Xtal’s high-end VR headset gets a wireless version


Image: Virginia creepers

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The Xtal 3 professional headphones get a wireless variant thanks to a streaming module that transfers some of the weight to the belt.

The Xtal 3 VR headset offers premium functionality for the highest demands. Customers are mainly in the industrial and military sectors. As of April 2022, Vrgineers’ headset is available for $8,900 (VR version) or $11,500 (mixed reality version with high-quality 4K cameras). With the MR version, fighter pilots can see real dashboards and their real hands in addition to virtually simulated elements.

One remaining annoyance is the cable to a high-end PC. At CES 2023, Vrgineers announced wireless “Xtal Wireless Headphones”, which has only one cable between the headset and a module worn on the belt. It works with low latency streaming according to the Wi-Fi 6E standard, which transmits in the six gigahertz band.

Wi-Fi 6 for high-end VR streaming

Usually, the data rate needed would be too high even for the modern standard. In classic wired mode, the VR headset resolves with 3,840 by 2,160 pixels per eye, at a refresh rate of 75Hz. It alternatively supports 2,560 by 1,440 pixels per eye at 120Hz.

Die Highend-VR-Brille Xtal 3 in Nahaufnahme,

The uncompromising focus on image quality also comes with drawbacks, such as a bulky form factor. | Image: Virginia creepers

Engineers have developed a mode that runs at a compressed resolution of 2,560 by 1,440 pixels per eye and lowers the frame rate to 70 hertz. The solution uses Imrnext’s proprietary technologywhich also collaborates with companies like HP, HTC and Nofio in the streaming sector.

the the transmission technology rests on the waistband of the trousers instead of on the head. The Vrgineers Belt Mod has built-in antennas and doubles as an adjustable-capacity battery. A prototype shown at CES weighs just over two pounds. A final version weighing half that will have a form factor comparable to a smartphone.

Before beginning, users connect their PC graphics card via USB and DisplayPort to a proprietary Imrnext access point. It converts the signal for transmission via Wi-Fi 6E. The manufacturer promises stable transmission quality. Imrnext’s Director of Engineering and Delivery, Phil Purdy, is confident that the wireless VR headset can provide more uses.

“The cable release of the XTAL will enable more dynamic use case scenarios and improve the quality of single-user and multi-user simulation and training exercises,” Purdy said.

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Delivery in the third quarter

“As a supplier to the defense industry, we firmly believe that the wireless XTAL will be the best choice for use cases such as machine and aircraft maintenance, rescue or countermeasures operations. fires as well as special forces training,” explained Vrgineers CEO Marek Polcak. “Wherever total immersion, freedom and high performance are a must.”

Vrgineers calls its new wireless VR headset a “standalone virtual reality headset”. It does not explain how the device would work without a PC as an input device. It’s also unclear whether older wired models of the Xtal 3 can be adapted for wireless use.

So far, Vrgineers only mentions an add-on for the high-end PC VR headset Somnium VR1. There will be a wireless extension of the company after the release.

Pre-orders for the Xtal Wireless headphones are accepted now at business@vrgineers.com. The manufacturer plans to ship in Q3 2023.

Finnish competitor Varjo offers high-end professional (corded) alternatives with the VR-3 and XR-3. With the Varjo Aero (test), Varjo ventures into the segment of enthusiasts and sim fans for the first time.

The cheaper Vive Focus 3 standalone VR headset (review) already uses streaming over Wi-Fi 6E. During a multiplayer test ride in the VR Zero Latency arcade, the transmission remained pleasantly stable with low latency.

Sources: VRgineers XTAL, high resolution VR headset for professionals


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