Next HTC Vive could add Wi-Fi streaming for untethered VR

HTC Vive
HTC Vive

The HTC Vive may well be the best virtual reality headset currently available, but it comes with one major drawback - its room scale VR experiences are let down a tad by the Vive's trailing wires.

Since it was first shown off, a wire-free version of the Vive has been high on VR gamers' wishlists. And, thanks to a partnership between Vive gurus Valve and Bulgarian company Quark VR, that may soon become a reality.

Quark VR is working alongside Valve to build a HTC Vive prototype that has wireless connectivity, allowing a user to stream data to the headset.

Wires for Wi-Fi

Quark's solution isn't quite fully wire free, however. It's essentially built a Wi-Fi add-on for the Vive, which connects to the existing wires in the headset. The transmitter can then be placed in the player's pocket, doing the heavy lifting that the Vive's cables usually do. You'd no longer need to be tethered to a PC.

However, Wi-Fi isn't yet a perfect solution. VR is a data-heavy application, and Wi-Fi can struggle to keep up. Any connection delay can introduce dreaded lag, which can break virtual reality immersion and cause nausea.

But Quark VR believes it has cracked it, and it is "extremely close to being able to show it in action." It hopes to reveal its work to the public sometime this fall.

For now, wire-free virtual reality is limited to mobile devices such as the Samsung Gear VR. But fresh ideas like the XMG Walker VR backpack, the Alcatel Vision all-in-one viewer and Alienware's nascent attempts all look to answer the same problem Quark VR is approaching.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.