At CES 2020, VRgineers announced a new version of their high-quality XTAL headset for businesses worth $ 7,890, including business-class support.
The original $ 5800 XTAL was announced back in the summer of 2018. It features dual 1440p OLED panels, a refresh rate of 70 Hz, adjustable lenses with a viewing angle of 180 °, eye tracking for automatic IPD and a built-in Leap Motion controller, which means free hand tracking.
Updated XTAL received two 4K OLED LCDs. Although VRgineers calls this hardware “8K” (like Pimax), it’s important to note that the industry definition of 8K actually means 4 times as many pixels as 4K rather than twice as much. This is because you need to multiply both resolution axes. We hope that in the future, VR companies will stop using misleading terminology for marketing.
Oddly enough, the new model does not seem to be called XTAL 2 and does not even have a different name, and VRgineers call the new product “the latest generation of XTAL.”
The eye tracking system has been updated to provide support for foveated rendering. This technology consists in displaying the highest resolution of the image exactly at the point where the human eye is looking. That is, when you look around your location, only what you directly look at has the most detail. This means that you will not be able to read text that you do not look at directly. In fact, this “foveated area” is only 3 degrees wide. Advanced VR headsets can take advantage of this only by visualizing what you are looking at directly in very high resolution. Everything else (peripheral area) can be rendered with much lower resolution. This is how XTAL can provide users with an image of 16 million pixels and still use current GPUs. True, they must be powerful enough to provide a decent picture without friezes, delays and lags.
To transmit the signal to the display from the GPU to the headset, the new XTAL uses VirtualLink – a single USB-C cable standard for future VR headsets and GPUs / laptops to which they connect. It is worth noting that VirtualLink has not yet been used in the consumer market.
So, how realistic is the dual-display 4K display? High enough that the original XTAL is used by the US Air Force to train pilots. And at the US Air Force base will be used the new XTAL.
“The sensations I got while flying the F18A in VR in XTAL are really amazing. It was so close to reality that I literally felt inside the F18A, ”says Captain Teymir, former F18 pilot from the Swiss Air Force, CEO of Mirage Technologies.
It is worth noting that a simulation installation that uses this virtual reality helmet costs $ 50,000.
VRgineers is also collaborating with the US Navy to develop the next-generation simulator, as well as “major national flight simulators and world-leading car manufacturers.”
Like the original XTAL, the new headset supports a range of tracking systems with add-ons, including SteamVR and OptiTrack.
Interestingly, the device also supports an add-on module for playing mixed reality. No details have been provided about this mode at this time.
Well, in conclusion, it is worth noting that the company intends to release a software update in the next few months for both original and new headsets in order to improve the lens distortion matrix. This is probably intended to eliminate user complaints of deformation around the edges of the lenses.