World’s first human eye-resolution VR headset (sorry gamers, for industrial use only)

This ridiculously sharp Virtual Reality display is for industrial applications, but it offers a taste of what's to come for the consumer market.
Written by Greg Nichols, Contributing Writer

The sharpest VR headset in the world is now available and offers human eye-resolution of more than 60 pixels per degree, which is about 20X higher than other VR headsets. Varjo's VR-1 is designed for industrial designers, engineering and construction applications, as well as certain training and simulation use cases where fidelity is imperative.

The headset has a sticker price of nearly $6000 with an additional yearly service license of $995.

Given the difficulty companies like Oculus and Sony have had finding customer bases for task agnostic headsets, and with big players like Microsoft already staking flags across wide swaths of enterprise training and field service, Varjo's decision to specialize with a high-market product for designers is smart. 

VR is expected to shorten design time and project life cycles in fields like architecture and product design, and it's likely a new generation of industrial designers and builders will be trained in simulated environments. Varjo is positioning itself to be the headset of choice in that world, and it's been developing partnerships with enterprise power users, including AirBus, Volvo, and Audi.

"Premium cars can only be made with premium tools," says Jan Pflueger, who works on Augmented & Virtual Reality at Audi. "To design in virtual reality, we need the high resolution of the Varjo device. With this high resolution there is a seamless transfer between the real world and the virtual world."

The device, developed over the last two years, supports a suite of professional 3D software tools and engines, like Unreal, Unity, and Autodesk VRED. It's so-called Bionic Display renders shapes, contours, text, and surface details with ultra-realistic fidelity. A Varjo SDK also enables custom design tools and integration to new 3D engines. 

The company has raised a total of $46M USD, and VR-1 is its only VR headset product. Varjo plans to introduce a mixed-reality add-on later this year, possibly in a bid to take some ground from Microsoft's HoloLens.

Whether more enterprises will see the benefit of a high fidelity headset remains to be seen. But Varjo's team, which includes engineers with backgrounds at Nokia, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and Intel, seems confident.

"The entire Varjo team has been hard at work for 2+ years to make nothing less than the best headset on the planet," says Urho Konttori, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Varjo. "Nothing has been left to chance, nothing has been compromised and we are delighted that the response from our partners has been overwhelmingly positive. VR-1 marks the start of a new era in virtual reality for professionals."

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