French startup Lynx today launched the long-awaited Kickstarter campaign for Lynx R-1, a standalone headset capable of both VR and passthrough AR. It’s looking to grab some eyeballs too with more of a consumer-focused price, starting at $615 (€530).
Lynx R-1 features the same Qualcomm XR2 chipset as Oculus Quest 2 and HTC Vive Focus 3, and like those two it’s also based on a heavily modified version of Android. Plug it into a VR-capable computer, and the creators say you’ll be able to play SteamVR content too when it launches next year. Jump to the Kickstarter here if you already know what’s up.
For everyone else: what sets it apart though is it’s tuned from the ground-up to play full VR games and do both passthrough augmented reality, making it a mixed reality headset by definition. Another hardware quirk: it also features a novel optic called a “four-fold catadioptric freeform prism,” which is said to slim down the size of Lynx R-1 seemingly beyond what current Fresnel-style lenses have achieved. More on specs below.
Lynx is hoping to appeal to a pretty wide swath of would-be backers, as it offers both a Professional Edition starting at €950 (~$1,100) and a consumer-oriented version at €530 (~$615).
A Limited Edition version is also available for €745 (~$840), which features a fully transparent faceplate. Only 1,000 of those are being made available through the campaign, so get ’em while they’re hot.
Initially started as an enterprise-focused company, Lynx R-1 Professional Edition offers few things over the consumer version; with that tier, you can resell the headset and also receive pro-level support from Lynx. All headsets—save the €4,999 tier where backers can meet the team and receive a signed model a month early—are slated to ship in April 2022.
All versions are also coming with a 1m USB-C cable, USB-C Charger, VR facial interface for a more immersive experience, and fabric headstrap for added comfort.
Since it relies on hand tracking, motion controllers aren’t the ‘out-of-the-box’ control method. CEO Stan Larroque tells Road to VR that its 6DOF controllers are based on Finch Technologies ‘Shift’ controller hardware, something we’ve seen in practice with HTC Vive Focus in the past. Those are available as a separate €100 (~$115) add-on tier via the headset’s Kickstarter.
The campaign is shooting for €300,000 (~$350,000) for its initial funding goal, although we can bet it will go well beyond that if any of the recent VR hardware campaigns from this past year are any indication. Tundra Tracker, a small motion device using the SteamVR tracking standard, managed to net over $1 million back in April, and the Yaw2 motion simulator chair garnered a whopping $2.7 million in June.
Here’s a look at the headset’s specs.
Lynx R-1 Specs
- 1,600 × 1,600 LCD @90Hz per eye, with ultra low-latency Color Passthrough for Augmented Reality
- Qualcomm XR2 chipset with 6GB of RAM and 128GB internal storage
- 6DOF rom-scale
- Optical Hand tracking
- Cameras: 2 B&W for positional, 2 IR cameras for hand tracking, 2 visible light cameras for passthrough
- WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5
- PCVR compatible with SteamVR over WiFi
- SD card slot for up to 1TB of external storage
- Two stereo speakers, 4 microphone array and a 3.5mm Jack TRRS
- Eye Relief: 13mm, Eye-Box: 11mm
- Battery life: estimated 3 hours
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