Augmented reality has incredible potential, but some companies aren’t satisfied with the notion of what it is or could be. Outfits like Magic Leap have coined the term “mixed reality” to describe an AR setup so convincing that the two realities, virtual and real, blend seamlessly. Objects don’t drift, they cast realistic shadows, and they even interact with the real world. Your real hand, in view of the camera, can hold and manipulate virtual objects. The latest to jump on the mixed reality bandwagon is Stereolabs, who have officially announced their mixed reality headset, the Linq.
Mixed reality is still decidedly in its infancy, but the Linq is already looking to be a more than solid headset in the thus far tiny range of mixed reality devices. The headset itself is a comfortable, breathable, and well-designed number, but the big kicker is the two cameras on the front, along with the wide viewing range on the internal screens. The two ZED 3D cameras mimic how human eyes work, and the wide viewing range makes things much more immersive, making it easy to really get lost in the action. Without any external sensors, the dual cameras can instantly map out a real-world space with a range up to 20 meters, including identifying moving objects like people and animals, as well as stationary things like tables, doors, and the like.
The Linq headset won’t be released commercially until some time after the middle of 2017, but Stereolabs is planning on opening things up for developers and putting out official dev kits early on in the year. The developer edition of the headset will have to be tied to a compatible computer running Windows or Linux, but the consumer version of the product will reportedly ship with a pocket-friendly brick that will hold everything that the Linq headset needs to work its magic, including a GPU and battery. The final spec sheet for the brick is unannounced for now, but Stereolabs has stated that the Linq will be compatible with content created in both Unreal Engine and Unity, two of the most popular game engines on the market, which are also compatible with the likes of Google’s Daydream VR and Samsung’s Gear VR.