htc vive, vive, intel

This is not the first time we’d see HTC Vive go wireless. A handful of third-party hardware makers, such as TP-Cast, have tried a hand at eliminating the mess of wires and the need for a bulky gaming PC to operate the headset. But, Vive had recently teamed up with leading chipmaker Intel, who’s today showing off its own wireless add-on for the headset.

Called DisplayLink XR, the company first revealed that it is working on this add-on for the headset back at CES’17, which is based on WiGig technology. The prototype Vive headset shown in the image attached above, as you can see, only includes a bunch of wires, required to connect the add-on to the headset itself. There are no wires running down the side of the headset, which will become a norm in a couple years.

Very much like the TPCast wireless add-on, Intel’s mouse-shaped feature-packed add-on also sits on top of your head — atop the Vive’s head strap. The former is more evenly spread and covers your entire head with accessories, packing processing power at its top and the battery at the back. Intel has packed everything within the awkward looking bulge that sits just above your forehead.

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This miniature add-on device may not add to the aesthetics of the headset but packs inside all the core technologies such as the processing unit, graphics unit, RAM, memory, and the battery required to convert your bulky headset into a wireless one. It has already revealed that the transmitter being employed is the PCIe x1 add-in card, which is compatible with almost all PCs.

The add-on uses WiGig to relay data over the 802.11ad WiFi standard and is capable of achieving gigabit speeds on an uncluttered 60GHz spectrum. Intel has mentioned that WiGig technology allows them to achieve a latency of less than 7ms, which is enough to output fluid and seamless VR experiences.

While we already have solutions to convert existing headsets into wireless ones, Intel’s prototype technology could enable it to become a truly wireless solution to provide virtual reality experiences. Since most hands-on experiences with Intel’s add-on are quite positive, we can conclude that no stutter and lag is experienced when you’re immersed in the virtual world. The accessory’s performance is top-notch but we’re still unaware of the pricing of the same.

However, Intel is not the only technology giant working on wireless standalone headsets. Qualcomm, as well as Oculus, have already shown off their reference designs and prototype demos for such virtual reality devices, which come baked in with all technologies necessary for its smooth functioning. This will be a significant upgrade to the desktop VR experience, which required you to stay in one place. Wireless headsets will enable you to walk freely and experience the surroundings.

Img Source: PCGamer

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