June 15, 2017

Intel Brings Wireless To The HTC Vive


One of the problems that many people have with VR headsets - and possibly one of the main barriers to market uptake - is the fact that it requires wires and cables to connect to the computer, games console or other unit that is feeding it.

We’re a long way from achieving the level of miniaturization that would make such units self-contained. But there is an alternative: wireless. To some extent, this problem has already been addressed by a wireless accessory for the HTC Vive by TPCast, that sells for $250. It has enough power for about 90 minutes, but there were some minor synchronization issues.

Now however, another contender has entered the fray: Intel. They have developed a wireless add-on with DisplayLink that they showcased at E3. Using WiGig technology, which is based on the 802.11ad standard, it has a latency of less than 7ms. Moreover, as the 60GHz spectrum is as yet not very crowded, it can easily reach gigabit speeds.

Intel announced development of the product at CES and then at Computex they announced a partnership with HTC. At the design level, the Intel add-on is placed on top of the Vive’s headstrap.

While it may appear to add weight and bulk to the headset, it actually serves as a counterweight to the Vive itself. Also, the final product is quite likely to be smaller. In tests, the Intel add-on showed no human-noticeable latency in the way that the TPCast system did. And the absence of an umbilical cord felt like veritable liberation.

As long as Intel is able to work successfully on reducing the size of the final product, this add-on shows every promise as a potential market winner. However, there are so far no announcements on price or release date. Whenever it comes out, it will have to compete with the impending wireless version of the Oculus Rift - codenamed: Santa Cruz. So far the Santa Cruz is also still in the prototype stage.

We at bestVR.tech will keep you informed.

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