VRgineers were at CES this month touting their XTAL virtual reality headset, a professional and industrial-grade device already in use by the U.S. Department of Defense and major aircraft manufacturers.
XTAL at CES
XTAL boasts the industry’s best 8K resolution with a set of professional features Architosh has only seen in the VR headset world with Varjo’s VR-1. The device is also optimized for the world’s most powerful GPUs like NVIDIA’s Quadro RTX 8000.
“Our customers are using the latest cutting edge technologies, so they expect the best from their VR solutions,” says Marek Polcák, VRgineers CEO and co-founder. “That means solutions optimized for the latest NVIDIA RTX cards with VirtualLink embedded. The latest generation of XTAL VR headset is the only solution today that meets these needs with 8K resolution.”
VRgineers introduced the original XTAL headset two years ago. Their target markets included professional designers, engineers, pilots, doctors, and trainers who require superior image quality and accuracy in a virtual environment. XTAL delivers a wide field-of-view (FoV), easy integration, and data security.
The VRgineers XTAL headset shown at CES goes even further after two years of existence, introducing a set of breakthrough technologies:
- High-density LCD displays with an unbeatable resolution at 8K
- Foveated rendering capabilities
- AR mixed reality module add-on
- Improved lenses with 180-degree FOV
- Eye-tracking technology capable of running up to 210 FPS
- Highly accurate Leap Motion sensors
- Unique VirtualLink capable implemented
- Easy embedding to a helmet for simulators
XTAL is the world’s first VR headset on the market to feature an embedded VirtualLink capable manufactured by BizLink. The new technology is an open standard developed to meet the connectivity requirements of current and next-generation virtual reality headsets.
VirtualLink is a standards-based USB Type-C™ solution designed to deliver the power, display, and data required to power VR headsets through a single USB Type-C connector, providing a durable and simple connection. Instead of as many six cables, VirtualLink-enabled systems like XTAL only require a single capable to connect their systems.
VRgineers says XTAL is being used for training simulations by the United States Air Force for pilot training. The first to receive the new XTAL will be the Vance Airforce Base in Oklahoma, which ordered XTAL headsets as part of their complete upgrade to their training center. VRgineers are also participating in other US armed forces branches in other R&D initiatives.
“The feeling that I got while flying the F18A in full VR mode with XTAL is really astonishing. It was so close to reality that I felt I was inside the F18A. As a pilot, that is exactly what I need to feel for training purposes,” said Capt. Taimeir, a former F18 pilot with the Swiss Airforce, CEO Mirage Technologies.
To learn more about the XTAL headset visit VRgineers here.
Architosh Analysis and Commentary
CES this month brought up our first contact with the XTAL, a worthy competitor to Finland’s Varjo with its VR-1 and XR-1 headset technologies. The headset, like the VR-1 is over $5,000.USD, a fair price for an industrial-grade headset with eye-tracking technology accurate enough for flight simulation training programs.
An interesting facet about VRgineers is they are also European, like the Varjo folks. The company was founded in Prague and has two offices in the Czech Republic and one US office in Los Angeles, a curious location given their US government clients. Unlike the Finnish Varjo folks, this company doesn’t have any high-profile architects endorsing this headset and most information on its website is engineering and aerospace oriented. This isn’t to say architects are not using this device yet, only to suggest that perhaps the company, like its Finnish rival, has found solid interest in non-AEC realms like aerospace, defense industry, and engineering simulation industries.
XTAL works with Leap Motion gear for integrated hand tracking. Varjo’s new VR-2 also uses this same technology which readers can learn more about here. In terms of resolution, while large 8K resolution (4K in each eye) sounds amazing it is hard to compare this to Varjo’s headsets because their screen technology couples two displays with different resolutions at different points in the display. We only recently tried on the Varjo VR-1 at Autodesk University and it was devastatingly better than a Vive, for example. We imagine the XTAL is also remarkable and look forward to giving it a test run also. For now, it is exciting to see Varjo have some fellow European competition in the high-end of the virtual reality market.