Varjo has officially launched its first installment of the VR-1. Varjo is not one of the bigger names inside of VR, but this headset is already making waves amongst the biggest groups of virtual reality enthusiasts. This headset is promised to be grounding breaking in terms of display. This is the Varjo VR 1.
Most consumer virtual reality headsets are still somewhat blurry. If not blurry, still not as great of resolution as we’d anticipate. There are many variables inside of headsets and their displays, and there are plenty of ways to fix them. Varjo saw what needed to be fixed and went right after it. Inside of the VR-1, we see some of the best technological advances to come to a consumer headset for some time.
The VR-1 has a center panel that is a “Bionic Display.” This is a 1920 x 1080 micro-OLED display with a solid resolution of 3,000 pixels per inch. Just so you can mentally compare that with other headsets, the HTC Vive has a PPI (pixels per inch) of 615. If you think you were seeing details inside of that headset, wait until you get a chance to put on the VR-1 from Varjo. That will have you seeing details inside of virtual reality that you never thought were possible. Metaphorically, you will be seeing leaves on trees for the first time.
After hearing what many people had to say about this new display, the most memorable quote was “it is every bit as detailed as real life.” Note that this is all inside of the panel that they have dubbed the Bionic Display. Outside of this crisp set of lenses, the display produces a cool 1440 x 1600 that is much more level and earthly. When a headset like this comes around, and often thought is that is too good to be true. That meaning that either the display is not as good as advertised, or there is some noticeable trade-off. The ladder is usually preferred, and is often the result we see. The trade-off we see in this particular headset is the field of view. Like many have experienced with the Microsoft HoloLens, it is hard to fit a good amount of new technology into the full screen. The field of view on the VR-1 is an underwhelming 87 degrees. Despite your first thought, 87 degrees isn’t the end of the world for this VR HMD. Let me explain.
A low field of view does not minimize the technology. The headset was made and priced and released with the number 87 hanging above the companies head. They knew what it meant. Varjo didn’t back down form their ideas. They kept pursuing the perfect resolution. The imageis nearly perfect looking strait ahead, and slightly blurred in your peripherals. This requires more rendering power than average VR headsets, which are atop the list for rendering needs. Another reason that the 87 degrees of a field of viewis more than acceptable, is the intended use of the product. You would never bring a Honda Civic to tow a truck. You wouldn’t bring cleats to a basketball game. Each product has an intended purpose, and the VR-1’s purpose is not what most VR headsets have in mind. The VR-1 is “designed solely for professionalsin industrial design, training and simulation, architecture, engineering and construction.”
This headset is meant to be used by problem solvers. This is not like the high resolution mixed reality Hololens. It is design for people like phone designers who need a full scale detailed version of what the product looks like in real time. It is engine builders who aren’t on the sight but need the advantage of seeing exactly what is being produced. When it comes to details inside of a job performance, this is the headset to look into.
Varjo has continually said the headset is “only available for businesses and academic institutions.” With that being said, the company has already partnered with Volvo, Airbus, Audi, Saab, Volkswagen, and many others that are looking forward to the headset as a part of their everyday business. These companies understand the trade-off with the low field of view, especially with your peripheral visionbeing impared, but know that the most important parts of the displaywill hit the sweet spot, especially to the untrained eye. The people using this headset wont be disappointed by having to look strait ahead and having to focus. That is the reason for the virtual focus screen. This is their livelihood after all, and it deals with may peoples safety in the field. These companies may not not have taken this deal for this devicewithout the next piece of equipment that we will dive into right now.
All of this technologywould be rendered useless without some sort of way to locate where your eyes are looking at all times. Just like with the display, Varjo found a problem and presented a perfect solution. Eye trackingmade by the same company that produced the headset, and this is a great eye tracker. Yes, you guessed it. It was Varjo once again. One of the reasons they included their own eye tracking was for repair reasons. The headset itself costs $6,000, with an annual service fee of $995. When the headset is sent back in for repairs and upgrades, they will be tinker with the eye trackingand insuring that the headset is working to its fullest ability. The company had already done so much good with this headset, why would it handoff the responsibility of tracking the eyes? The eye trackingis self proclaimed with the quote “unmatched precision and accuracy.” That is some bold statements for a first time release of a slice of hardware from Varjo, but this company seems to give no reasons on why it would be anything short of remarkable.
Along with the headset being aimed at people needing exactness in their job, developers are encouraged to take advantage of the headsets capabilities. Even as the headset launches, it will be able to support many 3D software tools and engines including Unreal Engine, Autodesk VRED, PREPAR3D, Unity, ZeroLight, and VBS Blue IG. As well as all of those, and SDK is available for integration for custom 3D engines.