Varjo XR-1 Super-Fast Mixed Reality Headset is Being Used by Volvo to Test Drive Cars

Varjo XR-1

After a successful launch of Virtual Reality headset VR-1, Finnish startup Varjo has announced its new mixed reality headset called Varjo XR-1.

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Unlike virtual reality headsets, where digital content replaces the physical world, the Varjo XR-1 mixed reality headset lets virtual content coexist and interact with the real world around you. The XR-1 uses dual 12-megapixel outer cameras to pass video of the outside world into VR.

XR-1 is the only device that can track users’ eye movements across photorealistic mixed reality scenarios with sub-degree accuracy.

“The XR-1 can show mixed reality with true-to-life fidelity you can only achieve using video-pass-through. Lifelike mixed reality is quite literally impossible to achieve with optical-see-through systems like HoloLens,” Varjo co-founder Urho Konttori said in a statement.

The XR-1 is more of a developer’s kit, according to Varjo’s Finnish founders. Carmaker Volvo, is an investor in Varjo through its Volvo Cars Tech Fund. It is the first company that’s designed for the XR-1, and Volvo is using it to test interfaces for future cars, reports Cnet.

“Instead of the usual static way of evaluating new products and ideas, we can test concepts on the road immediately,” said Henrik Green, CTO of Volvo.

Driving with AR glasses

Volvo Cars has been using XR-1 prototypes in their workflow since the summer of 2018. By adding photorealistic virtual elements to the interior of the car, Volvo Cars designers are able to perform design-studies of future cars before they are even built, according to Varjo.

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“When you’re driving with XR-1, you actually forget you’re looking through a headset. People using XR-1 break when they see a virtual moose crossing the road. Or when a virtual car overtakes our test car, test drivers have asked ‘Is that car real or not?’” said Casper Wickman, Volvo’s Technical Leader.

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