DigiLens has introduced a compelling new product for the AR market with its light-weight, industrial-grade ARGO headset—one which I imagine fills an essential hole for low-profile, standalone AR glasses.
Many individuals shall be extra acquainted with DigiLens as a prime supplier of optical waveguides for AR glasses. The corporate is on the third era of its Crystal30 waveguides and first-generation of its Crystal50 waveguides, which have 30- and 50-degree fields of view, respectively.
The corporate has met with loads of success with its present merchandise. Final 12 months, DigiLens closed a $50 million Collection D Rround of funding. Traders in that spherical included Corning, Samsung, Dolby Household Ventures, and different notable enterprise arms. DigiLens additionally counts notable XR corporations comparable to Sony, Panasonic, Niantic and Continental amongst its early-stage traders.
The DigiLens staff is stocked with specialists from throughout the XR panorama who’ve seen many alternative phases of the trade and know what does and doesn’t work. DigiLens CEO Chris Pickett comes from a wealthy background in photonics and IP licensing. Advertising and marketing Vice President Brian Hamilton was a cofounder of the profitable enterprise-assisted actuality firm RealWear, whereas Vice President and GM of product Nima Shams was an govt at XR pioneer ODG.
The ARGO headset is a whole cellular enterprise answer with an built-in Snapdragon XR2 chipset—and, as you’d count on, the newest waveguide and projection know-how from DigiLens. The Argo serves as a showpiece for DigiLens’ new 30-degree field-of-view waveguides, which boast 85% see-through and over 2,500 nits to the consumer’s eye utilizing LCOS and an LED gentle engine with an HD show.
I not too long ago had an opportunity to put on the ARGO and work together with others carrying it, and the 85% see-through quantity is not any joke; it’s almost inconceivable to see any sort of gentle in entrance of a consumer’s eyes such as you’d sometimes see on most AR glasses. I additionally seen barely any rainbowing from gentle sources, which is an enormous enchancment over different standalone AR headsets just like the Hololens 2 from Microsoft, which has gotten somewhat lengthy within the tooth since its introduction virtually 4 years in the past. The ARGO additionally has a removable body, which is designed for upgrading, simple servicing and customization throughout totally different makes use of.
Like a lot of its opponents, the ARGO options 6-DoF (levels of freedom) monitoring, which is achieved by way of two wide-angle cameras and one high-resolution 48MP RGB digital camera. The 48MP high-res digital camera has autofocus, OIS and EIS, in addition to pixel binning for wonderful low-light efficiency—all of which make it nice for taking footage and streaming video. The ARGO additionally options 5 beam-forming microphones for extremely correct audio, in addition to a number of audio system for spatial audio.
The ARGO can be a connectivity powerhouse. It helps GNSS location companies, together with GPS, Glonass, Beidou and Galileo. The ARGO additionally helps Wi-Fi 6E MIMO and 4G LTE by way of a sensible head-strap (out there sooner or later), with 5G additionally an choice. The headset makes use of each USB-C 3.1 for information and energy, but it surely additionally has a 6 watt-hour battery or hot-swappable batteries for longer periods aiming for round two hours per battery on typical utilization. DigiLens claims that the ARGO is already industrial- and military-grade with IP65 certification and compliant with MIL-STD-810H and ANSI Z87.1 eye security specs. For good measure, it additionally has an elective aforementioned head strap and face masks. The varied connectivity, energy and ruggedness choices imply that ARGO could be very versatile for industrial makes use of, indoors and out.
Relating to software program, the ARGO runs DigiLens’ AOSP Android 12 working system—dubbed DigiOS—which is appropriate with OpenXR, WebXR and shortly to be with Snapdragon Areas. DigiLens ARGO additionally has an always-on voice SDK for help throughout a number of languages; that is designed to assist allow a hands-free and physique position-independent expertise using each voice and gaze recognition. DigiLens has additionally inbuilt a glove- and weather-compatible click-and-scroll wheel for situations the place utilizing voice and gaze may not make sense. As a result of the ARGO operates hands-free, there may be additionally hand monitoring in addition to a gesture UI, which one would count on to be appropriate with Snapdragon Areas and OpenXR.
DigiLens will allow its APIs for Android in order that builders can construct customized purposes, and the OS will replace over-the-air for each software program builds and safety updates. DigiLens packs all of this into a light-weight headset with a goal launch weight of lower than 185 grams, which is significantly lighter than most opponents, making it way more engaging for all-day use. DigiLens says the ARGO is already transport to its early entry Visualize Program prospects however shall be in full manufacturing by the tip of the quarter. Pricing is lower than Hololens and Magic Leap and shall be paired with options from the channel and ISVs which bundle software program and companies with the headset, which is why pricing will differ.
The enterprise AR market
The AR market was initially positioned as a client play, with corporations like Magic Leap and Google promising the universe and failing to ship it. These failures precipitated a pivot to the enterprise house early on for the trade, with Google making the pivot a lot sooner than Magic Leap. Certainly, Magic Leap’s pivot in direction of industrial and enterprise purposes got here as too little too late for the corporate, and it’s nonetheless struggling to persuade corporations that it’s a viable companion to work with long-term. In the meantime, Microsoft’s AR play with Hololens was all the time enterprise-focused, but it surely suffered quite a few setbacks and general stagnation that additionally undermined its progress. The corporate has cut up the Hololens division in half, and it hasn’t refreshed the Hololens 2 in virtually 4 years, leaving it with an outdated design.
With that background in thoughts, we will see that DigiLens shouldn’t be launching the ARGO right into a vacuum; loads of corporations are already enjoying on this house. Apart from Magic Leap and Microsoft, Newcomer Lynx-R1 may very well be a possible competitor within the house, particularly because it begins to ship its earliest Kickstarter headsets (together with one for yours actually), however I imagine that the Lynx-R1 should still be too giant for a lot of industrial AR purposes the place peripheral imaginative and prescient is important for security.
Apple’s upcoming headset might also be a competitor, but it surely nonetheless appears like it’s going to nonetheless be geared in direction of customers, regardless that the value is anticipated to be excessive. Thirdeye additionally gives Thirdeye X2 MR glasses, which characteristic a significantly much less highly effective Snapdragon XR1 chip and a 1280 x 720 decision.
On this context, DigiLens is positioning the ARGO as an enterprise and industrial-lite employee gadget, which suggests many front-line staff would possibly want an extra gentle carry from AR. There are a lot of totally different verticals that DigiLens is claiming to go after, most of whom fall inside the typical suspects of enterprise AR purposes: building, regulation enforcement and different first responders, training, logistics, leisure, manufacturing, meals and beverage, healthcare, telecom, protection, and transportation.
I imagine DigiLens is launching the ARGO at an fascinating second within the AR market, when the trade has cut up into two camps. One camp is made up of corporations doing their very own factor and launching AR merchandise at any time when they’re able to ship, albeit ideally earlier than Apple’s imminent entry into the market; the opposite camp contains corporations hoping to answer no matter Apple does with its first AR/MR headset. I additionally suppose it’s essential to know that the DigiLens ARGO seemingly won’t compete with Apple’s headset, on condition that most individuals count on Apple to ship a prosumer-grade headset for leisure, gaming and a few gentle productiveness. I might be extra comfy evaluating Meta’s Quest Professional and HTC’s XR Elite headsets to Apple’s upcoming headset, however I’m certain some individuals will nonetheless attempt to make the comparability with the ARGO.
I imagine that DigiLens has a compelling product on its fingers with the ARGO. It virtually serves as a teaser to its opponents and potential prospects that in the event that they actually just like the ARGO’s waveguides or gentle engines, then DigiLens will fortunately promote both answer to them. Within the meantime, the corporate is clearly making an attempt to fill a niche inside the trade for light-weight and low-profile standalone AR glasses; it will make it all of the extra fascinating to see what different options emerge within the subsequent 12 months.
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