Monday, August 10, 2020
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Ambitious XR Headset From Walker Industries in Crowdfunding Stage

Prodigy futurist on impassioned plans for a next-generation XR headset.

 

Varjo. Vive. Oculus. Where do you expect the next great XR headset to come from? What about Walker Industries?

Walker Industries is … let’s call it “the startup’s startup.” It’s headed by a 16-year-old futurist, inventor, and self-proclaimed “Kid Tony Stark.” His idea for a next-gen XR headset called the “Vector Gear” is currently in the crowdfunding stage on Indiegogo.

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While that funding campaign still has a ways to go and we’re an estimated month away from a functioning XR headset demo, Walker Industries founder, Herman Remy, reached out to ARPost to talk about his company and his passion.

Meet Herman Remy

One thing is sure, Remy went to a cooler school than I did. He began learning basic coding in 3rd grade and was making electrical circuits in fifth grade, he explained in a recent phone interview. Since then he’s been independently working with creator platforms like Unity and Unreal.

For the last four years, he’s been active on Hackaday.io – social media site for engineers and inventors. Projects that he’s involved with range from a rig to fix your phone screen with a 3D printer to an (as yet in development) “Iron Man suit.”

Of course, many aspects of the classic Iron Man suit are still complete science fiction – particularly the “nanobots” or whatever that showed up in Infinity War. However, one of the most attractive aspects – the AR-based HUD – is right around the corner. And, it’s a project for Walker Industries.

XRUIOS sneak peek
XRUIOS sneak peek

“The first time that I used VR, I was like ‘hey, this is really cool!’ So, I looked up some other headsets and thought ‘none of these actually do quite what we want VR to do’,” Remy explained. “I started making a list of things that I wanted to add on to [an XR headset], like different sensor boards.”

That list eventually became the dream behind the Vector Gear and XRUIOS, its AI-based operating system.

The Vector Gear XR Headset

Like Varjo’s XR-1, the Vector Gear would be a true XR headset in that it would be capable of switching back-and-forth between AR and VR. The self-contained headset would feature dual displays, with ambient light sensors for optimum viewing in any conditions.

“Essentially, the goal is to take everything that you can do in VR into one device,” Remy said in the interview.

Advertising language on the sites suggests that the XR headset is meant for potential all-day wear, despite being a full-sized model.

Right now, the real pride of the device is the custom operating system. Along with other software and plugins, these features are able to be developed without much funding, which is unfortunately caught in a classic catch-22 at the moment: the prototype hasn’t been made because there’s no funding because there’s no prototype.

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“It’s been kind of hard to find funding without a [minimum viable product],” Remy said in the interview.

The website for the Vector Gear agrees, the hardware is stuck on the prototyping stage. This is due to a lack of funding. Besides this, PCBs and Schematics have been made, and a 3D Mockup based on the size of the parts was also designed. Until we get funds for prototyping, we will focus on the addons and software components.”

If all goes well, an MVP will be available this summer and funding can really kick off. The rest of the roadmap is pending.

Innovation Never Sleeps

In our phone interview, Remy revealed a couple of other potential Vector Gear features that didn’t find their way into this article (including a potentially revolutionary audio system). While I’d love to share them, Remy is still navigating the patent process. Hopefully, we’ll stay in touch.

Current Vector Gear functions
Current Vector Gear functions

Whether or when this XR headset gets through funding is less exciting than the idea itself. In designing the Vector Gear, Remy has come up with combinations of technologies not seen in any other designs that I’m aware of. Some of them may seem impossible (for now) but others are tangible innovations that I hope make it to market sooner than later.

Jon Jaehnig
the authorJon Jaehnig
Jon Jaehnig is a freelance writer specializing in Technology and Health. Jon has a degree in Scientific and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University and lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with his wife and cat. If you have a story suggestion for Jon, you may contact him here.