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June 8, 2021

Saab to integrate Varjo XR-3 headsets into all Gripen E/F simulators

The partnership between Saab and Varjo has expanded to bring VR to flight simulators.

Saab and Finnish virtual reality (VR) technologies provider Varjo Technologies have partnered to integrate XR-3 headsets into all Gripen E/F fighter simulators.

Varjo has developed a human eye resolution mixed reality (XR) technology that recreates the precise feeling and conditions of real life.

The XR-3 headset features 12-megapixel, low-latency video pass-through technology, human-eye resolution Bionic Display, pixel-perfect depth awareness, integrated eye tracking (200 Hz) and built-in Ultraleap (v5) hand tracking and inside-out tracking (beta).

It offers the industry’s highest resolution of 70ppd and widest field of view of 115°.

Saab Tactical Environment Simulation and Visualisation head Stefan Furenbäck said: “When we did our first experiments with commercial devices, we received feedback from the pilots that they were unable to read text in virtual reality because the resolution was not sufficiently high. This was not a problem with Varjo’s technology.”

According to the companies, pilot training requires trainees to be capable of reading text and seeing even the smallest details.

When using the simulator, pilots need to feel as if they are flying in the real world.

Saab noted that conventional dome simulators have a flat screen and three-dimensional (3D) view can only be seen using special glasses.

Varjo’s virtual headsets feature a built-in 3D functionality and have separate screens for each eye.

To constantly capture the surroundings for the purposes of XR, Varjo’s technology uses video cameras.

With the XR technology, the high-resolution image comes from the focal point, allowing powerful gaming computers to be used to operate the technology rather than supercomputers.

Furenbäck added: “We’re finalising the basic functionalities in our own simulator so that we can use Varjo’s XR-3 headsets in all our flight simulators.

“We’ve previously carried out smaller, independent prototype-like projects but now we’re integrating them into our actual flight simulators.”

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