AntVR today launched a Kickstarter campaign for its MIX AR developer kit. The new device offers a 96-degree field of view, which is the widest FoV AR device in the consumer market, and it’s available with hand tracking, eye tracking, and 6-degrees of freedom motion controller upgrade modules. AntVR MIX also boasts SteamVR compatibility, which means there’s already plenty of compatible content.
The AntVR MIX is a tethered AR headset. Unlike Microsoft’s HoloLens, which features the computing power built into the device, the AntVR MIX relies on a host PC to render the virtual objects in the environment. The MIX headset doesn’t offer full freedom of movement because of the tether, but the MIX headset is much more affordable than the HoloLens, and it offers a much wider field of view (FoV) than its competitors.
AntVR created a custom lens system for the MIX headset called Dual Channel Mixed Optics, which features layers with different polarizations within the lenses. The company tuned the lenses to allow environmental light to pass through at any focal length. Light from the internal displays comes through at a focal distance of 3m, which allows virtual content to blend with the real world. The displays are somewhat dim and not fully transparent. AntVR said the brightness is comparable to regular sunglasses.
AntVR’s new optics technology enabled the company to offer a more immersive AR experience than the competition. A typical AR device, such as Meta’s Meta 2 headset or Microsoft’s HoloLens, provides small windows to the augmented world. The MIX headset features a 96-degree FOV, which is the widest FoV in any AR device that we know of, and it’s comparable to most VR headsets. AntVR also said that the Dual Channel Mixed Optics enabled it to keep size and weight to a minimum. The MIX headset is smaller than most AR devices, and it weighs a paltry 130g, so it should be comfortable to wear for extended periods.
Modular Hardware Gives You Options
AntVR’s basic MIX package includes the MIX AR glasses and a controller, both of which offer 3-DoF tracking. AntVR also offers a range of accessories for the MIX headset that enhance the device’s capabilities. The company offers an inside-out tracking module, which features stereo monochrome cameras and a built-in IMU to enable Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) spatial tracking.
AntVR also partnered with a handful of third-party companies to expand the MIX headset’s capabilities. The company worked with uSens Inc. to offer a Fingo hand tracking module, partnered with 7invensun to offer an eye tracking solution, and cut a deal with Nolo VR to provide a 6-DoF outside-in tracking option with motion controllers. The AntVR MIX headset is also compatible with a handful of non-partnered third-party accessories, such as the OptiTrack commercial tracking solution or HTC Vive Tracker for SteamVR tracking. The MIX headset is also compatible with the Leap Motion dev kit. To top everything off, AntVR is shopping around for a partner that can provide a wireless solution.
The MIX headset AntVR is offering on Kickstarter is a developer kit, but there’s already a wide range of content for the device, because AntVR made the MIX headset compatible with SteamVR games. The company said that you could play any game that features a black skybox backdrop. Currently, MIX works with more than 130 SteamVR titles.
AntVR is also offering the MIX headset at an aggressive price compared to its competition. A HoloLens will set you back a few thousand dollars, and Meta sells the Meta 2 dev kits for $1,495. AntVR said the MIX would retail for $649 when it hits the consumer market, but the company is offering deep discounts for Kickstarter backers. “Early Bird” and “Super Early Bird” backers will get the best prices, but all Kickstarter pledges save at least $150 off the retail price. The discounts get better when you add accessories to your purchase.
AntVR said it expects to ship the MIX DK packages in December 2018. The company is looking to raise $50,000 via its Kickstarter campaign, and at the time of publication, it had already raised more than $22,000 towards that goal.
|Product||AntVR MIX Headset|
|Display||Dual CLPL 2.1" Displays|
|Resolution||2400 x 1200|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer|
|Connections||HDMI 1.4, USB 3.0 x 2, stereo 3.5mm headphone jack, Bluetooth|
|Input||3-DoF controller (Touch pad, Menu button, system button, trigger), Integrated Microphone|