The first headset running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chipset from an original equipment manufacturer is official.
On Monday at the San Francisco Photonics West conference, startup Lynx unveiled the Lynx Mixed Reality Headset. The headset is a $1500 passthrough AR/VR wearable with dual 1600 x 1600 pixel displays and 90 degrees field of view, resulting in 18 pixels per degree, and a four-fold catadioptric freeform prism serving as the optics engine.
According to the device's spec sheet it comes with six cameras (two black and white cameras for positional tracking, two IR sensors for eye-tracking, two visible-light cameras for RGB image capture) and an array of sensors — namely accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer — to serve as the inertial measurement unit for position orientation. On the audio side, the headset will include two stereo speakers, with a two-channel microphone array for audio input.
In terms of tracking, the headset will be capable of six degrees of freedom positional tracking via simultaneous localization and mapping. It will support two-handed gesture recognition and low-latency eye tracking.
In addition to the XR2 processor, the Lynx Mixed Reality Headset boasts 6 GB of memory and 128 GB of storage, with enough battery power to run for two hours of active use. For connectivity, the headset supports Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.0, and USB Type-C.
The headset is available for pre-order for $1499 with a $150 deposit via the Lynx website. The company expects to begin fulfilling orders by mid-2020.
While Lynx did not reveal what kind of content its headset would have available, Qualcomm provided some context of what Snapdragon XR2 devices will be capable of. With the original Snapdragon XR1 occupying the high-quality tier of wearables, namely smartglasses like Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 and Vuzix M4000, XR2 supplies the premium tier of next-generation devices. During a briefing ahead of the XR2 launch, Qualcomm representatives emphasized the "true mixed reality" category — Qualcomm jargon for pass-through AR via VR headsets.
Among the real-world applications prepared for XR2 devices is Spatial, the leading AR video conferencing platform that shared the stage with Qualcomm for the launch of the Snapdragon XR2. Given its cross-platform compatibility, Lynx Mixed Reality headset users can expect to participate in AR collaboration sessions alongside HoloLens 2, Magic Leap 1, mobile, and desktop users, both on-site and remote.
These promises sound great in theory, but the execution of these technologies in practice is a whole other beast. Until we see how the Lynx Mixed Reality Headset performs in a real-world setting, we'll hold our expectations in check. But, based on the specs, Lynx may have an affordable way for enterprises and consumers to make entry into spatial computing via a standalone headset.
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