Vrgineers, a leader in delivering virtual and mixed reality pilot training systems for professional and military clients, announces the launch of the XTAL 3 VR and MR headset, a game changer in enhanced pilot training.
The newest XTAL has been developed in cooperation with a team of international Air Force pilots. Thanks to their input, Vrgineers has unleashed the potential of virtual reality simulations and paves the way for the next generation of mixed reality pilot trainers. Trainees and cadets can learn the crafts of avionics in the most realistic simulations available as the XTAL 3 brings the most true-to-life experiences with the first-ever pilot-dedicated headset on the market. The incorporated mixed reality technology allows pilots to see their hands and interact with instrument panels, learn proper motor skills, and practice standard procedures. The basis of this technology embodies two front-facing pass-through high-resolution cameras. The responses of pilots wearing the XTAL 3 in the simulated environment are nearly identical to real situations, teaching the decision-making processes required to gain air superiority. This was achieved thanks to the XTAL 3’s unique combination of high fidelity with a wide field of view, providing the highest level of immersion and situational awareness.
Moreover, the XTAL 3 offers an extended field of view of 180° horizontal and 90° vertical, currently the widest visual field on the market for professional simulations. In combination with two 4K resolution displays and a pair of 4K mixed reality cameras, it delivers an outstanding visual experience.
The combination of the proprietary Vrgineers lenses embedded in the XTAL 3, and advanced warping algorithms provide high fidelity undistorted images that can be enhanced by additional corrective lenses inserts. Thanks to this feature, pilots who would normally wear glasses can train without the discomfort of having their nose compressed while seeing a perfect picture.
The headset frame is made of lightweight compounds, ensuring comfort, and avoiding neck tension during mission training. The ergonomics were fine-tuned based on feedback from pilots to sustain multiple hours of training.
Even though the design of the newest XTAL 3 has changed, Vrgineers kept its recognizable curves and unmistakable shape. Furthermore, the company was able to significantly reduce the weight of the unit and equip the XTAL with proprietary inside-out tracking. This very convenient feature offers a pair of fast-switching infrared cameras positioned on the lower edge under the central cover. The XTAL 3 currently supports inside- out tracking, Optitrack, ART Tracking and Vicon. Vrgineers plans to integrate Lighthouse tracking later this year.
“The central cover of the headset is removable and reconfigurable, making it possible to change the headset from purely virtual to mixed reality, or replace inside-out tracking with ULTRALEAP hand tracking.”
CEO and co-founder Marek Polcak notes and adds: “We can assure all our clients that the XTAL 3 will be compatible with all existing and future technologies they might need while maintaining the highest levels of comfort and convenience.”
Additional functionality, such as a proprietary eye-tracking system with unique one-dot calibration for IPD (inter-pupillary distance) adjustment and foveated rendering are supported as well. The gathered information can be further processed and visualized in heatmaps to be utilized for behavioural analyses.
“Our new one-dot calibration removes the biggest obstacle to the wide adoption of foveated rendering technology. The major bottleneck has always been the time-consuming calibration process necessary before every use of the foveated rendering feature. The XTAL 3 calibration process uses unique one-dot calibration that creates a virtual mathematical model of the user’s face allowing us to calculate precise calibration formulas for eye tracking,” Polcak explains.
The XTAL 3 brings multiple new features and advancements to the immersive realm and brings us one step closer to the Ready Player One experience.
Photo credit: Vrgineers and Aerospace Central Europe (Marek Polcak is pictured with the older version of Vrgineers headset)
MORE TO THIS STORY: exclusive interview for ACE with Marek Polcak