VR Startup Varjo Announces Shipping of High Resolution Headset Prototype, Aimed at Professional Markets
Today at Slush 2017, Finnish VR startup Varjo Technologies is announcing that their first formal prototype headset will be shipping within the next month, as well as unveiling their collaboration efforts with a number of new development partners. While we don’t often cover these smaller companies, there are a few notable elements to Varjo’s endeavors. First is the hardware itself: Varjo’s VR headset incorporates two displays where the inner central region has very high resolution and pixel density, surrounded by a coarser lower resolution peripheral region. The second is the niche: Varjo is focusing solely on the professional market.
Update (11/30/2017): Article was updated to reflect the latest information available, including concrete details of the Alpha Prototype.
The headset – and the company itself for that matter – was outed this past June when Varjo exited their startup stealth period, and at that time they gave private demoes to press and analysts with a modified Oculus Rift (CV1), calling the setup their "20|20" prototype. In that configuration, the Oculus display provided the 100 degree FOV peripheral and two 1920 x 1080 OLED microdisplays, courtesy of Sony DSC-RX100M4 compact cameras, provided the in-focus 20 degree region in 0.7 inches (diagonal) for a pixel density of around 3000 ppi.
Scientifically, what Varjo is adopting is a form of foveated projection – mimicking the human vision’s out-of-focus peripheral and in-focus center. Foveation is widely considered to be one of the critical steps to the next generation of VR headsets, as matching the human eye's own capabilities is, if executed correctly, a more direct means to having high pixel density HMDs without all of the manufacturing challenges of building a continuous high density HMD, and without the massive rendering workload required to fill such an HMD. Various GPU vendors have already been working on foveated rendering, and now with Varjo's prototype we're going to start seeing forms of foveated projection.
For their new Alpha Pr
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