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Vrgineers unveils new mixed reality HMD

Vrgineers' new carbon fibre, lightweight XTAL 3 CAVU mixed reality HMD utilises a streamlined architecture to improve performance. ( Vrgineers)

Vrgineers has developed a new version of its mixed reality (MR) XTAL head-mounted display (HMD) and displayed it for the first time at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC 2023) in Orlando.

Marek Polčák, the company's CEO and co-founder, told Janes that while there was little room for improvement in virtual reality (VR) HMD technology, there was still scope for improvement in MR but this required a new architecture because the standard image processing pipeline used in MR HMDs had reached its maximum capability. The new architecture is based on removing parts of the pipeline to lower latency and improve performance.

Polčák explained that currently in a standard MR HMD image, data from the headset image sensor undergoes some initial image processing in the headset, which downgrades the image before it is processed through a central processing unit (CPU) and random-access memory (RAM), and then by an image graphics processing unit (GPU) before finally being combined with VR imagery in another GPU.

The new XTAL 3 CAVU (Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited) removes several stages in the pipeline and hence delivers much improved performance, Polčák said. The HMD, which is made of carbon fibre to reduce weight, has two image sensors providing over 24 megapixels of full 12-bit colour with a refresh rate of more than 100 Hz.

There is no image processing in the headset and the raw data is transferred directly to a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) image processing card with a single, uniquely coded processor using Vrgineers proprietary artificial intelligence (AI)-based algorithms. The final stage of the pipeline is the GPU VR processor.

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