Varjo is releasing a new “gaze-directed” XR-4 Series mixed reality headset today for $3,990, or half the price of its previous enterprise VR headsets.
Varjo‘s goal is to deliver mixed reality experiences that are indistinguishable from natural sight. The Helsinki, Finland-based company has made multiple generations of high-end VR and AR — mixed reality — headsets since 2016.
And now it is adding gaze-directed, high-resolution autofocus cameras in mixed reality with the XR-4 Series, which comes in either a Focal Edition or a Secure Edition.
Through the fusion of its highest-resolution displays, foveated capture stream, advanced LiDAR depth sensing and camera sensors, all of which mimic the function of the human eye, the Varjo XR-4 series offers virtual and mixed reality experiences that go beyond consumer-grade headsets by far, the company said.
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Varjo said rival headsets cater to 2D productivity use cases. But Varjo’s 4th generation headsets are designed to deliver deeply immersive VR/XR experiences for industrial customers who require top visual fidelity and performance. The previous headsets came out in 2020.
Today, over 25% of Fortune 100 companies are using Varjo’s technology to train astronauts and pilots, radically shorten automotive production timelines, power medical breakthroughs, and render stunning 3D visualizations for architects and designers.
Powered by Nvidia graphics processing units (GPUs) and integrated into the Nvidia Omniverse, the XR-4 series allows developers and industrial users to render photorealistic scenes and unlock ray tracing in mixed reality.
The combined technologies dwarf the computational power that can be achieved with a mobile chip and are a game-changer for developers, Varjo said.
The Varjo-ready software ecosystem of over 100 third-party PC applications and 3D engines, including Unreal Engine and Unity, integrates the XR-4 series into the world’s most demanding workflows across training and simulation, design and engineering, healthcare and more.
“As we enter a period of rapid expansion in mixed reality adoption, we’re proud to drive the industry forward by bridging the gap between human vision and computer vision with our new XR-4 series,” said Patrick Wyatt, chief product officer of Varjo, in a statement. “For the past five years, Varjo customers have demonstrated that true innovation happens when the most advanced computing power meets the highest-immersion XR in the hands of industrial users, and we can’t wait to see the applications unlocked by the XR-4 series’ technological breakthroughs.”
Varjo is the first VR/XR company to bring the gaze-directed autofocus mixed reality pass-through feature to market. Autofocus cameras mimic the behavior of the human eye and match the human acuity required for mission-critical work.
“Our mission is to move industrial workflows from the real world into mixed reality,” Wyatt said in an interview with GamesBeat. “We can replicate things at the highest fidelity level. When it comes to use cases for design, simulation, healthcare, virtual retail, we’re trying to do enterprise grade VR experiences.”
“Our current flagship product brought human-resolution VR to companies,” Wyatt said. “We are squarely a B2B-focused company. We do have a B2C product but this is all about our B2B series for the PC. We think the real and virtual world become indistinguishable from each other in the XR-4 Series and this comes from all our detailed work with customers over the course of last three years on the XR-3.”
This headset has a 50% larger field of view than the previous headset, with a 120 degree viewing angle. It can produce 28 million pixels across both eyes.
“If you’re wearing our VR headset right now, you’ll see your virtual car in front of you. And the reflection will change in real time on my car as your light environment changing,” Wyatt said. “But I think the biggest improvements in the XR-4 really come from the approach to camera optics.”
The headset has dual 4K x 4K displays with a resolution of 51 pixels per degree (ppd) and over 50% wider field of view (120° x 105°) compared to previous-generation devices, with double the display brightness (200 nits) and wider color gamut with 96% DCI-P3.
It also has dual 20 Mpx cameras for powering the industry’s highest-fidelity, real-time photorealistic video pass-through mixed reality. And it has new ambient light sensors and 8 x improved LiDAR resolution compared to Varjo XR-3 that seamlessly blends real and virtual elements.
The headset also has built-in DTS 3D spatial audio with noise-canceling mics and integrated speakers for collaborative use cases. It also comes with inside-out tracking and in-box Varjo Controllers, powered by Razer, providing precise interactions with high tactile immersion, and reducing setup complexity and cost.
And it’s powered by Nvidia RTX Ada generation GPUs and integrated into Nvidia Omniverse, the platform for connecting complex 3D pipelines and developing applications based on OpenUSD. It’s also optimized for seamless cloud streaming, sharing and collaboration in Varjo Reality Cloud to streamline immersive 3D workflows across organizations.
“This enables some use cases for which the quality bar for the passthrough is going to really push you over the edge in being able to replicate reality,” Wyatt said. “That’s the case with trading simulation uses where they have to be able to move the dials exactly.”
The XR-4 Focal Edition has all the features of the XR-4 but offers the gaze-directed autofocus cameras and further optimized camera resolution for pilot training and other cockpit-based use cases. To meet the needs of Varjo’s government and defense customers, the XR-4 Secure Edition adheres to all government and enterprise-level security requirements.
“With the XR-4, we’re steadily moving towards a future where virtual and physical prototyping converge.
Varjo, a company within the Volvo Cars Tech Fund portfolio, has always been class-leading when it comes to resolution. Now, with an expanded field of view and enhanced optics, they deliver an unsurpassed immersive experience,” said Jeremy Offer, global head of design at Volvo Cars, in a statement.
Both the XR-4 and XR-4 Focal Edition offer versions of the headsets that can go completely offline, are TAA compliant, non-RF and assembled in Finland.
“The Focal Edition is really a product for particular use cases, particularly in trading simulation where the value is really high, but the volume is probably less” than traditional VR headsets, Wyatt said.
Varjo has also expanded its secure manufacturing capabilities with a new facility in Espoo, Finland where a dedicated manufacturing line for the XR-4 Secure Edition will be operational in December.
“With the Varjo XR-4 series and Unreal Engine 5, developers now have access to some of the most powerful tools for creating highly immersive mixed reality experiences. By combining Varjo’s human-eye
resolution with Unreal Engine’s photorealistic capabilities we are breaking the boundary between what’s
real and virtual. We’re excited to continue to partner with Varjo in powering the industry’s most
advanced XR experiences across training, simulation, and beyond,” said Sébastien Lozé, business
director of simulations at Epic Games, in a statement.
Varjo lined up numerous other statements of support from Nvidia, CESI, Loft Dynamics, Razer, Aechelon, Rivian Automotive, Bohemia Interactive Simulations, PaleBlue and IDSI. Varjo has 230 employees.
Wyatt said there has been growth in customer segments around the training, simulation and government customers. Those customers want secure systems.
Varjo’s competition might be more like the Apple Vision Pro, but Wyatt believes that the company has a good headstart on making enterprise applications for mixed reality at scale.
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