This VR headset will measure a user's brain activity

VR headset with brain sensors on it.
(Image credit: OpenBCI)

What if a VR headset did more than just hold your virtual business meeting in a rainforest with goofy avatars? What if while you're in the metaverse, uh, metaversing, your VR headset was capable of scanning your brain and body for valuable information? That's what Brooklyn-based neurotech company, OpenBCI, is hoping to do in the open beta of its new VR headset.

The Varjo Aero is a pro-grade VR and XR (extended reality) headset that claims to be the "world's first device that simultaneously measures the user's heart, skin, muscles, eyes, and brain." The headset will work on the Galea, a software and hardware platform that uses brain-computer interfacing technology to work on head-mounted displays. 

At a glance, the Varjo Aero looks like a typical wireless VR headset, but the Galea version of the headset adds a series of dry, soft-polymer EEG electrodes along with a headband and facepad. All designed to collect all sorts of information about your body when you use the headset that is fed to the Galea software. 

Vargo says all the sensors "dramatically simplifies the process of collecting tightly-synchronized data from the body and unlocks new techniques for anyone looking to objectively measure user experiences and cognitive states."

OpenBCI is hoping developers can use the SDKs for the Galea-powered headsets to work on various applications from gaming to medical fields with Varjo Aero's ability to gather biometric data. In theory, this will let developers do things like see heart-rate spike during a scary bit of a horror game or brain activity during a puzzle game. 

"Ultimately, I see the combination of neurotechnology and mixed reality as the future of personal computers," says CEO of OpenBCI, Conor Russomanno. "We've been watching carefully as neuroscience, BCI, and consumer technology have converged over the past several years." 

The Varjo Aero is available for pre-order right now for $1990. If you're looking to embrace a full-on mixed reality experience, Varjo sells the XR-3 for almost $6,000 which comes outfitted with a high-quality camera. 

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Jorge Jimenez
Hardware writer, Human Pop-Tart

Jorge is a hardware writer from the enchanted lands of New Jersey. When he's not filling the office with the smell of Pop-Tarts, he's reviewing all sorts of gaming hardware, from laptops with the latest mobile GPUs to gaming chairs with built-in back massagers. He's been covering games and tech for over ten years and has written for Dualshockers, WCCFtech, Tom's Guide, and a bunch of other places on the world wide web.