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Anchor virtual objects to the real world effortlessly

Since its commercial launch in December 2019, Varjo’s XR headset has quickly become the most in demand mixed reality product in the enterprise market. We are now proud to introduce a new software feature that allows our users to further blur the lines between what is real and what is virtual.

Watch how Varjo Markers allow you to bring photorealistic virtual objects to your mixed reality experience

Tracking accuracy is key for credibly mixing virtual content with the real world

For mixed reality applications to be truly seamless, virtual content needs to be pixel-perfectly aligned with the real world. Previously, merging virtual content with pass-through video streams into one blended experience has required a lot of development.

One major challenge has been enabling the accurate positioning of virtual reality objects in real surroundings. Most VR applications can tolerate a relatively large amount of errors in HMD and object location before immersion is lost. But if there’s one thing professional VR users can generally agree on, it’s this: No tracking system is perfect.

Different use cases require different tracking systems. Varjo has enabled support for various systems, such as SteamVR, ART, Antilatency and LPVR.

To properly position virtual objects, the user’s application must know two positions: the real-time location of the HMD and the desired location of the virtual object in the real world.

Mixed reality applications see the real world as a reference, so tracking accuracy is key to building immersive experiences.

Varjo Markers offer an effortless solution for the positioning of virtual objects.

Bring virtual objects into the real world with Varjo’s XR headset and Varjo Markers. This video was captured prior to implementing the new predictive tracking mode in our 2.3 software release.

Varjo Markers are simple, printed visual markers that allow easy and effortless object tracking in mixed reality applications. Using Varjo Markers with our mixed reality headset, professionals can anchor virtual objects exactly where they want them in their surroundings – removing the need to use active controllers or tracking pucks.

Users can print Varjo Markers directly from our Developer Portal. Once printed and placed in the Varjo headset’s field of view, our software automatically detects these physical markers and identifies their location in the physical space via an API.

As Varjo Markers enable the fixed and precise positioning of virtual objects in the real world, they are a compelling solution for many professional mixed reality applications. For example, a flight trainer or a car designer can place virtual displays, instrument panels, controllers, dashboards, or even a steering wheel exactly where he or she needs them to appear. The exact positioning is achieved without implementing complex hardware components or requiring any development from the user.

A truly hassle-free solution

Varjo Markers also allow multi-user scenarios where numerous users can collaborate while seeing the same digital items placed on top of the real world.

Other benefits include the convenience of Varjo Markers when compared to tracking pucks. Visual markers can be printed on a piece of cardboard, so they are very lightweight. There is no need for pairing devices or charging puck batteries, which makes Varjo Markers a hassle-free solution for anyone who needs perfect anchoring of virtual objects to the real world.

Turbocharge all possible user scenarios with Chroma Key

For the most immersive interaction, Varjo Markers are best used with real-time chroma keying. 

Chroma keying allows unparalleled occlusion where real-world content such as hands, tools and flight sticks are rendered perfectly over the virtual content using a simple, single-color background, such as a green screen. 

This feature offers broad benefits for mixed reality applications. One example is the ability to instantly “dress” 3D printed tool prototypes – like phones and other gadgets – with a virtual layover of a digital replica. This eliminates the need to produce complete physical prototypes.

When chroma key is used in combination with Varjo Markers, the user experience becomes even more intuitive and immersive. These features blur the lines between what is real and what is virtual, creating completely new mixed reality use cases in training, research and design.

Track and anchor up to 1,000 objects.

Varjo Markers support individual tracking of up to 1,000 objects and a screen refresh at 60/90 Hz.

Varjo Markers come in three different sizes and the tracking distance varies upon the size of the marker:

  • 25mm marker, with an active area of up to 1 meter (3 feet). The best usability is within 0.5 meters. These small markers are excellent for tracking something in your hand.
  • 50mm marker, with an active area of up to 2 meters (6.5 feet). The best usability is within 1 meters. These are the most stable options for interactions within an arm’s reach.
  • 150mm markers, with an active area of up to 5 meters (16 feet). The best usability is within 2 meters for dynamic movement. Beyond 3 meters, we recommend setting a static position or using multiple markers to stabilize.

In our 2.3 software update, we have implemented a predictive tracking mode for fast-moving objects. Users will be able to choose between standard and predictive tracking modes, enabling the most effective and accurate overall positioning based on the use case.

Unreal plugin for Varjo Markers is already available, whereas Unity will become supported later during Q2. Varjo’s customers can print Varjo Markers directly from our recently renewed Varjo Developer Portal.


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