Oculus Introduces Asynchronous Spacewarp 2.0 for Oculus Rift

The tech aims to provide higher-quality VR on lower-spec hardware.

When it came to virtual reality (VR) adoption in 2016 with the launch of Oculus Rift one of the biggest hurdles was PC power, customers having a decent specced computer to run a headset in the first place. Oculus tackled this problem with  Asynchronous Spacewarp (ASW) a technology that could provide higher-quality VR on lower-spec hardware. Now the company has introduced ASW 2.0 to improve those gains even further.

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ASW 2.0 made its debut during Oculus Connect 5 (OC5) last year, detailing how it planned on refining the software. While the original ASW 1.0 did help to improve the VR experience for low-end PC users, it was limited by several factors such as only activating when a head rotates in 3DoF, and because of a lack of depth data, scenarios with checkerboard or lined patterns proved difficult to deal with.

So one of the biggest updates in ASW 2.0 is the addition of depth (6DoF). Oculus has combined it with another technology,  Positional Timewarp (PTW) to increase a PC’s level of prediction. When it comes to patterns ASW 2.0 can use depth data to separate the objects before extrapolating, helping solve reprojection errors.

Another issue ASW 1.0 had was that it struggled when an app dropped below half the native frame rate of a headset. That’s no longer an issue with Oculus stating: “Even at reduced frame rate, ASW 2.0 can maintain an acceptable view in VR, as PTW’s depth-based reprojection works more accurately for lower frame rates than ASW 1.0 extrapolation.”

ASW 2.0 is already available to Oculus Rift users, with apps including Oculus Medium, Red Matter, Robo Recall and Oculus Dash compatible. In fact, all ASW 2.0 needs to function is depth data provided by developers, so if the Dash interface is blended over an app then it’ll be ASW 2.0 compatible – which will be most apps on Oculus Store built on Unreal Engine 4 or Unity. If data isn’t provided then an app will revert to ASW 1.0.

The free update will be great for those who’ve been looking at upgrading their CPU or GPU for a better VR experience but can’t afford the hardware. For further updates from Oculus, keep reading VRFocus.

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