Lynx R1 AR+VR Headset: Latest Update
Lynx has issued an early 2022 update for its Lynx R1 headset which is billed as the first commercial video AR headset. What’s been happening since the company launched its Kickstarter and where does the project stand at the moment?
The Lynx R1 is a standalone headset with both VR and AR capabilities. In the Augmented Reality mode, the environment is captured with integrated cameras and shown as a video on the displays, where it can be further enriched with digital elements. The company calls its device an AR + VR headset.
This kind of “video-based” augmented reality offers several advantages over conventional Augmented Reality headsets and glasses that are built with transparent optics such as Magic Leap, Nreal Light, and HoloLens. For instance, it provides a wider field of view and an opaque display of digital elements.
The corresponding devices are also easier and cheaper to produce as they leverage proven Virtual Reality technology. Meta is also set to release similar AR devices later in the year, dubbed Project Cambria. It is rumored that Google, Apple, and Microsoft are also working on similar devices. However, Paris-based startup Lynx may be the first company to launch this kind of AR hardware.
In its February 1 update on Kickstarter, the company said that it is “500% focused” on launching the production of the device to meet the deadlines. In other words, its production so far is going according to plan.
Lynx R1’s Kickstarter campaign ended at the end of November. More than 1,200 backers contributed more than $820,000 to the project which was double the campaign’s financing goal. The devices are set to be delivered in April 2022.
In its early February update, Lynx boss Stan Larroque reveals that the startup will visit the manufacturer at the end of the month or in March to get the production going.
Because the $800,000 Kickstarter funds cannot cover the company’s full production costs, Lynx will begin a new fundraising round that will end this month. The fundraising page is still open so you can participate in the company’s latest funding round.
The new fundraising will be used to open many new positions in both software and hardware development.
Larroque says that the first version of the SDK will be released at the end of March and that it will feature OpenXR support. The operating system will also be switching to Android S. It will also feature both Unreal Engine and Godot support via OpenXR. Because this will be an open-source SDK, it could also support other engines.
The startup says the ongoing chip shortages will not affect it since it placed its order before these bottlenecks became the order of the day.
VR Controllers Could Be Delayed
The software development kit (SDK) will be released in late March and will support the OpenXR industry standard which should make it easier to port Virtual Reality content to the Lynx R1 AR VR Headset.
The primary input method is via optical hand tracking and Ultraleap is providing the associated algorithms. Lynx has already demonstrated how well hand and finger tracking works.
Lynx teamed up with third-party manufacturer Finch to produce separately sold Virtual Reality controllers. The startup is still making some hardware changes and delivery could be delayed.
Market Launch in June 2022
Content for Lynx R1 will be distributed via Side Quest, the details of which will come later. The startup is also promising support for Nvidia’s CloudXR streaming, swappable batteries as well as an unlimited tracking range although it is advising against using the Lynx R1 AR-VR headset in the outdoors.
Lynx R1’s Kickstarter backers will be the first to be served. Regular customers will follow later on and Lynx has provided a June shipment window for the rest of the buyers. On its official store, the Lynx R-1 headset Standard Edition costs $599 with the Enterprise Edition going for $1,099. The Kickstarter units will go for a lot cheaper.
Check out the following YouTube video for additional details on the status of the headset.