Latency aside, a VR headset feature that has much room for progress is resolution. If human vision is the measuring stick, then we are nowhere near that. As things stand, the best bet of a higher, near-human resolution will come from Finland. The Finish startup Varjo recently announced that it’s most recent round of funding (Series B) was for a whopping $31 Million. Funds will be used to build out the company’s goal – to create an extremely high resolution VR headset to be used for industrial purposes.
This is twice as much as Varjo has raised thus far. The sentiment from the company goes to show that although current resolution is well suited for most uses, high-res VR headset is becoming a necessity for industry-specific uses. Working well for sports or entertainment events, low resolution borders on muddy when trying to read a piece of text. Industrial VR headsets ought to deliver precision above all things, and resolution is where Varjo seeks to attain it.
‘The resolution of VR devices on the market is a fraction of what the average human eye can see’ Niklas Zennstrom agrees. The Atomico CEO and founding partner also shares that Varjo convinced them that the technology they had thought was useful at least 10 years down the road, was in fact ready for deployment in the next few years. He mentioning of Varjo’s ‘superior product’ and ‘visionary founders’ highlights the high-res VR headset potential. He talks about the professional, industrial use here. In the words of Varjo’s CMO Jussi Makinen we will have to wait for some 7-10 years until high res VR headsets are ready for consumer markets as well.
But what is this ‘superior product’ Zennstrom mentions? It turns out that the monetary support for Varjo high-res VR headsets didn’t come out of the blue. There is a solid reason for it, embodied in a prototype that Varjo released last November. Since the alpha launch, Varjo has collaborated with the likes of Audi, Airbus, 20th Century Fox and a host of others to improve the initial product.
The version currently available for testing is a powerful one. It has resolution over 20 times sharper than most consumer headsets on the market, 50 megapixels an eye. As one might imagine, the results are impassive compared to regular use VR devices. Varjo’s high-res VR headsets shows way more detail, and through technology dubbed ‘bionic display’ mimics the eye tracking behaviors of human vision. For such impressive clarity of VR vision to be possible, and equally impressive computer has to support it. Varjo’s high-res device isn’t and won’t be standalone or wireless. The consumer market VR’s are going wireless, but we’re still some time ahead from near-human resolution standalone sets.
Varjo’s team will grow more that twofold following the investment. There are promises that the high res VR device will have a Mixed Reality add-on. Varjo hopes to make its product, which will likely swim in the $5000+ waters, feasible for many types of industries. From construction to aerospace, design to auto industry, Varjo hopes to make a profound change to how they operate using VR.