Lynx Shipping Additional R-1 Mixed Reality Headsets Soon, CEO Details “excruciating” Fundraising Environment

French startup Lynx hasn’t had an easy time of getting headsets out the door, much less funding its small hardware startup, which is dedicated to producing its R-1 mixed reality standalone. There seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel though, as Lynx CEO Stan Larroque announced that a batch of R-1 headsets should be shipping out soon.

Larroque details the plan to distribute an additional 400 units between July and August in a recent Kickstarter update, noting that the units were assembled earlier but were delayed due to financial issues with the assembler Compal.

While those issues have now been resolved and those headsets are set to ship, Larroque details what he calls an “excruciating” last 12 months, which he maintains isn’t related to the headset itself, but rather the tough fundraising environment for XR hardware in Europe.

“We were supposed to close a 30M€ deal at the end of April, term sheet signed and everything. And it didn’t happened [sic] because the European investor didn’t really have the money and lied to us. This was almost a death sentence, it’s the worst thing that can happen to a startup,” Larroque says.

Reeling from the admitted near death sentence, the company suffered another setback with a French public fund:

“Another one is a French public fund lying to us in their will to commit to our company. They took more than 6 months to do a due diligence, we spent hundreds of hours on the case with them (they were supposed to commit 15M€). They issued a [letter of intent] in July 2023. All that to realize they were badmouthing about us behind our backs to other potential co-investors. A VC shared those emails with me and it depressed me so much.”

Lynx announced some additional positive news. In the update, Larroque says the company is now collaborating with a “big financial US partner,” and remains optimistic about its product and roadmap, noting there is significant interest in defense, industrial, and medical sectors.

The company has attracted additional funding outside of R-1’s successful Kickstarter campaign from late 2021, which brought in $800,000 in crowd funds. In 2019, prior to the Kickstarter, Lynx secured a seed round of $2 million. According to data obtained by Crunchbase, its most recent Series A secured in 2022 from Somnium Space, bringing to the startup $4 million, making for a total of $6.8 million in funding to date.

Similar to Meta Quest 3 or Apple Vision Pro, Lynx R-1 provides mixed reality experiences thanks to its passthrough sensors and onboard Snapdragon XR2 chipset, although the company hopes to make it a more open and versatile device.

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Meta Releases New Mixed Reality Showcase for Unreal Engine Developers

Meta released a new mixed reality showcase for Unreal Engine developers that ought to help kickstart some Quest projects that use your room in fresh and interesting ways.

Phanto for Unreal, an open source port of the previously released Phanto project for Unity, was recently launched for Unreal Engine 5.3.

In Phanto, players combat ghostly foes invading their surroundings with various weapons. While it presents a slice of some fun and visually interesting gameplay, regular users can’t download it through either the Quest Store or SideQuest—at least not for now.

Instead, it was built to showcase best practices for Meta’s Presence Platform features for mixed reality, including things like Scene Mesh, Passthrough, and Depth API.

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Much like the open source Unity demo Cryptic Cabinet from Meta and veteran XR studio Magnopus, the Phanto for Unreal Engine reference app includes a number of recommended practices for doing things like content placement using Scene API, immersive mesh collisions with Scene Mesh, air and ground navigation for characters utilizing Scene Mesh and NavMesh, and optimizations like Application Spacewarp and Depth API for enhanced performance and realism.

Granted, users can download Cryptic Cabinet, as well Meta’s other mixed reality reference app Discover—both of which are available through App Lab—so maybe the company will publish it there too eventually, if only for the curious non-developers out there who don’t want to go through the hassle of compiling and loading the game on Quest manually.

However, if you are looking to use Phanto for Unreal Engine to build your own mixed reality experience on Quest, check out the project’s full source code and assets over at GitHub.

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‘Starship Home’ Turns Your Room into a Flying Alien Plant Sanctuary, Coming to Quest 3 This Year

VR studio and label Creature announced Starship Home, a plant-filled mixed reality adventure that turns your living room into a spacecraft on a mission to save alien flora.

Coming exclusively to Quest 3 this Fall, the team dropped Starship Home’s first teaser trailer today, showing off just how the mixed reality game works.

In it, we get a look at the virtual windows, control panels, and other components, which are placed strategically around your room to make it feel like you’ve blasted off into space.

“Travel from planet to planet collecting plant clippings, and decorate your home with weird and wonderful alien foliage. Plants aren’t just for decoration – they’ll allow you to unlock interactive ‘dreams’ that show off mixed reality to its full potential,” the studio says.

As you’re tending your garden, players travel through hyperspace between planets, gathering alien plants needing care, receive transmissions from friendly aliens, and unravel the mystery of what the studio calls “a sinister blight that threatens plant life across the galaxy.”

Starship Home features include:

  • Interactive Setup: Create a personalized, cosy starship environment
  • Hyperspace Travel: Explore a diverse galaxy using an interactive star chart
  • Plant Healing: Care for and revive plants through wondrous dream sequences
  • Ambient Orchestra: Nurture happy plants to create evolving musical soundscapes
  • Mixed Reality Interaction: Engage with virtual interfaces in the physical world

While Starship Home is Creature’s first immersive experience, the studio was founded in January 2023 by industry veterans; it was founded by Doug North Cook in partnership with Abbey Cooper, Chris Hanney, Mark Schramm, Ashley Pinnick and Rose Gerber.

Development on Starship Home is headed by Lead Engineer Mark Schramm (SUPERHOT VR, Gravity Lab), Art Director Ashley Pinnick (Tilt Brush, Slimeball), and Creative Director Doug North Cook (former head of VR at Robot Teddy where he worked on Among Us VR, No More Rainbows, and The Last Clockwinder).

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Former Oculus CTO “unconvinced” Mixed Reality Apps Will Sell Headsets (like Quest 3)

Less than 48 hours after Meta fully unveiled Quest 3, John Carmack, legendary programmer and former CTO of Oculus, expressed doubts about mixed reality’s ability to increase headset sales.

Carmack departed Meta late last year, concluding what he called at the time his “decade in VR.” Still, it’s clear the key cohort in Oculus’ genesis story has a lot to offer when it comes to all things XR.

While Carmack doesn’t mention Quest 3 by name, it’s fairly clear he’s talking about Meta’s first consumer mixed reality headset, having tweeted a message of skepticism about the headset-selling power of MR apps:

“I remain unconvinced that mixed reality applications are any kind of an engine for increasing headset sales. High quality pass through is great, but I just don’t see applications built around integrating rendering with your real world environment as any kind of a killer app. I consider it interesting and challenging technology looking for a justification. The power of VR is to replace your environment with something much better, not to hang a virtual screen in your real environment. In all the highly produced videos demonstrating the MR future, the environments are always stylish, clean, and spacious. That is not representative of the real world user base. There is certainly some value in the efforts, but I have always thought there was much more low hanging fruit to be grabbed first.”

Photo by Road to VR

In a follow-up tweet, Carmack maintains he’s not criticizing the future of augmented reality, but rather how MR-capable VR headsets are being served up today:

“I am specifically talking about MR in todays [sic] VR headsets. The magical, all-day wear, full FOV AR headsets of people’s dreams would be great, but they don’t exist, even in labs with billions of dollars.”

Meta announced relatively few MR games for Quest 3 at its full unveiling last week, emphasizing that 50+ new VR games are coming by the end of this year, many of which will feature “MR features” of some sort.

Still, increasing headset sales to rival Quest 2 ought to be a big focus for Meta, as the company revealed at Connect 2023 that it had just broken $2 billion in Quest game and app revenue to date.

While impressive, it signifies a dramatic slowing of content sales over the past year, putting Quest 3 in the metaphorical hot seat to continue the upward trend if Meta intends on defending its $4 billion-per quarter investments in its Reality Labs XR division.

Meta Says Quest 3 Will Get More Than 50 New Titles by the End of the Year

At Meta Connect 2023 today, among the avalanche of news we learned Quest 3 is shipping October 10th, accessories are raining from the sky, and there will be “another 50+ titles” coming by year’s end.

Meta says over 100 new and upgraded titles are coming to Quest 3 by year’s end, with over half of them brand new.

Many of those 100+ apps and games are getting some form of “MR features” too, Meta says, which ought to help fill out what so far seems to be a fairly shallow pool of mixed reality content currently. Mixed reality games announced today include multiplayer tabletop battle game BAM! from I-Illusions, a mixed reality mode for Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord, Lego Bricktales and Meta’s First Encounters tutorial app for Quest 3 (we’ll be filling out this list as we learn more). Meta also showed MR modes for Stranger Things VR and Less Mills Body Combat.

Demeo Mixed Reality mode | Image courtesy Meta

While full-color passthrough allows for mixed reality games, Quest 3 is thankfully also backwards compatible with Quest 2’s entire library of over 500+ VR games and apps.

Granted, individual developers will need to push Quest 3-specific updates that overhaul things like texture quality and render resolution to get the most out of the Meta’s latest and greatest.

Its higher-resolution, independent displays and second-gen Snapdragon XR2 (see the full specs here) will also boost Quest 2 content out of the gate though, making what’s there a little sharper and clear, and a little less resource intensive too.

– – — – –

Connect 2023 kicks off today, taking place September 27th and 28th at Meta’s Menlo Park headquarters. There’s been a ton of news already, so make sure to follow along with Connect for all of the latest XR stuff from Meta.

Epic Games is “exploring native Unreal Engine support” for Apple Vision Pro

Unity, makers of the popular game engine, announced earlier this week it’s getting ready to levy some pretty significant fees on developers, causing many to rethink whether it makes more sense to actually go with the main competition, Unreal Engine from Epic Games. It seems Epic isn’t wasting any time to help transition those creating projects for Apple Vision Pro.

According to Victor Lerp, Unreal Engine XR Product Specialist at Epic Games, the company is now “exploring native Unreal Engine support for Apple Vision Pro,” the upcoming mixed reality headset due to launch in early 2024.

Lerp says it’s still early days though, noting that it’s “too early for us to share details on the extent of support or timelines.”

Lerp posted the statement on Unreal Engine’s XR development forum. You can read it in full below, courtesy of Alex Coulombe, CEO of the XR creative studio Agile Lens:


During Vision Pro’s unveiling at WWDC in June, Apple prominently showcased native Unity support in its upcoming XR operating system, visionOS. Unity began offering beta access to its visionOS-supported engine shortly afterwards, making it feel like something of a ‘bait and switch’ for developers already creating new games, or porting existing titles to Vision Pro.

As explained by Axios, Unity’s new plan will require users of its free tier of development services to pay the company $0.20 per installation once their game hits thresholds of both 200,000 downloads and earns $200,000 in revenue. Subscribers to Unity Pro, which costs $2,000 a year, have a different fee structure that scales downwards in proportion to the number of installs. What constitutes an ‘install’ is still fairly nebulous at this point despite follow-up clarifications from Unity. Whatever the case, the change is set to go into effect starting on January 1st, 2024.

In the meantime, the proposed Unity price increase has caused many small to medium-size teams to reflect on whether to make the switch to the admittedly more complicated Unreal Engine, or pursue other game engines entirely. A majority of XR game studios fit into that category, which (among many other scenarios) could hobble teams as they look to replicate free-to-play success stories like Gorilla Tag, which generated over $26 million in revenue when it hit the Quest Store late last year.

Meta is Reportedly Partnering with LG to Create Apple Vision Pro Competitor

Meta is reportedly teaming up with South Korean tech giant LG Electronics to offer up competition to the Apple’s forthcoming Vision Pro mixed reality headset, which is slated to arrive sometime in 2024.

South Korea’s Maekyung (Korean) is reporting on two new Meta headsets: a low-cost Quest model that will be priced at “less than $200” coming in 2024, and a high-priced model in a joint venture with LG in 2025, which is supposedly set to take on Apple Vision Pro.

The report maintains the name of the Meta/LG headset will be ‘Meta Quest 4 Pro’.

Mass production of the so-called Quest 4 Pro is allegedly being handled by LG Electronics, and LG Display, with LG Innotek and LG Energy Solution supplying parts.

Provided the report is true, it seems some very distinct battle lines are being drawn. Samsung announced earlier this year that it was working with Qualcomm and Google to develop an Android-powered XR device, which may also be positioned to compete against Apple and Meta.

This Quest Pro Game Recreates Sword Art Online’s Lovably Bad User Interface

Looking to immerse yourself into Sword Art Online (SAO)? While there are plenty of VR games that offer the sort of massive multiplayer immersion fans of the manga and anime series have craved over the years, a game built for Quest Pro and Quest 2 has recreated probably the best/worst part of the series: its lovably bad user interface (UI).

Called Subspace Hunter, the SideQuest-only game is essentially in very early access at this point. The demo lets you spawn a certain number of swords, magic, guns, and thirteen monsters, developer XuKing Studio explains on the game’s SideQuest page.

The cheap and cheerful demo (it’s free) is unabashedly inspired by SAO through and through, even including a one-handed sword very similar to protagonist Kirito’s Dark Repulser blade. YouTuber ‘GingasVR’ shows off the demo in action:

While the low poly baddies aren’t anything to write home about, it’s the loyal adherence to Sword Art Online’s lovably obtuse UI that brings it all together, making it feel strangely more immersive than it might without it—and that’s despite the likelihood no professional XR developer in their right minds would design such a system for real-time battle.

In case you didn’t catch the video above, to select a weapon you don’t just pull out a virtual backpack, or reach over your shoulder like in many other VR games. Instead, you need to bring up the menu with a sweeping two-finger swiping gesture, select through three different 2D submenus, and then physically confirm your selection. Although that’s no more complicated than ordering through a fastfood kiosk, it’s not really the best system for immersive, real-time action games. Thankfully, you can control when monsters spawn, otherwise you probably wouldn’t have enough time to muck about.

That’s probably why we don’t see these sorts of dense 2D menus in modern VR games. But then again, it was never designed for any sort of game in the first place, since the anime aired in 2012 well before the Oculus Rift DK1 even arrived on Kickstarter backers’ doorsteps. By now though, the industry has mostly figured that 2D menus generally feel pretty bad to use in VR, making SAO’s fictional UI feel distinctly like a holdover from the gaming days of yore (think turn-based RPGs).

As it is, fiction typically does a pretty poor job across the board of predicting how UI actually evolves. Film and TV oftentimes prioritize large, overly complex movements and cluttered UI elements that just don’t really translate to real life. Tom Cruise’s cybergloves in Minority Report (2002) are a shining example.


You don’t see platform holders or individual games copying Minority Report not because it doesn’t look cool, but because it introduces unnecessary friction. It’s both tiring in the long term and unintuitive to new users in the short term—two things developers really have to pay attention to if they want players returning to their game or app. It’s basically the same thing for SAO, albeit on a smaller scale.

To be clear, this isn’t a dump on Subspace Hunter. The melee-focused MR demo offers SAO fans a very nice slice of immersion which is baked into a suitably pint-sized package. Critically, Subspace Hunter isn’t overreaching with promises of a VRMMOPRG the scale and depth of SAO eitherwhich is probably where such a system might wear out its welcome. Whatever the case, there’s something stupidly charming about those sweeping hand motions, and the fitful hunt-and-pecking of 2D menus.

It seems like the studio has some very real ambitions to develop Subspace Hunter further, and you’re not going to have threaten me with the risk of explosive brain death to play either. I’ll just play.

Google Reportedly Shelves Multi-year ‘Project Iris’ AR Glasses

Google has reportedly shelved a multi-year project that sought to commercialize an AR headset, known as Project Iris.

According to Business Insider, Google shut down Project Iris earlier this year following mass restructuring, which included layoffs, reshuffles, and the departure of Clay Bavor, Google’s head of AR and VR. The report, which hasn’t been substantiated by Google, cites “three people familiar with the matter.”

According to a report from The Verge earlier this year that first mentioned Project Iris, around 300 people were purportedly working on the headset, which was said to expand by “hundreds more” as production ramped up.

At the time, the prototype was said to be a standalone, ski goggle-like headset providing onboard power, computing, and outward-facing cameras for world sensing capabilities—similar in description and function to headsets like HoloLens or Magic Leap. Project Iris was said to ship as early as 2024.

Two unnamed Google employees told Business Insider the company could actually resurrect Project Iris at some point, as teams experimenting with AR tech haven’t been completely disbanded. Still, it seems its Samsung XR headset partnership and AR software development has become the main focus.

Samsung Future, Daydream Past

With its own in-house hardware allegedly no longer in the picture, moving forward Google is set to focus on the software side of AR, which also includes an Android XR platform it could license to OEM partners. Google is now developing such a platform for Samsung’s upcoming XR headset announced in February, as well as an alleged “micro XR” platform for XR glasses, which is said to use a prototyping platform known internally as “Betty.”

Google is pretty well known for shelving projects all the time for a variety of reasons, so it’s not a big surprise that an expensive hardware project is getting iced during an economic downturn. It’s also possible the company saw the writing on the wall from its earlier VR hardware projects, which were early to the competition, but not persistent enough to stick around.

In 2016, the company’s Daydream VR platform was positioned to compete with Meta’s (then Facebook’s) own mobile VR offering, Samsung Gear VR. Headed by Bavor, the company looked to replicate Samsung/Meta’s strategy of certifying smartphones to work with a dedicated Daydream View headset shell and controller. Google certified a wide swath of smartphones to work on Daydream, including Pixel, LG, Asus, Huawei, and even a number of Gear VR-compatible Samsung phones.

And Google’s ambitions were, let’s say, very big. At its I/O 2016 unveiling, senior product manager Brahim Elbouchikhi said on stage that Google intended to capture “hundreds of millions of users using Daydream devices.” No modern VR headset platform has reached that number of users even today, with Meta likely leading with the sale of nearly 20 million Quest headsets between 2019 and early 2023.

Lenovo Mirage Solo | Photo by Road to VR

Despite big ambitions to own the space early on, Gear VR became the clear winner in the nascent mobile VR market. Undeterred, Google broadened its horizons in 2017 to open its Daydream platform to one of the first truly standalone VR headsets—or rather a single standalone headset—the Lenovo Mirage Solo standalone, which awkwardly mashed up 6DOF positional tracking with a single 3DOF controller. Lenovo Mirage Solo was a real head-scratcher, as its room-scale content was hobbled by a single remote-style controller, which critically wasn’t tracked in 3D space.

In the end, Google shuttered the entire Daydream platform in 2019 because it couldn’t attract enough developer support. On the outside, that makes it seem like Google lost the VR race entirely, but a majority of standalone headsets on the market today run on top of a modified version of Android. Granted, that standalone VR content revenue isn’t flowing into Google’s coffers since it doesn’t control the individual storefronts like it might with a VR version of Google Play.

But that could change with its new Samsung/Qualcomm partnership, representing a fresh opportunity for Google to finally stake a claim in the mounting mixed reality (MR) race.

MR Headsets Walk, AR Headsets Run

MR headsets are virtual reality headsets that use color passthrough cameras to offer up an augmented reality view, letting you do VR things like play games in a fully immersive environment in addition to using passthrough to shoot zombies in your living room, or watch a giant virtual TV in your real-life bathroom (for optimal user comfort).

It’s still early days for MR headsets. While devices like Meta Quest Pro ($1,000) and Apple’s recently unveiled Vision Pro ($3,500) are likely to appeal to prosumers and enterprise due to their high price points, there’s a mounting battle for consumer eyeballs too. Provided that still-under-wraps Samsung XR headset can land at a digestible price for consumers, its brand name cache and patented global reach may serve up strong competition to Meta’s upcoming Quest 3 MR headset, due in September at $500.

Apple Vision Pro | Image courtesy Apple

Price speculation aside, the companies that launch MR headsets today will be better positioned to launch all-day AR headsets in the future. Platform holders like Meta are using their MR headsets today as test beds to see what AR content consumers find most compelling. Apple will be doing just that when it launches Vision Pro in 2024 at arguably an even deeper level, as the Cupertino tech giant seems to be deemphasizing VR stuff entirely.

Whatever the case, Google’s decision to reportedly shelve Project Iris means it’ll be more reliant on OEMs in the near term, and its first volley with that Android-supported Samsung XR headset will reveal the size of its ambitions. It’s a strategy that could work out in its favor as it critically gauges when, if ever to resurrect its own Google-built AR glasses.

Meta Quest 3 Revealed: Coming This Fall Starting at $499

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the company’s next XR headset today, Quest 3. The mixed reality headset is launching this fall for the starting price of $499.

Only a few hours before the big Quest Gaming Showcase scheduled for later today, Zuckerberg showed the first look at Meta Quest 3, a standalone headset that he calls “[t]he first mainstream headset with high-res color mixed reality.”

The headset is said to be 40% thinner and “more comfortable,” the Meta chief wrote today in a Facebook post.

Image courtesy Meta

“Better displays and resolution. Next gen Qualcomm chipset with 2x the graphics performance. Our most powerful headset yet.” Quest 3 is coming with what the company calls its “highest resolution display yet” and pancake optics.

The headset is due to arrive with dual 4MP RGB color cameras, a depth sensor for a more accurate representation of your play space, and “10x more pixels in Passthrough compared to Quest 2,” Meta says.

Another big change from Quest 2 (or Quest Pro for that matter) is the newly named ‘Touch Plus’ controllers, which Meta says were completely redesigned with a more streamlined and ergonomic form factor.

Image courtesy Meta

“Thanks to our advances in tracking technology, we’ve dropped the outer tracking rings so the controllers feel like a more natural extension of your hands and take up less space. We also included TruTouch haptics that first debuted in Touch Pro to help you feel the action like never before. You can even upgrade to our fully self-tracked Meta Quest Touch Pro Controllers for a premium experience,” the company says.

Quest 3 is slated to arrive at some point this fall, starting at $499 for a 128GB variant of the headset; the company says a variant with an additional storage option is coming too. Notably, like the company’s most recent enthusiast-grade headset, Quest Pro, Quest 3 will be compatible with the entire Quest 2 library of games.

It appears a more extensive reveal is scheduled for the company’s Connect developer conference, slated to take place on September 27th. In the meantime, you can signup here for email updates.

Check out the reveal trailer below:

This story is breaking. Check back for more in-depth coverage soon.