MIT Making Big Improvements to “Untethered” Virtual Reality

One of the biggest problems the first generation of virtual reality (VR) headsets is the wires that are involved with most of the devices.

HTC VIVE

The HTC Vive is the most egregious in this department, with the headset requiring significant wiring that can easily get in the way while trying to move around (and while having a headset attached to your face), and is far from the ideal setup in which to play and pursue virtual reality.

Luckily there are people smarter than you and I working on the problem around the world, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known to us as MIT, who are making great strides in “untethered” virtual reality.

To create the “untethered” experience a group of scientists use a new technology called “MoVR”, which uses high-frequency radio signals called “millimeter waves” (mmWaves) to deliver 6GB of data per second, which is needed to display lag-free VR images.

You can read more about it in detail via MIT News, but the gist is that each MoVR device consists of two directional antennas linked together useing phased arrays, which is used to beam data between the PC and headset.

Successful tests have already been done on the HTC Vive, although the technology itself is nowhere near consumer release as of yet.

Oculus Touch 2

One of the biggest problems facing mmWaves streams is the issue of object interference – someone walking in front of the beam will cut off the signal, which is definitely not ideal. The MIT team is currently working on a solution using a programmable mirror that detects where the data signal is coming from and automatically reorients itself when it loses signal, which is a neat idea.

There are other companies, such as TPCAST, that are also working on similar ideas, but it looks as though the second generation of Virtual Reality headsets won’t be weighed down by those pesky wires, which is a future I am actually quite excited about, because everyone hates getting their wires crossed (pun intended).

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