Unless you’re a big global company with plenty of money to burn standing out at the world’s largest technology event, CES can be a little difficult. Even so, that didn’t stop Prague-based VRgineers, the virtual reality (VR) headset manufacturer behind XTAL from trying to make an impression. The company attended the event to showcase its new 8K resolution headset and did so in style, bringing a massive flight-sim rig for guests to test the improved resolution. This also proved to be an opportune moment to chat with CEO and co-founder Marek Polcak about the 8K XTAL.
From the outside the new XTAL 8K looks no different from its 5K sibling, offering that striking crystal design, the wide 180-degree (FoV) as well as the built-in hand-tracking from Ultraleap. It’s only when you put on the headset that the difference becomes clear.
First and foremost VRgineers has designed the XTAL to be an industrial headset, suited to companies and organisations which require high-resolutions and wide FoVs for an unincumbered VR experience. This has led XTAL down the simulator route, flight-sims in particular. Because of this specialism, VRgineers has been working with the likes of the US Airforce and US NAVY to aid in their training programs. During CES 2020 it was announced that Vance Airforce Base in Oklahoma will be the first to receive the 8K version, helping upgrade its training centre.
Hence why VRgineers chose to bring a massive pneumatic rig to the expo, where guests had to climb up and in via a ladder to have a go. The setup featured full flight controls and for that added feel of realism, the XTAL was attached to a flight helmet. It’s the fine detail which sets the 8K headset apart from other VR devices. The landscape outside the cockpit looked nice enough but it was the clarity of all the dials and switches which truly impressed – understandable why the US Airforce was using it.
After a nice flight around Dubai airspace, it was time to talk with Polcak about the XTAL 8K and the work that went into upgrading the headset. Check out the interview below to see what he said and to see the rig in action. The new XTAL is expected to be commercially available in the second half of Q1 2020. For further updates, keep reading VRFocus.