There’s no doubt that virtual reality has tremendous potential to change the way we game, consume entertainment and even work, but this new medium has a long way to go before the average person buys into the concept. The most common complaints people have are that the HMDs have to be higher resolution, the computers need to be more powerful and yet more affordable, and probably most importantly, the industry has to figure out a way to cut the cords and go wireless.
It appears as though a company from Bulgaria may have cracked the wireless puzzle. Quark VR, a division of Intugame, announced that it would be showcasing a Wi-Fi-based wireless system for the HTC Vive later this year. The company said it has been working with Valve to create a device that can transmit and receive the signals coming to and from the Vive HMD.
We don’t know much about Quark VR’s solution, but the company said that it created a small transmitter device that you put in your pocket. The Vive plugs into it, and it handles the signal between your PC and the HMD.
The transmitter leverages Wi-Fi for its wireless signal. Quark VR acknowledged that there is a a certain amount of lag when sending VR data over Wi-Fi, but the company said that it is “getting extremely close to be able to show it in action.”
Quark VR didn’t say exactly when it will be demonstrating the wireless solution, but the company has plans to showcase the tether free Vive system later this year. Intel recently showcased a proof of concept wireless system with WiGig, and it used a Rift DK2. Perhaps the days of tether-free VR are closer than we ever expected.
Yes, the headset would need battery packs. it's now powered via the cable. The cable is getting to be more of a problem as more advanced games come out, so this can not come soon enough.
You have to think you're tricking your eyes into movement and the brain-to-eye lag is ~13ms. So, moving your neck, your brain will expect "something" in less than that amount to process and then have a reaction to it. WiFi plus processing will put that north of 50ms, so I don't know if it's a good idea (considering the target of 90FPS translates to ~11ms + WiFi lag of ~35ms).
There would definitely need to be a battery system of some sort. They will probably talk about that when they reveal it later this year.
Valve is involved with this project and is intimately aware of the need for low latency to acheive comfortable VR. It sounds like this company has made some sort of breakthrough that gets around that problem.
Again, we'll know more when Quark VR is ready to talk about it.
I expect it'll be WiFi-like on the same band, but with optimized communications protocols. It only needs to get signals to and from a single device in the same room as the base-station, which removes a lot of complexity. The only issue might be with the FCC for using WiFi frequencies for something that is not quite WiFi.
The wires are an annoyance, and occasionally disrupt game play, so I'd say they are a problem. This is still the best toy and exercise device I've ever owned, but it will be a lot better without wires.
The HMD annoyed me too, becoming uncomfortable pretty quickly, but replacing the straps with welding head-gear solved that part of the problem.