AjnaLens– a Mumbai-based startup- is showcasing its Mixed Reality (MR) headset called the AjnaXR at the ongoing CES show in Las Vegas. The MR headset puts focus on learning and training with the company hoping to target more enterprises and educational institutes with its device. The startup– which has won the CES Innovation Award as an honoree– has previously designed Augmented Reality (AR) headsets for the Indian army as well.
“These glasses can be used to virtually experience complex scenarios, especially those where training employees can be a challenge. We are trying to create a realistic scenario for industry, education, and even to help for training for soft skills using our device and platform,” Abhishek Tomar, Chief Technology Officer, at AjnaLens told indianexpress.com over a call.
The headset comes with support eye and hand tracking, 5K resolution, and is lightweight at 390 grams. It is powered by Qualcomm’s own XR2 chipset, which is designed for AR and VR headsets, and runs the company’s own AjnaVidya learning platform.
“We made our products for the military first, where these kinds of equipment are used for a long-time, which helped us in learning and understanding how to build these headsets. So we have focused on the weight of the product to ensure it is a comfortable fit. It is also designed to ensure that those who wear spectacles can use it comfortably for long hours,” Tomar pointed out.
Tomar, who started this company with his co-founders Pankaj Raut (CEO) and Abhijit Patil (CFO) in 2014, explained that learning in the phygital– a phrase often used to describe a mix of the real and virtual world–has a lot more benefits and advantages, especially in more complicated scenarios.
He gave the example of operating complex machinery where learning is better and faster when one visualises it. Other examples include mining and automobile companies where the margin for error is less than zero and often employees have to be trained regularly to ensure they are up to date with operating heavy machinery. Further, training with Mixed Reality headsets can significantly bring down the costs.
In fact, the company already is helping enterprises such as TATA Technologies, L&T, Vedanta and others. These are scenarios where hand and eye coordination is critical and stimulating it in an MR or virtual reality (VR) scenario ensures better results.
The product is also being used for helping train with soft skills such as speaking and engaging. For example, pharma companies are exploring the company’s systems to understand how sales representatives can do better by stimulating and creating virtual scenarios where they engage with a doctor.
The company is also trying to build an ecosystem for its product, which will be critical in ensuring more mass appeal. Eventually, the goal is to reach end consumers and to encourage any kind of learning be it cooking or baking or even meditation.
But Tomar admitted that such headsets are yet to gain mass acceptance, though he is confident that the pace will continue to grow. “The tech challenge will be there, of course. All the work done on smartphones is also going to help this future technology. Glasses need a lot of sensors and other components which are still in process. The journey is still challenging but it will be faster compared to previous technology evolutions that we have seen,” he said.
For now, the price of the AjnaXR is yet to be finalised. But the product is expected to cost around Rs 1 lakh or above.