Varjo XR-1: the first photorealistic mixed reality headset

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Steven L. Kent
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Summary

  • Volvo uses Varjo XR-1 to test new vehicle concepts on the road

Since the start of 2019, Varjo has dominated the virtual reality headset market in terms of performance with its VR-1 headset priced at $ 6000. As part of the Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, the firm has now announced his mixed reality headset: the XR-1 Developer Edition.

This new device offers augmented reality features, with the ambition of making the virtual indistinguishable from the real. Thus, users will be able, for example, to design objects or virtual environments while remaining able to visualize the real world.



According to Varjo, the XR-1 is the only AR headset in the world capable of delivering photorealistic image quality. To achieve this, this device combines the high-definition screen of the VR-1 with two 12-megapixel front cameras. The latter take care of digitizing the real world and then projecting computer-generated graphics into it with stunning fidelity.

- shadows are realistic, as is the brightness which changes according to the actual lighting. Blacks are deep, solid objects appear opaque, and transparent objects reflect the light of the real world behind them.

In addition, a Integrated eye-tracking feature prevents distinguishing AR elements real objects perceived by the user through the lenses of the glasses. This is a major advantage over the Microsoft HoloLens, which simply projects transparent objects into the user's field of vision.

Volvo uses Varjo XR-1 to test new vehicle concepts on the road

Seduced by this helmet, the Volvo car manufacturer has partnered with Varjo. The firm intends to use this technology to improve the design of its vehicles.


Indeed, thanks to this equipment, engineers can now test virtual car designs directly on the road in the real world. So Volvo Cars has in fact been using prototypes of XR-1s since the summer of 2018, and its engineers have driven cars in the real world while wearing the helmet.


This allows them for example add virtual elements during the "test drive" in order to test changes such as new items added to the dashboard or modifications to the windshield. It is even possible to add virtual cars or road accidents for more realism.


According to Volvo, the XR-1 made it possible to speed up testing and increase the safety of new vehicles. It is indeed possible to assess the design of automobiles and the technologies they embed from the start of the design process.


For now, it is unknown at what date and at what price the XR-1 will be offered. However, its price is likely to be just as high as that of the VR-1 and make it a product reserved for professionals. For more information, visit the official Varjo website at this address.



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