January 27, 2021 – Well known professional camera brand Canon, which also specializes in optical, imaging, and industrial products, has announced that it will be releasing its new mixed reality (MR) head-mounted display, the ‘MREAL S1’ in 2021.
The device will be the smallest and lightest in Canon’s MREAL series, and appears to be about the same size as a smartphone. The display device will weigh approximately 137g on its own and 338g including the head mount unit, which features a mechanism that will allow users to flip the device up and down to switch between the real and immersive world. Add to this a “simple user interface” that runs on the company’s MREAL Platform, Canon states that even entry level users will be able to operate the device intuitively.
Furthermore, the device is not tied to being used strictly as a HMD. Instead, users will also be able to use the S1 as handheld mixed reality device, allowing for increased flexibility to meet various user needs. As well as this, the device can connect to a PC or laptop to meet business needs for on-site MR requirements, as well as conference room presentations, product reviews, and more.
According to an article on Digital Camera World, the device will utilize two sets of stereoscopic camera arrays. The first array is dedicated to image passthrough, which renders virtual objects in the physical environment, while the second will provide depth realization, allowing virtual objects to be placed accurately in a mixed reality space. Through these cameras, the device will extract feature points from surrounding stationary objects, and from this data, will be able to identify the user’s position and then display virtual objects accordingly.
It is expected that the Canon MREAL S1 headset will be aimed at industry and enterprise buyers, and as such comes with a corresponding price tag. Although Canon has yet to list the actual product price as part of its own announcement, according to Japanese website DC Watch, pricing for the MREAL S1 could start from JPY ¥4 million (approximately USD $38,500).
This certainly seems on the pricey-side of things, even for business and enterprise customers, so it is yet to be seen if there will be an appetite for such an expensive device, especially when there are other options on the market for less than 10% of the price – the tried and tested Microsoft HoloLens 2 for example costs just USD $3,500.
Canon noted the release date of the S1 as late February 2021. For more information on Canon and its MREAL platform, please visit the company’s website.
Image / video credit: Canon / YouTube