March 12, 2020 – Varjo, a provider of industrial-grade VR/XR headsets, has introduced real-time chroma keying and marker tracking as early access features for its XR-1 Developer Edition headset. An industry-standard technique known as ‘green-screening’ and used in broadcasting and film, Varjo states that it is the first company to deliver chroma keying in real-time for mixed reality devices. With marker tracking, professional users can anchor any virtual objects to the real world using printable visual markers.
Together, these two features allow enterprise customers to integrate virtual and real worlds, interact with photorealistic virtual content as they would in real life, and achieve high levels accuracy and occlusion inside mixed reality. The video above showcases the power of chroma keying and object tracking.
“Since its commercial launch in December 2019, Varjo’s XR-1 Developer Edition has quickly become the most demanded mixed reality product for professional users, transforming the way companies train, design and conduct research in immersive environments,” said Urho Konttori, Chief Product Officer and co-founder of Varjo. “When our customers asked us to create a seamless solution for blending the real and virtual worlds, we immediately jumped to the challenge. We’re excited to introduce real-time chroma keying and object tracking to our customers just three months after the first deliveries of the XR-1, enabling absolute immersion inside mixed reality.”
Varjo states that chroma keying is particularly beneficial for professional workflows where aligning virtual content accurately with the physical world is crucial. Users can now define parts of reality, identify them with color and replace them with virtual models or scenery without heavy development costs. With chroma key, virtual content also occludes with real-world objects or hands, allowing for intuitive interactions. Using Varjo’s object tracking with visual markers, professionals can make virtual objects appear exactly where they want them in their surroundings. Example use cases include:
Training and simulation: A pilot can sit in a replica of a plane or helicopter cockpit and be able to look outside and see oneself flying in an ultra-immersive visual scenery, while operating physical cockpit controllers for realistic training. Chroma keying also enables multi-user training scenarios.
Design: An automotive designer can sit in a car and replace parts of the interior with designs that are not yet built in reality. Designers can also collaborate in an immersive mixed reality space, interacting with virtual models and making changes to them in real-time, or virtually ‘dress’ 3D prints to look like material-finished products.
Run academic, clinical, and commercial research: Researchers can conduct studies inside life-like mixed reality, simultaneously combining virtual and real world elements into the research environment. Subjects can hold virtual products or instruments in their hands and interact with them.
“With chroma key, Varjo took an industry-standard technique and turned it into a useful new feature for dynamic mixed reality simulations,” said Bob Vaughn, Product Manager at FlightSafety International, a provider of aviation training. “We look forward to further exploring the feature applied to a variety of simulation opportunities. We highly value our collaborative relationship with Varjo, and are excited to continue to push the boundaries of mixed reality.”
Both chroma keying and marker tracking are available in early access to all users of the XR-1 Developer Edition headset, which is capable of streaming high-resolution video and virtual reality to the user without any observable latency.
Varjo recently demonstrated the new features on the XR-1 headset at the DSET (Defence Simulation Education and Training) trade show this week in Bristol, UK.
Video credit: Varjo/Vimeo