Reaching new heights with Varjo


Reaching new heights
with Varjo

State-of-the-art electronics design, smooth and efficient cooperation. This all resulted when Varjo chose Treon to help designing their revolutionary mixed reality headset.

Varjo, a Finnish startup, is leaping the virtual reality experience a decade forward. Their mixed reality headset prototype was announced at Slush 2017.

The idea behind the headset is to enhance display resolution to the level of the human eye, says Chief Technology Officer Klaus Melakari. 

”Our mixed reality headset has two displays per eye, four altogether. The smaller displays have a very high pixel density. The larger displays have a lower pixel density. By tracking your eyes in real time, the high-density display is always at the focus of your vision.”

This technology is called bionic display and it mimics the way how the human eye works. The high-resolution display is performing at a stunning level of 70 megapixels.

Needless to say, the headset is a technically demanding product. Varjo chose Treon to accelerate product development. Treon’s role with the prototype was mainly electronics design on USB and MCU subsystem and power management as well as full board layout.

Treon chief engineer Jari Toivanen admits that designing a board for a product like this is a challenge. Everything begins with mutual trust between the partners. It was a huge benefit that Varjo and Treon have a similar working culture and background. Both are startups and both have people with experience and expertise from Nokia and Microsoft.

”We have a similar way of doing things with Varjo. We share a language we both understand. It’s easy to communicate when everyone is familiar with the terminology.”

While electronics design was the biggest part of Treon’s role, also mechanics design and a wider perspective was needed.

”The people at Treon know a lot about processor systems and USB, which was a positive factor for us”, Melakari says.

”We are able to see the bigger picture, not just the component we are currently working on”, Toivanen adds. 

Tight schedule, good communication   

Jussi Häkkinen, electronics designer at Treon, worked intensively on the project and enjoyed it.

”It has been a very nice experience to work with Varjo. It’s always a dynamic process when we are working on something new. Changes happen along the way and everything happens fast. Good communication was the key to our success”, Häkkinen says.

Juha Pänkälä, electronics engineer at Varjo, confirms this experience.

”Last summer we were thinking who could help us with the prototype of the headset. We had a tight schedule and Treon was up for taking the challenge. We could tell that they share the same passion that we have for the job. Also their efficiency was important.”

So was Treon’s competence.

”We know how to read datasheets and references. We understand how the system works”, Häkkinen says.

The cooperation goes on, particularly in electronics. Treon continues designing more circuit boards for Varjo.

Varjo aims to ship the next round of prototypes for partners in early 2018. 

Fast design 

Jari Toivanen says the companies have been able to share the workload in a very efficient way. One part of Treon’s expertise is the so called fast design, technically speaking.

”The headset has very high clock rates. This demands special knowledge and we have it.”

Toivanen is looking forward to next steps in the cooperation. It’s been exciting to observe the international hype Varjo is generating.

”It’s fascinating to be able to create something new. Varjo is working on a big scale project and a technically demanding product. I love taking technology to the limits.”