MIT develops technology for wireless Virtual Reality headsets

Virtual reality headsets are among the most resource hungry consumer technology products around. High resolution, three sixty degrees of video, in binocular vision has to be moved from a computer to the headset, in real-time. This requires a bandwidth of 6Gbps. Such capabilities just do not exist in conventional VR headsets, which require a cord to be connected to a computer. The cord can hamper movement, make people trip during experiences, and can potentially get entangled in an environment with multiple users. The limitation has lead VR developers to come up with cumbersome solutions such as packing in a computer into a backpack.

The Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) team at MIT unveiled a new VR technology called MoVR to tackle the problem. MoVR uses high frequency radio waves called millimetre waves to achieve the data rate required for transmitting VR content. Millimere waves could potentially used for rollout of 5G telecom connections as well. The problem with millimetre waves is that there is an absolute requirement for maintaining a line of sight at all times. Even a hand moving across the line of the signal transmission can disrupt the signal. MIT solved this by programming mirrors that track movement, and reflect the signal from the transmitter to the headset.

MIT professor Dina Katabi says "It’s very exciting to get a step closer to being able to deliver a high-resolution, wireless-VR experience. The ability to use a cordless headset really deepens the immersive experience of virtual reality and opens up a range of other applications."

The system allows for multiple users in the same room to use VR headsets at once. MoVR was tested on an HTC Vive, but could potentially be used with any VR headset. The device consists of two credit card antennas, that can further be miniaturised.

Published Date: Nov 29, 2016 03:36 pm | Updated Date: Nov 29, 2016 03:36 pm