Earlier this week Lynx Mixed Reality, Inc. unveiled a brand new head-mounted display (HMD) going by the name of the LYNX R-1. The device has turned many heads (don’t forgive the pun) purporting to offer a mixed reality (MR) experience far superior to anything currently on the market with a retail price of only $1,500 USD, launching this summer. The company has highlighted that it is working with select developers – though neglected to name which – but for those not yet wrapped-up in exclusivity deals, is it worth considering developing for the LYNX R-1?
Before we cut into the not-yet-knowns – of which there are many – let’s first take a look at the facts. IN addition to the price point and release date for the LYNX R-1, and the fact that you can pre-order now for a refundable $150 deposit, Lynx Mixed Reality, Inc. also unveiled some technical details for the device.
LYNX R-1 Technical Specifications
. Optics – 4-fold catadioptric freeform prism
. Resolution Dual 1600×1600 LCD @90Hz
. FOV/PPD – 90-degrees (circular) / 18 (with super resolution)
. 2 B&W cameras (positional tracking)
. 2 IR cameras (eye tracking)
. 2 visible light cameras (RGB Cameras)
. IMU – Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer
. 2 stereo speakers
. Microphone array (2 channels)
. 6DoF tracking – SLAM with world anchors
. Two-handed, gesture recognition
. Eye-tracking – Low latency tracking
. SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2
. 6 GB LPDDR5
. 128 GB Storage
. Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
. Bluetooth – 5.0
. USB Type-C
. Battery Life – 2 hours
. Passive Cooling
On paper, the LYNX R-1 does appear to be quite the spectacle. However, even the best specifications in the world mean nothing to developers if no one will get to see your creations. As such, there are two very important questions which as of yet have gone unanswered, or even acknowledged.
LYNX R-1 SDK
Say you decided that you wanted to experiment. You have a virtual reality (VR) experience already fairly far through its development cycle and you wanted to play around and see if it would run equally well on a new, different HMD. Typically, presuming you have built the title using Unreal Engine or Unity, the process would simply be to download the appropriate SDK from the hardware manufacturer, install it within your engine and give it a go. Making adjustments where necessary and devising a new control scheme, not to mention a significant degree of optimization, does of course take time, however bringing a title designed for the HTC Vive to a Windows Mixed Reality HMD may not be too much of a stretch. With the LYNX R-1 however, we’re falling at the first hurdle. Where, exactly, can you acquire the SDK? Lynx Mixed Reality, Inc. has not published this information anywhere on the company or the HMD’s websites. In fact, the only point of reference for acquiring such information is to contact a particularly non-descript e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(We did just this, with no response at the time of publication.)
LYNX R-1 Marketplace
So, you’ve contacted Lynx Mixed Reality, Inc. and obtained the SDK. You’ve built out your existing application and optimised for the HMD. Now, where are you going to put your title, and how are consumers going to find it? There’s currently no information on what digital storefront the LYNX R-1 will support. Will it be a Steam-based device? Given the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor and Android OS is likely, so perhaps Google Play? Will it have its own proprietary store (admittedly, far less likely)? Until such questions are answered it’s very difficult to see how Lynx Mixed Reality, Inc. plan on encouraging indie developers to their platform.
On the other hand, of course, maybe they simply don’t. There’s a high possibility that the LYNX R-1 is aimed solely at enterprise customers and thus Lynx Mixed Reality, Inc. intends on offering bespoke support as organisations adapt their hardware and build applications for internal use. With a release due this summer, it won’t be long until we find out, but in the meantime, unlike the Oculus Quest, it’s probably best to hold fire on any changes in your development schedule.
Kevin Joyce has been working with immersive technology since 2013, establishing VRFocus.com as one of the leading AR and VR publications before joining Admix, a non-intrusive advertising platform designed specifically for immersive experiences, as Lead Evangelist.