Apple no longer has an exclusive province for LiDAR for augmented reality purposes.
This week, headset manufacturer Varjo unveiled its new VR-3 and XR-3 headsets, the latter of which include LiDAR sensors and stereo RGB cameras to enable depth sensing and inside-out tracking of real-world environments for “pass-through” mixed reality experiences.
Both XR.-3 and VR-3 have a 115-degree field of view, “human eye resolution” (over 70 pixels per degree or 8K resolution), and color accuracy that’s true to life. In addition, Varjo claims a refresh rate of 90 Hz and eye tracking up to 200 Hz which, combined with foveated rendering that focuses the content display on the user̵
The devices also include Ultraleap (formerly Leap Motion) handheld sensors and support Unity and Unreal Engine, among other 3D engines.
“Our team worked non-stop in 2020 to further push the boundaries of what is possible in XR and VR. The new XR-3 and VR-3 are the most advanced, no-compromise devices on the market, and suitable for any professional workflow. Urho Konttori, Varjo co-founder and chief innovation officer, said in a statement.
“We are especially excited about the introduction of depth awareness in the XR.-3 via combined LiDAR and RGB video, creating the most realistic mixed reality experiences ever. With our best-performing XR, Varjo sets the new standard for professional immersive computing, paving the way for a collaborative, cloud-enabled mixed reality workplace. “
While the XR.-3 is aimed at corporate customers, it’s still not cheap. The headset retails for $ 5,495 plus $ 1,495 for a required one-year subscription to the new Varjo software and technical support plan. The VR-3 is relatively cheaper: $ 3,195 plus $ 795 for a one-year Varjo subscription. Purchases can be made through the Varjo website or from any of the 35 official resellers.
In our hands-on with the XR.-3’s predecessor, the XR.-1, we found that Varjo’s claims about visual fidelity are consistent with actual experience, with the content appearing “consistently photo-realistic.” In every way it is XR.-3 surpasses the XR.-1 in terms of specifications and performance.
So for the express purposes of training simulation in healthcare, engineering, and other areas where high-fidelity imagery is needed to replicate the real-world experience, the devices could be worth it to the Fortune 500 companies that can afford them.