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Nreal and Nio unveil new augmented reality headset

Nreal and Nio unveil new augmented reality headset

  • Chinese Mixed reality hardware manufacturer Nreal and Chinese electric carmaker Nio have released a new Augmented Reality headset for in-car entertainment in e-cars. The headset is known as NIO Air AR Glasses.

The NIO Air AR Glasses were made by the Mixed Reality hardware manufacturer Nreal. Last month, Nreal launched its own equivalent AR glasses, the Nreal Air, in China. The Nio Air Glasses can project a 130-inch screen from an approximate distance of 4 meters and they also support 3D display.

Nreal is keen on dominating the augmented reality glasses market with its fashionable and slimmer AR headsets. The company launched its first mobile consumer augmented reality headset, the Nreal Light, last year. The Nreal Light has a fairly small form factor compared to erstwhile AR headsets and comes very close to the company’s ideal vision of AR glasses.

The NIO Air AR glasses, produced in cooperation with Nreal, have been specifically designed for e-cars.

The cooperation between Nreal and NIO isn’t pricing given that last fall, NIO invested money in Nreal’s last funding round which netted the company $100 million. Following the investment, the Chinese mixed reality company was valued at $700 million. NIO makes e-cars and competes against the market giant Tesla.

During his announcement of the multi-million investment last year, Nreal boss Chi XU stated that he wants to launch in the Chinese market in 2022. He also talked about the huge potential Nreal’s collaboration with NIO portended for the company. Adding augmented reality glasses to e-cars would be an interesting application scenario.

The NIO Air AR Glasses headset has likely been adapted from Nreal’s Air smart glasses. The AR glasses have been designed for entertainment use-cases due to their ability to project a 130-inch TV screen when viewed from a distance of 12 feet. The Nreal Augmented Reality headset is only usable in combination with NIO’s AR platform PanoCinema.

The PanoCinema platform is exclusive to the e-car manufacturer’s current car models like the Nio ET7 or ES7. The Nio Air AR headset is, therefore, not usable outside the e-car.

Inside the car, the headset is connected to the vehicle’s built-in entertainment system. NIO will give its customers 260 films, all in Dolby Atmos quality along with 200 3D films. The entertainment library will be expanded continuously.

The NIO Air AR headset is controlled through an “Air Smart Ring.” This smart ring is a finger ring with a touchpad and is used to navigate inside the NIO Air headset.

The Air Smart Ring was designed by the Chinese company Nolo which builds virtual reality and augmented reality devices.

This is the second time that Nreal is partnering with NIO. In late 2021, the e-car maker unveiled its ET5 Sedan which was described as a “VR and AR native” e-car that was kitted with a Nolo virtual reality headset and a Nreal augmented reality headset

NIO customers in China will get access to the NIO Air AR Glasses which likely cost about $300. In the beginning, the augmented reality headset will be limited to only 800 units. 500 units will be for NIO’s ET7, ES7, and the ET5 models while 300 units will be for the company’s ES8, ES6, and EC6 models.

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