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Designed for Ultimate VR Comfort – A Deep Dive into Varjo XR-3 and VR-3

Varjo has a vision of bringing virtual and mixed reality to every workplace. To accelerate professional adoption, immersive devices need to be comfortable to use and wear for extended periods.

Read our blog post to discover how the new Varjo XR-3 and VR-3 headsets were designed for premium comfort in the professional use of VR and XR.

A Comfortable Headset for Longer VR/XR Sessions? Challenge Accepted

Writer: Anna Nilsson, Head of Design & Research at Varjo

When we started designing our next-generation headsets, we had an ambitious goal: create a headset that could be used comfortably by professionals in long-use sessions. Customer feedback guided us throughout the development process, and we decided to focus our attention on these three main areas:

  • Headset adjustability and comfort in long sessions
  • Visual VR comfort and image quality
  • Wearing comfort from materials and temperatures

Read on to find out how we solved these challenges in the new Varjo XR-3 and VR-3,  our leading virtual and mixed reality headsets.

Adjustability with the 3-point Precision Fit Headband – After 17 Iteration Cycles

Most headsets on the market are based on a wearing concept where the headset is tightened against the face. However, our user studies and ergonomics tests showed us that this was not always comfortable in extended wearing times.

Having to squeeze the headset against the cheeks causes pressure on these soft parts of the face. Sometimes users end up having heavy red markings on their faces after an intensive VR use session – not a very attractive look in a business context if you might be going to another meeting right after.

Based on this insight, we decided to do a complete redesign of the wearing concept. We call this the 3-point precision fit headband. This headband moves the pressure points away from the sensitive cheek areas to the harder parts of the human skull, namely the forehead and top of the head, without any external light leak.

Productizing our early idea involved altogether 17 iterations. As part of the design process, we conducted ergonomics tests with a total of 536 users of all head shapes and sizes. The result was quite impressive, and we feel confident in saying that the new design succeeds in distributing the device weight comfortably around the head.

The three different adjustments – back wheel, front wheel, and the knobs on the two sides of the head – allow users to seek the optimal settings for their personal preference, head shape, and size, and easily adjust the settings during a longer period of use.

Design & R&D Breakthroughs: Reduced Weight and Improved Balance

In addition to the headband design, a couple of other design and R&D breakthroughs played a role in optimizing the wearing comfort:

  • Reduced total weight. Our new headset is 40% lighter than the previous generation, even though we added more functionality and more hardware components. This alone was a massive leap forward and an enabler for creating a comfortable product.
  • Weight balance. When it comes to the perceived weight, the most important thing has been to find a good weight balance for the product. With a balanced weight between the front and back, the headset causes less strain on the neck and shoulders in continuous use.
  • Eyewear use: Varjo XR-3 and VR-3 can be worn with most normal-size single-vision eyeglasses, similar to all of our earlier headset models. This is very important especially in setups for shared use – Varjo devices can be installed in training classrooms, demo setups, and showrooms. The headsets can be worn easily by all users without the need for prior arrangements such as wearing contact lenses or separate lens customizations.


Visual Comfort with Reduced VR Nausea

Users of virtual and mixed reality can sometimes experience VR nausea, or simulator sickness, especially when the scene involves movement. Also, the quality of the VR image affects the likelihood of feeling sick in VR. The worse you can see, the higher the likelihood of feeling nauseous after a while.

High visual quality reduces simulator sickness. The Varjo XR-3 and VR-3 allow viewing the scenes in human-eye resolution at over 70 pixels per degree. Compared to previous generation headsets, we further improved the resolution in the peripheral area across the full 115-degree field-of-view. This is the absolute best visual experience in the market, allowing the user to see even the smallest of details comfortably.

In addition to resolution only, users can see poorly in the headset also if the lenses are not well-aligned with the eyes. Interpupillary distance (IPD), meaning the distance from the center of the pupil to another, varies from person to person, and for a crisp image the headset lenses need to be adjusted right for each user. Most headsets rely on manual adjustment only, which is rather difficult to do and even more easy to forget.

Varjo headsets use our integrated eye tracking technology and automatically adjust the lenses to match the user IPD every time the headset is put on. The automatic IPD adjustment guarantees easy and accurate adjustment when switching headset users.

Wearing Comfort with Hygienic Materials and Cool Temperatures

In most professional settings, virtual and mixed reality headsets have multiple users, so they need to be easy to clean. In the new Varjo headsets, face cushions are made of easy-to-clean polyurethane that can be sanitized with antibacterial wipes. This is especially convenient for multi-user sessions and makes it possible to offer hygienic virtual and mixed reality sessions even amidst a global pandemic.

When headsets are worn over longer sessions, the air inside the headset can also become a comfort issue. The displays right in front of the eyes emit heat and so do also the various cameras and sensors assembled in the device body.

In Varjo headsets, the temperature inside the headset is managed with active cooling. Essentially, this is a feature that circulates the air and makes sure the temperatures inside the headset stay low and comfortable.

Want to see it for yourself?

The new Varjo headsets are tailor-made with the needs of our professional customers in mind, and we believe they are better serving our demanding customer needs than any other headset in the market today.

Contact us to get a hands-on demo of the new Varjo XR-3 and VR-3 and find out how VR/XR could benefit your company already starting today.