious advantage over 1K USD priced competition with better support by 3rd party CAD programs. This in turn makes Varjo as a profitable company less likely.

      • plrr

        Yeah, this is not going to be for just any company, obviously. Maybe there’s a reason why the price is high. I suppose if there’s no good reason, that might be considred a rip-off.

  • This is so cool, I would really like to have it! But the price, well, is a bit out of my possibilities…like 4-5$ too much

  • Ardra Diva

    Sigh. They’re just teasing us. Sure, awesome exists, but you can’t afford it. Meanwhile Oculus and Vive dole out tiny little updates. Oh, 10 more Hz. 100 more pixels. Yay.