HTC Vive's room scale virtual reality tracking is amazing – being able to walk around a digital space is incredibly immersive, while the physical movements counteract the nausea that can otherwise come with VR headsets.
But the snaking cabling that tethers a user to a PC is a chore to wrestle with. HTC and VR partners Valve are aware of the limitations this brings, so brought on wireless specialists Quark VR to develop a solution.
As you can see in the video below, that solution is now in a workable state, but it may not be quite as elegant as some may have hoped:
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The Bulgarian company teases a set-up that no longer tethers a user to a PC. But instead, the additional freedom is afforded by a 'middle-man' device.
Quark VR proposes hooking your Vive headset up to a pocket-sized single-board computer, with its own power supply. This can then be kept about your persons, allowing you to wander further than a traditionally-cabled Vive comfortably allows, as well as minimising the risk of tripping.
This mobile computer then transmits and receives its data from your more powerful desktop computer.
This solution isn't, however, the power of a Vive with the form factor of a mobile, smartphone-powered headset like the Gear VR. But it does have a few advantages, namely retaining the power and comfort of the original while offloading the low-latency streaming to a secondary, equally portable device. It also has the benefit of being able to retroactively work with existing Vive gear, rather than requiring a whole new headset.
It's worth noting that the video above is merely teasing progress, rather than being indicative of a finalised product, so it could yet evolve into a more elegant solution. Even at this stage though, Quark VR is bringing us a step closer to the promise of untethered VR.
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