We shot through the Varjo Mixed Reality add on that makes their VR headset into an XR headset!

The Varjo has something like 40 times an improvement in effective screen resolution that lets you see high end cinematic quality in VR.

via Micah Blumberg and the Silicon Valley Global News team! Thanks to Jesse Van Fleet and Sebastien Remi Perez from Digital Acid (and contributors to SVGN.io)

At AWE 2018 the SVGN team shot through the Varjo with both a DSLR and also with an iphone 8, (both to give you an idea of what it is like to experience cinematic quality graphics through the VARJO Mixed Reality addon to the VARJO VR headset which incidently uses the Vive 2.0 Tracking system.

Varjo achieved its amazing high resolution experience by combining a small high pixel density screen in the center with a large lower resolution screen for a wide field of view. As long as you look straight into the center it will look like it has 40 times the resolution of the Vive or Rift. This is a similar idea to how foveated rendering may render the highest quality image exactly where your eye is moving and a lower quality image everywhere else.

This version of the video was shot with my DSLR (A Canon 80D)

The shot following this was filmed with an iphone 8 and both films you can eventually start to notice an oval in the center or lower center that is shaped sort of like an Oculus logo. That is where the high resolution high pixel density screen is placed inside the much larger taller and wider screen that has a lower pixel count because its meant to be the background. Ideally you won’t notice that the background is a lower resolution when looking into the center because it matches how your eye works. In practice this really works but your eyes are not always going to be focused in the center. So you will find yourself moving your head to put the center of the headset on what you want to look at.

My friend Joel Tiger de Ross said this after seeing the above video interview: “Jesus Christ. This blows anything on the market out of the water by a mile. Look out for this company in the comings years. Varjo.” via Joel Tiger de Ross

The Silicon Valley Global News team also got to interview the CEO of VARJO that is where we learned about his pricing strategy for the VARJO and what he expects the price range will be.

Urho Konttori is the CEO and Founder of Varjo via Silicon Valley Global News

Urho Konttori is the CEO and Founder of Varjo via Silicon Valley Global News

We know from interviewing Konttori that this headset is targeted at the Enterprise. We know that the price is expected to be between $5,000 and $10,000 USD (United States Dollar) but that this price is heavily dependent on production costs.

The Varjo headset is not meant for average SteamVR titles, (although they will work) this is geared towards being able to display super high resolution and high polygon count models such as those data sets used in Architecture, or by the Military, Medical data, that may include big data visualizations used by the Enterprise customer. Only customers who need the super high end display need apply.

Conclusion: The Varjo display is very real and very cool. It takes the idea of foveated rendering but implements something ultra simple that doesn’t require eye tracking because they just put the highest resolution in the center and it works amazingly well. If you want to bring something into sharp focus you just turn your head to line up the center of the display with what your eyes want to focus on. I adapted to it really quickly.

The only think that might be even better than this is a display that does high resolution foveated rendering based on eye tracking, and in that event you would need high pixel density everywhere not just in the center. So in theory this device could be cheaper to mass produce. Which makes me wonder if they will be approached by companies like HTC, Oculus, Sony, or Google regarding a possible acquisition so it can become a mass produced product to sell at a lower price that consumers can reach. However their high priced enterprise focus might appeal most to HTC that also has an enterprise focus with the latest Vive Pro headset release.