MondlyVR: Start learning new languages in Virtual Reality


MondlyVR is a Virtual Reality application in education for language learning. It is available on Steam and the Oculus Store and compatible with Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest headsets. Undoubtedly, the best way to learn a language is to integrate it into a specific locale. However, the teaching conditions may not guarantee that every class has foreign teachers, and not every student has the chance to communicate with native speakers most of the time. MondlyVR provides an immersive and innovative language learning experience with advanced chatbot and speech recognition technology.

Engaging Design

Gamified learning process

Learning a new language can be tedious and frustrating at times. MondlyVR considers this, and instead of taking the traditional approach of learning a new language through books and courses, it tries to make learning a new language fun through a gamified learning experience to increase engagement. It is well-designed and uses graphics and animation to create a game-like dynamic. After completing lessons and exercises, users earn points to track their winning streak and compare their performance with friends and other users on the MondlyVR leaderboard. It creates a fun, game-like environment and helps maintain momentum and engagement. In most core lessons, visual representations of the words taught help to enhance learning and retention.

Simulated but realistic conversation situations

This virtual immersion tool will place users in a simulated environment. Users are immersed in various situations requiring them to converse with locals, including simulating grocery shopping, booking a flight, checking-in in front of the hotel reception desk, or ordering food at a restaurant. In other words, the app’s goal is to simulate real-life situations of native speakers through VR and let users stay at home but have an immersive experience. In that case, users are more engaged because of the simulated but realistic surroundings.

Well-done Features

Multi-player mode

There is a multi-player mode for users to connect with people worldwide, bringing people together. Users will be automatically assigned to a VR room with up to 11 other participants. Users can socialize and practice the language they want to learn “face-to-face” as if they were in the same room, vastly improving user participation and interactivity. With speech recognition, intelligent suggestions, and real-time translation, MondlyVR will ensure that users don’t get stuck on words they don’t remember and keep their conversations flowing smoothly.

Effective curriculum design

MondlyVR supports various languages and different levels of courses. It offers the option to switch between transliteration and script, which is very useful for learning a new language. Generally, it schedules short (around 10-15 minutes each) but frequent lessons. MondlyVR is designed to be dipped in and out of, and all the progress will be saved for users to come back to. The platform provides users with daily lessons that include sentences and new vocabulary so that users can learn coherently. It gives users their learning feedback immediately. At the end of each class, users can jot down everything they’ve learned. There are also weekly quizzes for users to test their learning outcomes and track their learning progress.

Diversifyed products under Mondly

Besides MondlyVR, Mondly offers other products to provide users with multiple options. The products include Mondly Languages, MondlyAR, Mondly Kids, etc. Mondly Languages is a primary language learning app that integrates chatbot and speech recognition technologies to help users learn any of the 33 languages it offers. MondlyAR takes a scan of the room and will have an avatar “teacher” who brings virtual objects, like animals, musical instruments, planets, etc.—into the study room as teaching tools. It is similar to a classroom lecture, but users can interact with the animations, tapping them on devices or even getting up to walk around and obtain a 360-degree view. Mondly Kids is similar to the main app but designed for toddlers and kids. Mondly Languages and MondlyAR could not provide a learning journey as immersive as MondlyVR. Still, users can apply them on mobile phones or pads when they are not equipped with a VR headset at their sides or do not have a decent space for a VR experience. For example, users can easily use their fragmented time to study during their commuter routine by using their mobile phones. These various products and tools are user-friendly and humanized for users to choose based on their time, location, equipment, and preference.

Mondly Languages

Areas of Improvement

Not applicable for advanced learners

Mondly is a fascinating and helpful application for users to start learning a language. It provides an interactive interface, lively animation, immersive world to give beginners an impressive experience of learning a new language. While it’s easy to dive into the technicalities of the Mondly application, one limitation is it needs to be more diverse in its language lessons. Advanced users (B2 to C2 level) may need suitable grammar topics, appropriate lessons, and vocabulary. Therefore, users who want to find advanced daily lessons must look for other resources to supplement these missing vital factors. The direction for Mondly to improve could be to add more intermediate or advanced courses and content, trying to expand the range of target users.

Same format across all languages

Unlike a platform designed for one specific language, whose functionality is built around particular features of that language, the Mondly system is a template across all languages. It is not a fundamental shortcoming because this standard design is the best way to deliver an effective learning outcome. However, users might get tired of the single format after a while if they learn more than one language simultaneously. In that case, Mondly may consider upgrading the design for different languages to ensure users can have a novel experience even though they are using this application to learn multiple languages simultaneously.


MondlyVR is user-friendly and exciting. I like it and want to recommend it to people who intend to learn a new language for whatever purpose. It’s straightforward to get started. Users will learn words and phrases quickly with the help of well-designed sessions. Besides, it provides an immersive world to bring users into simulated but realistic situations to practice languages. Users can also easily find native speakers to communicate with voice translation. The above solves the environmental limitations of language learning in a significant context and encourages users to concentrate on learning. I am confident that users as language beginners would be able to choose a best-fit product under Mondly company. But if you are an advanced learner, let’s look forward to Mondly’s further progress in the future.


Mondly: Practice languages in VR on Oculus quest. Meta Quest VR Headsets, Accessories & Equipment. (n.d.). Retrieved January 19, 2023, from

Category, M. in N. (2022, December 13). Mondly VR Multiplayer: The future of language learning in virtual reality. Mondly Blog. Retrieved January 19, 2023, from

Mondly VR: Language learning immersion. Mondly. (n.d.). Retrieved January 19, 2023, from

*, N., F, K., & TheThailandLife. (2021, July 8). My personal mondly review – learning thai on premium (2021). The Thailand Life | Award-Winning Thai Blog. Retrieved January 19, 2023, from

Advincula, C. J. (2022, November 21). Mondly review: 7 bona fide features with digital advantages – Ling App. ling. Retrieved January 19, 2023, from

Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, December 2). Mondly. Wikipedia. Retrieved January 19, 2023, from

IKEA Immerse: XR for Online Shopping in a post-pandemic world

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly changed people’s lives around the world. Despite the real-world inconvenience caused by the coronavirus pandemic, applications utilizing XR technology are booming to create convenience and enhance user experience.

In the post-pandemic world, people are reluctant to walk into crowded stores and rather purchase anything they want online. According to Statista, more than 20% of the sales are bound to take place on the internet by 2022. Brands like IKEA were among the first to realize and jump in on the opportunity. They refined their e-commerce side of things to prove an all-around better experience for their customers.

IKEA has created an entire app from the ground up dedicated to XR. The app, called IKEA Immerse, helps users and customers to create, experience, and share their own configurations in a virtual living and kitchen room set.

Why do I like it?

I like this application because IKEA Immerse invites consumers to experience, design, and create in mixed reality. Instead of choosing from what has been provided, we become part of the designers ourselves. We can feel free to design what we want before purchasing.

Why is it engaging?

Enhancing in-store experience

Thanks to XR technology, IKEA Immerse has made it simpler for customers to view and try different furniture before purchasing. Compared with traditional offline shopping, people can more efficiently try different combinations of colors and styles, and customize their preferred lighting and shading.

Social interaction and sharing

With transferable VR equipment, customers could share their instant feelings with friends more conveniently and at a lower cost. In a virtual environment, people could also interact with furniture items through vision, and obtain instant feedback.

Extending the relationship beyond purchase

XR is still playing its role even after purchasing. After-sale service and support can be far more helpful with XR user manuals, instructions, and feature guidance. Instead of having a user interface directly into these physical products, users could engage with their smart refrigerators or ovens via an XR app on their own digital device.

What features are well done and what can be improved?

I think the following features are well-constructed:

  • Photorealistic representation of the physical world. All the real items are projected into the virtual world in a 3D and highly realistic manner. Textures are rendered so well that you can feel no visual difference between viewing and experiencing virtual reality and the offline store.
  • More adaptable and diversified features than the physical world. You can adjust the lighting and shading freely by virtue of real-time rendering, beyond physical limits. Eg, night mode can be chosen during the daytime and you can add more shading without having to draw the curtain.

Meanwhile, I think there is still room for improvement regarding the following features.

  • Adding a sense of touch. When purchasing furniture, both visual and tactile communications are essential for customers. IKEA Immersive has done quite well on vision, but if customers cannot feel if the bed is soft enough, it would definitely affect their purchase decisions merely based on virtual viewing.
  • Making it more trustworthy. For online shopping and remote experiencing, it is easier for sellers to exaggerate their product effects and attract customers in a dishonest way. If IKEA Immersive could prove the authenticity of products and experience shown in XR devices, I believe it will gain them more advantages compared with similar products.


Bring Pokémon to reality, or walk into their world

What is AR?

AR stands for Augmented Reality. It is a technology that superimposes computer-generated images, sounds, or other information over a user’s view of the real world, in order to enhance or augment their perception of it. If we want to catch Pokemons in our real world, we need AR to create those virtual characters. Luckily, Pokémon Go has made this possible for us.

What is Pokemon Go?

Pokemon Go was one of the first mainstream examples of AR technology being used in a mobile game, and helped to popularize the concept of using AR in gaming. The game uses the player’s smartphone camera and GPS location to display Pokemon characters on the screen as if they were in the player’s real-world surroundings. Players can then catch the Pokemon by “throwing” virtual Poke Balls at them.

For me, the story of Pokemon accompanied me throughout my childhood. And The Pokemon Go is the earliest AR technology application I have learned. So let’s go back to 2016 and find out why is this game so engaging?

Why is Pokemon Go engaging?

Pokrmon Go became extremely popular upon its release in 2016, with millions of players worldwide catching Pokemon in their neighborhoods, parks, and other public places. There are many reasons behind its success:

  1. Gamification of reality: The game uses augmented reality technology to superimpose virtual Pokemon characters on the player’s real-world surroundings, which creates a sense of excitement and immersion for players.
  2. Social interaction: The game encourages players to go outside and explore their neighborhoods and communities, providing opportunities for social interaction with other players.
  3. Nostalgia: The game is based on the popular Pokemon franchise which has a large fan base, many of whom grew up playing the original games, watching the anime and collecting the cards. So it brings back childhood memories for many people like me.
  4. Convenience: To catch Pokemon in real life, all you need to do is pick up your phone and use the camera to explore the surrounding scenes
  5. Collecting and Progress: The game has a collecting aspect where players can catch different Pokemon and add them to their collection, this creates a sense of progression and accomplishment for players.
  6. Rewards: The game also rewards players for catching Pokemon, visiting PokeStops, and battling at Gyms, which helps to keep players engaged and motivated to play.

What can be improved?

  1. Gameplay: Some players have complained that the gameplay can become repetitive and lacks depth. Adding more diverse gameplay mechanics and activities could help keep the game interesting for players. We want to see more vivid Pokémon, not Pokémon that only poses with a few fixed actions.
  2. Social features: While the game encourages social interaction, the in-game features that support this are limited. Improving these features, such as the ability to trade Pokemon with other players, would encourage more social play.
  3. Accessibility: Some players have criticized the game for being too physically demanding, as it requires players to walk around to find and catch Pokemon. Improving the accessibility of the game for players with mobility issues, such as providing more PokeStops and Gyms in one area or including more options to play the game from home, could help make the game more inclusive.
  4. AR improvements: Pokemon Go’s AR implementation is not perfect, it can be improved for example by making the Pokemon appear more natural and realistic in the real-world environment, and allowing players to interact with them in more ways.

VR: a way to walk into the game world

Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology that allows users to experience a simulated environment through the use of a headset and other equipment. The user’s movements and actions in the virtual world are tracked and translated into corresponding movements and actions in the simulation. If you have ever imagined entering an exciting game world, like the Pokemon game, then you must not miss the following movie.

What is Ready Player One?

Ready Player One is a science fiction action adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, and released in 2018. The film is based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Ernest Cline. The movie is set in a dystopian future where the majority of the population spend their time in the virtual reality world of the OASIS, a place to escape the real world. The plot centers around a virtual treasure hunt set up by the creator of the OASIS, in which the winner will inherit his fortune and control of the virtual world. The movie deals with themes such as escapism, the impact of technology on society, and the power of virtual reality.

Why is Ready Player One engaging?

One of the main reasons is the visually stunning and immersive special effects used to bring the virtual world of the OASIS to life. The movie does a great job of capturing the feeling of immersion and presence in the virtual world, making audiences feel like they are actually inside the OASIS. And that’s one of the goals of future VR technology.

Many familiar game characters appeared in this movie. The protagonist in the movie uses VR equipment to enter one wonderful game world after another. I think no one can refuse the exciting experience of driving Gundam in the game world. For those who grew up with games, this movie fulfills their desire to enter the real game world.

This movie has also changed people’s views on VR to a certain extent, presenting people with a wild possibility of the future VR world. We know that some of the wildest ideas in sci-fi movies and TV shows are now reality. People also look forward to one day being able to enter the game world in this movie.

What can be improved?

Although the movie shows us a beautiful world built with VR technology, there are still some shortcomings in the plot. Some of the characters in the movie use simple glasses and hand devices to enter the VR world, and some use expensive equipment to get a more realistic experience. They use 360-degree treadmills to play games indoors, and people who can’t afford such equipment can only run on the street, which has also caused some traffic accidents. But if you want to complete the magical movements of the VR characters in the movie, it is not enough to have a treadmill. It’s like when you do a backflip or something like that, you don’t feel comfortable wearing these devices. You want the device to be able to recognize these difficult movements, but the reality is that such a sensitive device will become a burden on you. Especially wired hand and leg motion capture, their presence will hinder the movement. VR devices still take a long time to develop and update if we want to get that kind of future VR experience.

AR, The New Driving Force

Eyelights in action

Introduction to EyeLights

Smartphones have brought us convenience and beneficial impacts, but it has also brought about fatal distractions. Research has shown that 1 out of 4 accidents is due to distractions on the phone while driving. Accidents also negatively affect the environment through the up to 75 million tonnes of C02 emitted by car repairs and car manufacturing. Until the introduction of EyeLights, which utilizes AR to display visualizations of information from a smartphone to prevent any unnecessary distractions from the road. Users are able to view information, such as their speed, arrows to signify the direction to take, indicators that notify that they are too close to another car in front of them as well as other features. As a motor enthusiast myself, I look forward to any technological advancements to better the experience of driving, which explains why EyeLights caught my attention. Though the display that EyeLights provide is nothing compared to Iron Man’s helmet, it still signals the start of the futuristic display design that may be used by future vehicles, which I am all for. Additionally, it makes use of commonly known design language to perform different actions to interact with the connected smartphone such as:

  • Turning on EyeLights: Hold button for 2 seconds
  • Pause/Resume music, receive/hang up calls: Press button once

This design would thus allow for a fuss-free onboarding of new users.

EyeLights’ experience

It presents a high level of engagement as users are able to view the extra layer of virtual information to make decisions in real life, such as making the turn when EyeLights display an arrow to turn the corner. On top of that, users are able to interact with supported functions of the connected smartphone device, such as activating the voice assistant or displaying the map.

However, this would mean that the UI design of the visualization layer has to be iconic enough such that users would understand what the different symbols represent. The reason is because different countries might adopt different road signs and symbols that EyeLights might not have considered (EyeLights is based in France). This could lead to the unintended effect of confusing the new user and might cause a fatal accident.

Therefore, an improvement would be to present tooltips for first-time users to understand all the visual icons of EyeLights so that the visual icons would rather help them than be a distraction. An even better improvement would be to support functions based on the location the user is driving in so that visual cues of EyeLights compliments the road system of the location.

Overall, though some improvements can be made to EyeLights for a more enhanced experience for motorists, it still serves as an effective AR application that could disrupt how road information could be visualized to users, which would soon include car drivers too.


Impact. EyeLights | Affichage tête haute Moto. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2023, from

Mamun. (2022, May 30). Eyelights Eyeride motorcycle helmet user guide. Manuals+. Retrieved January 20, 2023, from

VAR devices blog [CS4240]

VR device: Valve Index

Resolution1440 x 1600
Refresh Rate80, 90, 120 or 144 Hz
Field of ViewAdjustable, up to 130 degrees
Face CushionAffixed to removable face interface, foam covered in anti-microbial microfiber cloth
PriceUS$999 (incl. 2 controllers and 2 base stations); US$499 (headset only)
Battery~6 hours

As an avid gamer, the main use I would find for VR headsets would be of course for games. Hence, after looking through the newest headsets, I thought that the Valve index seems to be the best VR headset currently due to its great hardware specs, comfort, long battery life and high tracking quality.

The index offers excellent resolutions at custom refresh rates, and in particular the 144Hz refresh rates makes pictures crystal clear. This is compared to other headsets that often offer limited refresh rate selections, though perhaps at slightly higher resolutions.

Although somewhat on the heavier side at ~800g without cables, users have given good reviews on its comfort. Reviews included how the head straps distributes weight well over a user’s head, and positive comments were made on how the straps were of high build quality.

On top of this, the index offer a great ~6h battery life, which is more than enough for most average users. Constantly having to bother with charging the battery would be annoying, and in my personal experiences with consoles, having to stop a game mid-way due to dead batteries is the worst feeling.

Lastly, the index comes with what many users have reviewed as the ‘best’ tracking technology. The index offers two base stations that track user movement effectively, along with novel controllers that convey a person’s actions effectively into the games. This allows games like Valve’s half-life:Alyx to truly shine, and offering users an experience other headsets cannot emulate.

That all being said, all this comes at a whooping cost of $999, which compared to the competition, is twice the price. This is likely to be a deal breaker for many people, which is a shame, since the hardware and software makes the Index likely the best headset available on the market right now.

MR device: Microsoft HoloLens

As I personally do not have any experiences with AR devices or their applications, I first sought to find what these devices could do and what some user favorite applications were.

Raptor EverySight, and its cycling application

Interestingly, although the market seemed to be rapidly growing, I did not find any of the popular applications to my personal interest. I would personally use AR glasses for purposes you would use a phone for, such as GPS, calorie counting, routing, and so on, but there did not seem to be readily available apps for such things. There were specific AR devices for things like cycling (which I enjoy), such as the Raptor EverySight, but the application itself seemed very lackluster when I saw it on youtube, especially when one considers the hefty price of US$599.

That said, I do find applications using Microsoft’s HoloLens to be the most interesting compared to its competition. It seems that HoloLens has found great success with industrial manufacturing and healthcare, along with healthcare education.

For manufacturers, HoloLens provides greatly improved guidance, allowing workers to be much more productive. The guided workers are able to have accelerated work processes, increasing productivity by decreasing errors.

For healthcare and healthcare education, the HoloLens provide a level of clarity for both patients and students alike that cannot be emulated through conventional means of communication. Patients are able to use the lens to very effectively see what they are suffering from and what the treatments might entail. For students, they are able to interact in situations that are otherwise dangerous or impossible in a conventional setting, allowing improved understanding and ability.

This is very hopeful for AR applications, because it showcases how good applications with good hardware can effectively improve situations. Both the manufacturing, health and education sectors have shown great numbers of improvement through the use of HoloLens, which may translate to other sectors in due time when proper applications are developed.

Nevertheless, despite the benefits, these HoloLens applications are customized for the manufacturing companies, which makes it less accessible to the average user. This might mean a very long wait time before AR applications could be valuable to the average user, which is rather disappointing considering how long many AR devices have been around for.

VR/MR Headsets Review – HW1

Despite not owning any VR devices, I have used some of the popular devices on the market at exhibition demos, or borrowing them from friends, so I have a pretty good idea of what the ideal VR experience would be like.

SpecsOculus Quest 2HTC Vive ProValve IndexOculus Rift S
Starting price (USD)$299$599$999$399
Screen resolution per eye (pixels)1832 x 19201440 x 16001440 x 16001280 x 1440
Field of view (degrees)90110~130110
Max refresh rate (Hz)909012080
Weight (g)503470809500
TrackingInside outLighthouseLighthouseInside out
Playtime (Battery capacity in hrs)2 to 3
GraphicsSnapdragon XR2PCPCPC
GamesOculus Quest Store (Android-based games)Steam VR & ViveportSteam VROculus Store & Steam VR
ControllersOculus TouchVive ControllersValve Index controllersOculus Touch

Favourite VR Device: Oculus Quest 2

One of the best VR headsets that are currently available which I would love to purchase, would be the Oculus Quest 2. It has a clean white design and built-in speakers which makes it good for portable use. This provides an immersive experience, eliminating the need for external speakers or additional peripherals. Another feature that I really enjoy is that you can set up the playing area and boundaries just by drawing it. Its portable design and quality is what makes its price point worth it.

Oculus also has one of the greatest software support behind it with a store full of amazing games that you can play as a standalone device. The developers make constant updates with the graphics improving and getting crispier every version. Its resolution and refresh rate is also one of the best in VR devices with at 1832 x 1920 and 90Hz as well as 6 degrees of freedom allowing for greater freedom of movement. In a nutshell, these amazing features make it one of the best choices available in the market right now as an all-in-one VR headset.

Favourite MR Headset: Microsoft Hololens 2

Although I do not own a MR Headset, I observed that the Microsoft Hololens is one of the best in the market at the moment. It has well designed ergonomics and looks comfortable to use compared to some of the bulkier headsets in the market. Less bulky headsets will allow for longer hours of use and less intrusive to user experience. Moreover, it also has an impressive 2K resolution of 2048 x 1080 pixels. In terms of environment understanding, it has improved spatial mapping capabilities compared to the first Hololens which means it will be able to operate at a faster rate. This, as well as 4 visible light cameras which means that it is able to track more movements, allowing for more interactivity with the environment.

The Hololens 2 is priced at an extremely high price point of $3500 and reasonably so, as it is targetted for business use. It is hopeful that the price point of future MR devices can be lowered to a comfortable consumer price point.

I am excited to see what the industry has to offer in the future and surely we will see leaps and bounds in the development of VR, AR, and MR technologies in the years to come.

VR and MR Headsets

List of headwear (unranked) I think are great 🙂

  1. Valve Index
  2. Oculus Quest
  3. Sony Playstation VR
  4. Microsoft Hololens 2
  5. Varjo XR-3

Virtual Reality (VR) Headsets

Oculus Quest 2 (Fave)

Oculus Quest 2 is my preferred VR device with its affordable price and ease of use. The Oculus Quest 2 comes with a price tag of 299 USD which is 100 cheaper than the earlier Oculus Quest without any skimping on the specs.


What makes this my preferred VR headset is that it does not require any console, external PC, or screen in order for it to work i.e. standalone. This means no cables and a much less restrictive gaming experience as you are no longer tethered to a PC or another device. Furthermore, no wiring means that the set-up is quick and easy.

The headset and controls are also friendlier looking compared to other headsets where most headsets have a ‘gamer’ aesthetic that may be quite intimidating to new VR users.

Oculus Quest 2 Pre-orders Were Five Times Higher than Original Quest
Quest 2
HTC Vive Virtual Reality System: Electronics
HTC Vive

VR headsets are known to be clunky and heavy on the head which could dampen the VR experience be it through the loss of immersion (being fully aware you have a heavy contraption on your head) or physical pain. It is essential, for me at least, that a gaming headset should not be heavy and it is one of the reasons why I picked Oculus Quest 2 as my preferred VR Headset. Oculus Quest 2 weighs 503 g and is one of the lightest headsets in the market yet does not compromise on performance or specs. A lighter headset makes it easier to turn and move your head without straining your neck or causing the headset to swing and shift.

It should be noted though that according to reviews, the headset is prone to shifting when turning quickly due to less than desirable straps. Purchasing a better strap is recommended to combat this problem.


The headset is battery-powered and lasts about 2 to 2.5 hours which may seem short but it is long enough to accommodate multiple gaming sessions. According to a survey (VR/AR headsets average session time in U.S. 2018 by Arne Holst), most VR gaming sessions take about an average of 38 minutes, so the Oculus Quest 2 can fit about 4 sessions before needing to be recharged.

Weight and Fit


As mentioned, the Oculus Quest 2 does not sacrifice performance for comfort. With 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye, visuals are much sharper and clearer than other headsets in the market. This lends itself well to rendering games a much more believable and immersive experience.

It has a refresh rate of 72Hz currently, but 90Hz support will come in the future. 90Hz is not outstanding but it is far from terrible. It matches up to most standalone headsets in the market and given its price, already makes it a more worthy buy.


The game library for the Oculus Quest 2 is large and includes famous titles like Half-Life: Alyx and Superhot. Since the Oculus Quest 2 can be hooked up to a gaming PC, the headset can be used to play more graphically-intensive games or tethered-exclusive games.

A more controversial feature of the Oculus Quest 2 is that a Facebook account is needed to use the headset and this may be a moral dilemma for those that are more critical of the social media giant.

Augmented Reality (AR) & Mixed Reality (MR) Headsets/Glasses

Given that most MR headsets are way outside the regular consumer’s price range, my choice for most preferred headset is based on specifications.

Varjo-XR3 (Fave)

The Varjo-XR3 is my preferred MR headset based on its interesting set-up for creating high-resolution images and good specs.

Varjo Announces XR-3 and VR-3 Headsets – Specs, Price, Release Date


The Varjo-XR 3 weighs in at 594 g which is one of the heavier MR headsets out there but I feel like that is justified by the impressive specs. In order to counteract the weight, a lot of attention is placed on the design of the straps to properly distribute the weight around the head.


The headset specializes in providing one of the best human-eye resolutions in the market. For each eye, there is a screen consisting of two panels. The first panel has 1920 x 1920 display (71 pixels per degree) located in the user’s center of vision and another panel with a 2880 x 2720 display (30 pixels per degree) on the rest of the screen. This means that when looking straight you get a very sharp, crisp image but your peripheral is slightly less so (but still very good resolution). This is to mimic how the eye actually behaves, where the peripheral vision is not as clear as what you are focusing on.

Varjo Announces XR-3 and VR-3 Headsets – Specs, Price, Release Date
HeadsetMegapixels per-eye
Rift S1.8
Quest 23.5
Reverb G24.7
Varjo XR-3/VR-39.7

The headset has a refresh rate of 90Hz which may not be as high as the price seems to warrant but it matches up with most other headsets in the market. It does however have a very impressive field of view of 115 degrees which is one of the highest amongst the MR headsets in the market.

The Varjo XR-3 has very good passthrough fidelity and Varjo has released a demo showing someone threading a needle while wearing the XR-3.


The software that Varjo XR-3 comes with has native support for Unity, Unreal Engine, and various industrial 3D software, like Autodesk VRED. Right now, it is being used for mainly design-related purposes like visualizing 3D models in real-life which helps cut down production costs and allows for remote working.

The Varjo XR-3 is not targeted towards consumers but instead businesses, hence the steep price. That said, the abilities and features the headset has to offer are a worthy investment for companies concerned with design. After successful iterations, perhaps Varjo might produce something for the regular joe.

Latest XR hardware review

COVID-19 had dominated the year 2020 like no other. Most of the countries were forced to go into a full lockdown to prevent the widespread of that horrible virus. A silver lining here is that online communication tools became the sole viable method to communicate and interact with each other. Thanks to that, applications such as VR Chat gained a lot of popularity. Moreover, to substitute the missing physical presence, virtual reality technologies were used to host ceremony and conferences around the world. For example, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay used a virtual reality solution to host a convocation ceremony.

Unlike the traditional media, to consume XR (extended reality) contents, hardware such as head mount displays or glasses are required. Fortunately, based on my research, there are many options available for various platforms with respective price ranges that fit everyone’s needs. To help fellow enthusiasts, who don’t yet own an XR device and want to experience this amazing technology, I have listed down a few latest VR (virtual reality) and MR (mixed reality) devices that are great in my opinion.

Latest VR devices

DevicePrice (USD)ResolutionRefresh RateFOVAudio
HP Reverb G$5992160×216090 Hz114ºOff-ear speakers
Valve Index$4991440×1600120 Hz130ºOff-ear speakers,
audio jack,
Oculus Quest 2$299 1832×192090 Hz90ºIntegrated stereo speakers, 3.5 mm headphone jack
Oculus Rift S$3991280×144080 Hz110ºIn-line audio speakers
1x 3.5 mm audio jack
HTC Vive Cosmos$6991920×108090 Hz110ºIn-line audio speakers

If I am to buy a VR device right now, I would definitely go for an Oculus Quest 2. Despite being the latest release of the Oculus Quest product line, Oculus Quest 2 is surprisingly affordable with the starting price of only USD 299 for 64GB version, which makes it a no-brainer choice for a starter VR device. On top of that, Occulus Quest 2 is highly portable since it does not have to tether to a VR capable machine to work. It has a high resolution (1832×1920 pixels per eye) and comes with built-in audio speakers. It is also equipped with 2 non-rechargeable touch controllers that provide great comfort for gaming.

Oculus Quest 2

The downsides of Oculus Quest 2 is that you need a Facebook account to use it, and it only has access to a limited number of games on Quest Store right now. However, creating a Facebook account is free and by tethering with a single USB-C cable, Oculus Quest 2 can also function as PCVR which has access to a bigger game library. Although the controllers are not rechargeable, using rechargeable AAA batteries does the trick. All in all, Oculus Quest 2 is a solid choice for both starters and veterans who are looking for an upgrade at the start of 2021.

Latest MR devices

DevicePrice (USD)ResolutionFOV
Magic Leap One$2,2951280×196040º
Microsoft HoloLens 2$3,5002048×108052°
Nreal Light$1,0001920×108052°

Among the listed devices, my perferred choice is Microsoft HoloLens 2. Since it is a successor of the original HoloLens, it has access to the wider range of programs. Having wider field of view than most of the devices, it also support more intuitive gestures that fit around natural interactions used in day-to-day lives; think pinches, pulls and drags, unlike the original HoloLens. Being developed by Microsoft, the developer ecosystem is relatively stronger. Dynamics 365 integrations, just like office 360 integrations, will soon be available too.

Microsoft HoloLens 2

That being said Microsoft HoloLens 2 is very pricy and slightly bulkier than my confort level. It may simply because the target auidence of the devices are industry workers and the benefits for user business seems justify the cost of it. I hope that in the near future more advanced and slimer devices for mixed reality become available.

Latest Device Analysis For VR/AR/MR

As technology develops and advances , the demand and potential in VR/AR/MR increases tremendously. Their sole purpose are no longer just an entertainment tool(e.g games) as they are increasingly being introduced into professional fields. For example, VR has been used for virtual room tour in real estate industry as a solution to overcome the COVID-19 epidemic which caused real-world home tour almost impossible.

According to Chinese), a legal news website run by the State Council, mentioned that between 1 Jan 2020 and 4 March 2020, “about 110” Chinese property companies (mostly small to medium sized) have gone bankrupt in 2020

However, “Beike”, an online Chinese real estate brokerage service, that has found success, as well as survived in COVID-19 period with the help and innovation from VR.

An example of an 3D overall view of a display room in Beike App
An example showing 360 degree VR view of a display room in Beike App

As a result, VR/AR/MR are truly the technology of the future, today.

In this post, i will first state some of the latest VR/AR/MR technologies available in the market and elaborate further on some of the interesting one, as well as my personal picks. Without further ado, let’s begin!

Some of the Latest Technologies


So you may wonder what is CAVE stand for ? Well, it is an acronym that stands for Cave Automatic Virtual Environment.

It is a virtual reality space where the walls, the floor and ceiling, act as giant projection surfaces to create a highly immersive virtual environment. It is composed of several projectors mounted on racks, and directed by Computers with professional graphic cards.

In order to experience CAVE, users will need to equip themselves with stereoscopic glasses and interact with projected visual content. The VR glasses are attached with tracking devices to provide signals to the computer on how to adjust the projected images as users walk around the environment. In details, the perspective is calculated in real time to match the user’s point of view.

One of the advantages that CAVEs have as compared to normal Head Mounted Device (HMD) is that they offer users complete freedom of movement and a greater field of vision.

Another advantage is that it enhances collaboration capabilities with its 1-to-1 display scale. As a result, it is the ideal place to share experience/information to stakeholders, which also leads to enhancement in the decision-making process.

Photo by ST Engineering Antycip

However, VR CAVEs are built and design targeting in the professional fields such as crisis management training and the “CAVE” is just too big and not portable for normal uses.

Oculus Quest 2 (My Preferred VR Choice)

As a result, Oculus Quest 2 that developed by Facebook is my number one choice for VR device.

The price of Quest 2 is reasonable starts at USD$ 299. It is a standalone headset that installed with the highest-end processor, the Snapdragon XR2. It is also a made-for-VR chip which includes some additional features that make it even compatible for VR usages.

Quest 2 has a per-eye resolution of 1832 x 1920(3.5 megapixels) with ‘screen door effect’ removed. This makes the graphic display in Quest 2 feels a bit more real than its previous version (Oculus Quest) and other VR devices.

Explanation: The screen door effect is a mesh-like appearance that occurs where visible gaps between pixels are seen on an electronic screen, usually when viewed at close proximity. 

Quest 2 has hidden integrated speakers that allow audio to emanate from the headband. As a result, user will no longer need to wear an additional headphones to get that maximum immersion from Quest 2.

Last but not least, as mentioned before, Quest 2 is a standalone device, unlike HTC Vive Cosmos(require PC connection to work) and PS VR (require PlayStation 4 to work). Therefore, Quest 2 offers the greatest physical freedom by completely removing the cables and not requiring any external device to handle processing.

Overall, Oculus Quest 2 consist of most of the required features and standard that a user can expected at its reasonable price. Therefore, if i would like to get a VR headset for myself, i probably will go for Oculus Quest 2.

Mojo Vision’s Augmented Reality Contact Lens

In 2020, Mojo Vision has announced their plan to build the world’s first true smart contact lens, called the Mojo Lens. This Mojo Lens consists of the smallest densest dynamic display yet, the world’s most power-efficient image sensor optimised for computer vision, a custom wireless radio , and motion sensors for eye movement tracking and image stabilisation.

The main highlight of the Mojo Lens is the 14K Pixel Per Inch (PPI) display that produce a world-record pixel pitch of over 14000 ppi and a pixel density of over 200Mppi, making it the smallest, densest display ever designed for AR technologies.

In my opinion, this is definitely a huge leap from the current VR/AR/MR technologies. However, such technologies might take some time to mature and get accepted by the public. Since nobody are willing to put something digital into their bare eyes. Nonetheless, i felt that Mojo Vision could plays an important role in advancing and maturing the field of VR/AR/MR technologies.

Nreal Light (My Preferred Choice For MR)

Nreal Light is an affordable MR glass that is light (as the product name shows), fashionable. It is also very comfortable to wear as it comes with 3 types of nose pads, so that user can attach accordingly to the device that fits their nose the most. In my opinion, comfort is an important factor in the design of the MR devices as i believe that one day, everyone will wear it from day to day.

Front view of the device

Moreover, it comes with integrated audio, this also means that it does not requires you to plug in your own set of headphones through an external jack.

It also consist of a feature where user can actually connect glasses to the USB C port of their laptop or computer so that user’s computer will detect the glass as the secondary display and so mirroring the content of user’s PC on the glass is made possible with Nreal.

Of course nothing is prefect and Nreal defintely needs to improve further in future. However, it’s reasonable price and the features. as well as the quality are the main reasons that i picked it as my preferred MR choice. Although Hololens 2 by Microsoft are probably the best MR devices available right now, but it is way too expensive for its price and it is specifically designed for industry use.

Therefore, depending on the purpose of usages, i felt that Nreal Light consist of all necessary functionalities available as well as a fashionable and ergonomic product design, which is why i picked it for my MR choice.


Creating Full Sensory Experience

Extended Reality (XR) is commonly used to refer to all types of VR/AR/MR in the aggregate. While i was researching for such articles from google, i came across an interesting article that mentioned about XR with scent unit.

One example is Vaqso, a Japanese company that created a scent unit that can be used/attached with any head-mounted device(HMD). The device contains five cartridges of pre-mixed scents. Surprisingly, one of their scent collection includes one scent called Zombie. Perhaps i guess it is to fulfil the demand in zombie related VR game out there 😛

The Vaqso scent unit attaches to a VR headset and offers five scent compartments to coordinate with a game experience.
Image © Vaqso

Other than scent, Brooklyn-based start-up company Feelreal has developed a mask unit that not only provides scent, but also vibration, heat, wind, and mist to enhance the user experience.

The Feelreal mask unit shown with four types of VR devices; it clips onto the headset, and connects via Bluetooth.
(Image © Feelreal, Source)

All in all, we can see that virtual reality technology has evolved tremendously throughout the years. We can expect more as future is full of possibility.

I am excited and can’t wait to dive into the future with CS4240 Interaction Design for Virtual and Augmented Reality.

A Quest for the Best VR and MR Devices

Upon being given this assignment, the first question I thought was how was I supposed to give a concrete and accurate review of a headset without owning one myself? Even so, having used several of them in public demonstrations and going through passionate online reviews in hopes of buying one myself eventually, I had an idea of what I would like for my first headset. There are many different kinds of headsets built for different platforms with their own unique features and purposes. For this, there are several categories of specifications that I have considered while choosing my preferred headsets such as, the price, comfort and ease of use, space needs, productivity and performance, as well as how immersive it feels.

VR, AR, MR, we are spoilt for choice in every category.

VR Devices Considered:

There are many kinds of VR headsets that I have considered, the first of which being Google Cardboard due to its cheap price and extreme portability. This made me consider other mobile VR headsets as well such as the Homido and Zeiss VR One. They are one of the most light-weight headsets under the $100 price range and also do not require any space or lengthy procedures to set up which makes it really accessible. However, headsets such as the Google Cardboard have simple but clunky controls, most include turning your head and staring at a button for some time to click it which isn’t exactly the smoothest experience that you can get. As an entry-level headset, it is still a decent choice that requires little commitment and budget.

It also comes with so many different designs and customizations.

Preferred VR Device: Occulus Quest 2

One of the best VR headsets that are currently available which I would love to own, would be the Oculus Quest 2. It has a very beautiful white design and built-in speakers which are really great. This provides a really immersive experience, eliminating the need for external speakers or additional headsets. Its sleek controllers are also one of the best in terms of comfort and battery life, lasting even longer than the headset’s battery itself. Another feature that I really love about the Oculus Quest 2 is that it has no need for external tracking base stations like the Valve Index. You can set up your playing area by just drawing it which makes it really flexible in my opinion. Its weight has also improved from the previous Oculus Quest along with an affordable price tag of USD 299 to 399.

The best parts of Oculus Quest 2 has got to be the fact that it can be used both as a standalone headset as well as a PC VR headset that is accessible using a fiber-optic cable called the Oculus Link which makes it extremely versatile. Occulus also has one of the greatest software support behind it with a store full of amazing games that you can play as a standalone device. The developers make constant updates with the graphics improving and getting crispier every version. Its resolution and refresh rate is also one of the best in VR devices with at 1832 x 1920 and 90Hz as well as 6 degrees of freedom allowing for greater freedom of movement. In a nutshell, these amazing features make it one of the best choices available in the market right now as an all-in-one VR headset.

A clear improvement in graphics from version 1 to version 23 in Occulus Quest 2.

MR Devices Considered:

The GodView 5K Glasses, an impressive name for such a small device and one of the best in terms of design that I have come across. For one, it does not look like you are wearing a huge block on your head but instead more like a pair of sunglasses which is also what the industry strives for as headsets get lighter and less bulky each year. It is also multi-compatible with most devices and claims to sport a 5K high resolution of 5120 x 2880 pixels. In terms of environment tracking however, it is almost non-existent and is more suited for watching a movie on a big TV screen as it is literally just a screen in front of you. In terms of purpose, it would be perfect as an extended screen that you can use on the go. However, after further research, I found out that this device actually has really bad latency and image quality with a blurring effect on the edges of the video. It also has really bad heat problems which makes it bad for long-term use therefore I’ll be passing on this one as it seems like it still needs a lot of improvements and is too early in its development stages.

The God View, great design but still too early in most aspects.

Preferred MR Headset: Microsoft Hololens 2

After seeing multiple demos and reviews of MR headsets, I have to say, the Microsoft Hololens is one of the absolute best as of current. Firstly, it has one of the best ergonomics and looks extremely comfortable to wear compared to some of the bulkier headsets such as the HP MR Headset. This is also one of the most important categories for me when looking for an MR headset, as bulkier headsets will not allow for long hours of use and an immersive user experience. Moreover, it also has an impressive 2K resolution of 2048 x 1080 pixels. In terms of environment understanding, it has improved spatial mapping capabilities compared to the first Hololens which means it will be able to understand at a faster rate. This, as well as 4 visible light cameras which means that it is able to track more movements, allowing for more interactivity with the environment.

Although I believe that the Hololens 2 is one of the best MR devices currently, I still feel that it is slightly too expensive being priced at $3500 and understandably so, as it is targetted at companies, for business use. Other similar devices such as the Magic Leap One also costs at least a few thousand dollars which is why I feel that they still have ways to go before reaching the consumer market.

All in all, I am excited to see what the industry has to offer in the future and surely we will see leaps and bounds in the development of VR, AR, and MR technologies in the years to come.