Varjo Technologies, a Helsinki-based startup known for its ‘human eye-resolution’ display intended for VR headets, today announced it’s closed an $8.2M Series A funding round that aims to support the upcoming launch of Varjo-branded enterprise VR/AR/XR products.

The Series A was lead by European venture capital fund EQT Ventures Fund, followed by Lifeline Ventures Fund III, The Venture Reality Fund, private investor John Lindfors, Foobar Technologies, Presence Capital Fund I, Bragiel Bros I, and Sisu Game Ventures.

With its eye on producing its own enterprise-facing headsets housing what Varjo calls a ‘Bionic’ display, the company says a Varjo-branded VR/AR/XR products will begin shipping to professional users in late Q4, 2017.

comparison showing standard VR headset display next to Varjo’s 20/20 prototype, image courtesy Varjo

“Varjo is fast growing from a startup to a best-in-class global supplier of VR/AR headsets,” said Urho Konttori, CEO and founder of Varjo Technologies. “We are now moving past research into the development stage and are so glad to achieve this in collaboration with EQT Ventures. We clicked the moment we met with them – the team literally started on go-to-market strategy during our first meeting. With EQT Ventures, we not only have a VC, but a true partner in growth.”

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Varjo calls their prototype “20|20”, saying that it’s specifically designed for professional users and with resolutions more than 70 times beyond any currently shipping or announced head-mounted display.

Varjo’s prototype hiding inside of an Oculus Rift, image courtesy Ubergizmo

Tech Crunch got a hands-on with an early demo of Varjoi’s tech back in June, which packed a pair of high-resolution Sony MicroOLED displays measuring 0.7 inches diagonally, boasting 3,000 pixels per inch (PPI). As a significant jump from Oculus Rift of HTC Vive‘s 447-461 PPI, the chief complaint with these microdisplays is they typically don’t provide an acceptable field of view (FOV) for the purposes of VR, but Varjo says their upcoming VR headset will ultimately deliver an 100 degree FOV, just shy of the Rift or Vive’s 110 degree FOV.

The company is so far staying mum on any other specifics surrounding their headset.

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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 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Jean-Sebastien Perron

    Shut up and take all my money and my soul.

  • I dunno… from what I’ve heard the planned Pi 8k is actually more immersive then previous headsets, not just because of the resolution bump but because of it’s MUCH wider field of view. I’m keen on clearer visuals, but I think I want wider ones even more.

    • Alorwin

      From what I’ve heard, it’s both less-immersive and just an upscaler taking a 1440p signal. There are no reviews of the final-product, everyone is buying in on the claimed-specs and nothing more.

      • Arashi

        the Pimax 8kX doesn’t scale up, but supports 2x4k natively

        • Alorwin

          They also don’t even know if it can run, basically. “We’re still testing it” and shit. As it is, the Pimax 5K or the 8kX are the only ones worth money, and given the 8kX will almost certainly require a next-gen graphics card, or twin 1080Ti’s($1500)… Eh. 5K or bust. Fuck paying extra for an upscaler and screen-size.

          • Heliosurge

            Actually they have said they do have a mock up if the 8kX & have been doing some testing. Kickstarter Page “No obvious difference between 8k & 8kx” meaning you have to really look for the differences.

            The benefit the base 8k will have over the 5k model is higher pixel density & as a result more ppd.

      • Not true. Tested did a preview of it and said the extra FOV was very immersive. Adam Savage said it made him regret going back to the narrow FOV of the Oculus and VIVE. Here’s the video..

        • Alorwin

          I already watched all 38 minutes of the Tested review and my take away was that the device leaves MUCH to be desired, except for the FOV… and given the distortion, even the FOV left much to be desired.

          • Heliosurge

            Readup on recent Doc-ok on the issue. Within the next week or 2 wait for the next reviews. Recently Luckey Palmer tried one & wants one

      • Heliosurge

        The 8k is 1440p per eye upscaled. As an owner of the 4k model the upscaled to 4k is quite nice.

    • Arashi

      Agreed. 0.7″ display, this is going to have an extremely narrow FoV OR the pixels per degree will just drop big time. Either way, not interesting.

    • victor

      Totally agree we need wider fov for true immersion !
      what’s the point having perfect resolution if we’re still looking thru tunnel vision?

    • Lucidfeuer

      You have to be aware that the wider the FOV, the lower the pixel density at same resolution. Which means that for 200° you have to double resolution to get the same result, and quadruple if you want a clearer image.

      Also while the Pi8 seem to work fine as a solution for wider FOV and better resolution (if I believe a friend who tested it at VRDC), there are artefacts due to the wider lenses and screen it has to stretch the light from.

  • psuedonymous

    The core feature that would differentiate their HMD from any other small-panel-in-front-of-a-large-panel HMD is the ability to MOVE that small panel faster than the eye can saccade in order to keep it covering the foveal region. They have not demonstrated this capability, and have not even proposed a mechanism through which they would achieve this.

    • Lucidfeuer

      Well, they’re the only one with a working high-density focus mirror, they’re only plan I’m aware of is having the mirror move according to eye movement. The “eye saccade” micro-seconds of slack you talk about is certainly an helping element but they’re clearly the only one working on it. Not those greasy speculative good-for-no-innovation corporations so start-ups gotta do it.

  • REP

    100 degree FOV?? No thanks. Enough of looking through scuba diving goggle.

  • Facts

    20/20 vision is good but I rather higher fov over clarity, so I’m more hype about pimax 200° fov headset.

  • Lucidfeuer

    I will order the next version (with eye-tracked magnetised adjusting mirrors) if it’s decently priced (by that I mean ~1000€+ not that ridiculous and unjustified “below 10,000€” I’ve seen), also I’m very positively surprised that it actually fits an Oculus form-factor.

    For people talking about FOV, that is not the point of Varjo at all, but then…duh of course we’ve reach a point where the limited “scuba diving” FOV is becoming unbearable for most regular VR users (it’s been the case for me and my colleagues for 2 years) and guess what…VR manufacturers have no solutions planned to significantly improve this in the next iteration…which if they don’t come out in 2018 means VR is dead for this cycle so…

  • Master E

    Love the competition, but I feel the industry has got to ditch this standard of 100/110degree FOVs and start going for at least 180.

  • JB

    This is a great contribution but this is just a stepping stone to the ultimate prize, full immersion. With goggle vision, it is still rather convincing. However, I think most of us would agree the true prize is removing any sensation of wearing goggles. I understand the computing power necessary is a challenge, but it is achievable. I ended up with the Gear Vr and the Rift. The Gear came complimentary with my galaxy S8 and ultimately what motivated me to grab the Rift. I sincerely enjoy the Vive however it did not provide enough of a value for me to spend the extra money.
    I’ve made my decision/investment and I look forward to pulling out my wallet in hopefully the next few years to purchase the first full immersive VR headset. Until then, I look forward to seeing what the developers can do with the current hardware.