Industrial giant Siemens invests in a start-up that's creating 'human-eye resolution' virtual reality

  • Siemens' global venture arm has invested in Finnish start-up Varjo.
  • The German manufacturer joined a funding round in the company which raised $31 million.
  • Varjo is developing its virtual reality product with global firms Volkswagen, Audi and Airbus.
KaPe Schmidt | Getty Images

German manufacturer Siemens has invested in a start-up developing a ground-breaking virtual reality (VR) system for heavy industry.

Finnish company Varjo Technologies announced Monday that it had secured $31 million in a funding round, which included Siemens's global venture arm Next47.

The investment round was led by London-based venture capital firm Atomico and brought Varjo's total funds raised up to $46 million.

Helsinki-based Varjo is bringing to market an industrial grade headset that will allow users to see VR in the same resolution as the human eye, which the company claims will transform work in design-driven industries such as architecture, engineering and aerospace.

While the headset is not due to launch until later this year, the start-up is already collaborating with global firms such as Airbus, Volkswagen, Audi and Volvo to optimize the headset for their business needs.

"We hope that the impact of our hardware and software platform on industry will be as profound as the introduction of the Graphical User Interface," said Varjo co-founder and CEO Urho Konttori in a statement Monday. "We're extremely proud to welcome Atomico and industry icon Siemens to our mission of launching a new era of immersive computing for professionals."

Jan Pflueger, coordinator of the Center of Competence for Augmented and Virtual Reality at Audi, said the new technology would help tackle the daily challenge of decision-making in product development processes.

"Supporting virtual development means delivering the highest available quality to enable reliable decisions," he noted in the press release. "Varjo's technology is convincing and will help us to close the existing gaps and speed up our development cycles using the advantages of a continuous virtual process."

Varjo's VR headset will launch in the latter part of the fourth quarter, with a mixed reality add-on due in the first half of 2019.