XTAL 3: High-end VR glasses with 4K displays & 180-degree field of view
The XTAL 3 VR glasses offer high-end features for the highest demands. At the price of a small car.
The Czech start-up VRgineers has been developing VR devices for industry and the military since 2017 and has specialized in hardware for fighter pilot training recently.
The latest device, the XTAL 3, was developed in collaboration with international military pilots and is said to offer the most realistic VR simulation of flight and combat training to date.
In addition to professional military simulations, DCS World, X-Plane 11 and Microsoft Flight Simulator are supported.
High-quality Mixed Reality
The XTAL offers two 4K LC displays with a resolution of 3,840 by 2,160 pixels per eye and 75 Hz refresh rate. Only in the QHD resolution of 2,560 by 1,440 pixels per eye, 120 Hz is possible.
In contrast to the previous generation and the direct predecessor XTAL 8K, the XTAL 3 offers for the first time an integrated and high-quality mixed reality solution. The VR glasses film the environment with two outward-facing 4K cameras and display the video image in VR. The resolution of the mixed reality mode is 3,864 by 2,192 pixels and it runs at 90 Hz refresh rate.
"Integrated mixed reality technology allows pilots to see their hands, interact with instrument panels, learn proper motor skills, and practice standard procedures," VRgineers writes.
The field of view is 180 degrees horizontally and 90 degrees vertically. Thanks to proprietary lenses and special algorithms, the image is said to be distortion-free. The VR goggles support inserts for corrective lenses.
XTAL 3: Delivery starts in April 2022
The XTAL 3 is smaller and 30 percent lighter than its predecessor, but still weighs 700 grams. The head mount has been optimized for "hours of training" based on pilot feedback.
The device supports inside-out tracking and is also compatible with professional tracking systems from Optitrack and Vicon. SteamVR tracking is to follow during the year. The integrated eye-tracking system is used for behavioral analysis and lens distance adjustment. Foveated rendering is also supported.
The XTAL 3 is available with or without mixed reality cameras. The VR-only version will cost $8,900, while the MR version will cost $11,500. Shipping starts in April 2022 and those who want can already pre-order the devices.
Sales of the somewhat older XTAL 8K will end in 2022, and the device will still cost $4,800. Professional high-end alternatives are offered by the Finnish competitor Varjo with the VR-3 and XR-3. With the Varjo Aero, Varjo also ventures into the segment of enthusiasts and sim fans for the first time.