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Mixed Reality Headset to Alter Design Workflows

Working on a 2D screen for 3D design has always been fraught with restrictions. In recent years, mixed reality and virtual reality headsets have promised users more immersion in the models they are creating. However, sometimes you simply want to utilize your usual design software in immersive simulation and working in VR or MR basically means you cannot make use of a mouse or keyboard easily.

This is where the Varjo XR-1 enters. It has forward-facing cameras that pass an HD view of the user’s surroundings inside the headset and XR-1 lets anchoring in for projected images in the area around, that too at a higher resolution than several existing headsets can display. However, more significantly, the XR-1 pushes out quite a high-resolution image to see carefully what is surrounding you during interaction with sharply elaborate 3D models. Volvo Cars’ engineers have adorned the headset while driving a car on a test track, letting them try out dashboard designs when they are operating a vehicle, which is moving.

The founder and chief product officer of Varjo, Urho Konttori, asserted that it is the first proper mixed-reality headset in the world. He also went on to say that the software inside is proper software. It is compatible with Unity and Unreal 3D visualization engines and Autodesk VRED. The headset can project complete 3D models into the environment of the user with no restrictions to their field of view.

Image source: Bernardmarr

Microsoft’s HoloLens and such other mixed-reality headsets extend images onto a viewing pane, which is transparent, before the eyes of the user. As a result, the 3D image in the surroundings gets a restricted field-of-view. The pass-through imaging procedure of the Varjo XR-1 headset extends a mix of live feed from the 3D images and cameras of the headset, forming a seamless surrounding. At a live demonstration, Konttori walked ENR via Dimensional Interface to allow regular, 2D Microsoft Windows applications run in the mixed-reality environment at a high resolution. While working in a program like AutoCAD or other design software, users get to see the complete 3D model before them. At the same time, they have access to the 2D traditional workspace of the application as a floating pane.

Konttori said that it is the first interface, which connects you directly with the immersive world. One can gain total access to the powerful 2D tools you have been using and operate inside the 3D environment. The best thing is that users can operate in exactly the same manner as before with no need to learn anything new. The 2D screens with high-resolution that are seen floating in front of the user are compared to modern-day PC monitors, proffering something similar to 4K resolution. The text on a real keyboard was also legible, making way for the MR experience of working on a mouse and keyboard while looking at a virtual display, which is visible only to the user.

The Varjo website is offering the XR-1 Developer Edition at $9,995, with a separate fee for support and software. The final model has no release date or price.

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