Varjo Brings Real-time Green-screen to XR-1 for Seamless Mixed Reality

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Varjo, makers of high-end enterprise focused VR headsets, is adding real-time green-screen (aka chroma key) and marker tracking features to its XR-1 headset to make mixed reality applications more seamless.

Varjo’s XR-1 headset is a high-end enterprise development kit headset which combines the company’s retina-resolution ‘bionic display’ with a high quality, wide field of view, stereo camera for passthrough mixed reality. Today the company is rolling out new features in beta to make the headset’s mixed reality capability better and more flexible.

Just like the ‘green-screen’ filming technique, the XR-1 now supports real-time chroma keying, which allows a solid color in the real world to be seamlessly replaced with the virtual world.

As shown in the example below, this makes it easy (if you don’t mind setting up a green-screen) to show both the user’s body, a real flight stick, and even a physical pre-flight checklist, all surrounded by a virtual cockpit. Without the segmentation capability of the green-screen feature, the user’s body would be completely covered by the virtual world, and the user would need to operate the flight stick by feel and memory alone (far from ideal for training new pilots!).

This brute-force color replacement approach makes it easier, faster, and more accurate to segment the real world (especially the user themselves) from the virtual world compared to computer-vision approaches which require more processing power and time. The method also achieves high quality segmentation for distant objects, something which computer-vision approaches often struggle with.

On top of the chroma key capability, Varjo is also adding a simple marker tracking feature to the XR-1. Printed fiducial markers can be stuck to real-world objects to make them easy to track and replace with virtual objects.

Combined, the new features expand the XR-1’s capabilities for enterprises who see value in mixed reality functionality for things like training, design, research, and more. The features also dovetail nicely with Varjo’s impressive ‘Workspace’ concept which envisions an office environment which is part real and part virtual.

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