October 26, 2018

Five for Friday: Different realities

Finnish innovation lets you choose your own reality.
Finnish innovation lets you choose your own reality.
Julia Bushueva

Whether it’s virtual, augmented or cross, these Finnish firms are all offering a fresh perspective on reality.

A VR/XR headset offering human-eye resolution. A solution for education, engineering and mobile technologies. A pair of glasses from a sci-fi film. A virtual reality Downward Spiral. A range of AR experiences for large spaces, such as shopping centres and other retail venues. All Finnish solutions. All different realities.

Varjo

This company’s VR/XR headset is capable of visualising images at a human-eye resolution of 70 megapixels and boasts a field of view spanning 100 degrees, much wider than any first-generation headset. Industries such as automotive, engineering, aerospace, architecture, construction, industrial design and real-world training simulations are set to benefit after the company closed a 31 million-US dollar funding round.

“Until we met Varjo’s visionary founders and experienced their superior product first-hand, we thought that VR was still at least 10 years away from being truly useful for professionals,” stated Niklas Zennström, from round-leading Atomico.

Leonidas

VR and AR represent huge opportunities for Finnish expertise in education, engineering and mobile technologies, according to this company. A case in point: its VR application which combines 360-degree video and gamification to teach youngsters traffic rules. Once the VR goggles have been donned, the youngsters ‘learn by doing’ as they seemingly bike about in a real city.

“The response from kids has been they much prefer this to studying from a book,” co-founder Harri Lammi said, with no small understatement. “The experience combines a real environment with guidance. The kids can safely try out different scenarios and receive instant feedback.”

Dispelix

The stylish augmented reality glasses of sci-fi films are still far removed from the bulky eyewear of today, but this startup might just have the technology to bring the future a little closer. It has developed a see-through display technology which brings high-resolution visual information directly into the user’s field of vision. These full-colour displays can be easily integrated into any lens design and turn even ordinary eyewear into immersive AR glasses.

“Our displays bring another world, a virtual image layer, on top of the real world,” explained Antti Sunnari, CEO and co-founder. “This can be used for instructions, information and entertainment.”

3rd Eye Studios

This company is leading an upward trajectory with its so-called Downward Spiral series. Here, players find themselves in a tense, zero-gravity space environment, accompanied by a soundtrack composed by Ville Valo of defunct Finnish love metal band HIM. Downward Spiral: Horus Station was released last month.

Founded by industry veterans from Remedy, Bugbear, Moon Studios, RedLynx and Unity, the studio has set out to shake up the world of VR gaming.

“We want to make big waves in the VR industry, so concentrating on just one of these things would not be enough,” explained co-founder Arja Johansson. “This company was founded because all of us are super excited about VR. We saw so much untapped potential that there was no other option than to quit our safe jobs and found 3rd Eye Studios.”

Immersal

Despite the comical tone of its press releases, Immersal’s product is serious business. The company develops AR experiences for large spaces, such as shopping centres and other retail venues. A customer can look for shops, restaurants, products and additional product information, as well as tempting offers or collectable points inside a shopping complex, using his or her own mobile device and Immersal’s app. All this spells improved shopping experiences and, hence, opportunities for boosting revenue – and saving money.

“Ads and real-time offers can hang in midair, and the app acts like a clerk, explaining where things are and giving more information about products,” CEO Jufo Peltomaa told us earlier this year. “A customer looking for tinfoil can find it in two seconds instead of having to get lost and frustrated in a hypermarket. Who knew it’d be in the paper product section?”

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