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Saab to integrate Varjo mixed reality technology into Gripen E/F simulators

Saab announced on 7 June that it would be working with Finnish firm Varjo to integrate the company's technology into all simulators for the Saab Gripen E/F aircraft.

Saab's Head of Tactical Environment Simulation and Visualisation Stefan Furenbäck said in a statement, “We are finalising the basic functionalities in our own simulator so that we can use Varjo's XR-3 headsets in all our flight simulators. We've previously carried out smaller, independent prototype-like projects but now we're integrating them into our actual flight simulators.”

A key aspect of this, according to Furenbäck, is that Varjo's technology had allowed pilots to be able to read text and see small details when using the technology, which had been a common concern with other simulator systems.

As a result, the ability to use a high-fidelity goggle-based system has reduced the need for large static and semi-static simulation cave or dome systems for pilot training, allowing for improved training and mission rehearsal to take place at disparate locations that may lack the necessary infrastructure.

Seppo Aaltonen, chief commercial officer at Varjo, told Janes in late 2020 that the company had been working to improve the technology behind its goggle systems, which include the XR-3.

“If you think about commercially available devices, you can get 20–30% of the population feeling ill after usage. We specialise in the high-end professional virtual-reality and mixed-reality market. We have a host of technologies that we have employed to enable extended use, including ergonomics. One of these is individual pupil distance adjustment where we measure each student's pupil distance and adjust the headset accordingly, and that reduces a lot of simulator sickness.”

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