Virtual reality (VR) as an industry has developed rapidly over the course of the past couple of years, with new hardware, software, videogames and experiences being announced almost hourly, the race to keep up with the rapid technological development is on. For the Vive Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance (VRCA) looking to the future s exactly what they are there to do.
A reporter from Engadget attended a meeting of the VRCA to see what new developments were on the cards for the HTC Vive headset. While the HTC Vive already has the ability to go wireless with the addition of the TPCast wireless adapter, the company is going that extra mile by introducing a new version with upgraded capabilities. The TPCast Business Edition is designed to allow wireless multiplayer VR experiences, so several players can experience VR at once without needs for wires.
Another hardware upgrade that is in the works is an eye-tracking attachment for the Vive, which consists of a pair of sensor rings that clip on to the HTC Vive’s lenses and enable eye-tracking, so the software is aware of where the user is looking at all times. The advantage there is that it will enable a process called foveated rendering, where only the areas that the user is currently looking at are fully rendered, thus reducing the load on the PC hardware and potentially bringing lower-end PCs into the ‘VR-ready’ bracket.
On the software side, the VRCA team have partnered with popular Chinese social platform WeChat to create a system that allows VR users to interact with WeChat mobile users. At the moment, the team are aiming to create a system that can generate an avatar from a selfie, and use speech to text systems so VR users don’t need to attempt to use a keyboard without being able to see what they are typing, or be forced to use a virtual on-screen keyboard.
It is currently unknown if any of these features will make it to a future commercial headset. VRFocus will be there to report on it if and when it happens.