16.11.16

MIT changes the rules of VR with wireless system

MIT MoVR

VR is meant to transport you to another world but the restriction of being tethered by a cable can bring users quickly down to earth. In an effort to produce truly immersive experiences MIT has proposed a wireless system that can process data well enough for VR applications and importantly does not use compression.

The prototype, called MoVR, was developed by researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), led by MIT professor Dina Katabi. It can be used with any VR headset and was tested on an HTC Vive. 

MoVR enables untethered communication at a rate of multiple Gbps, or billions of bits per second. The system uses high-frequency radio signals called “millimeter waves” (mmWaves) that are also tipped for use in 5G smartphones.

In a statement on the MIT website, Katabi said: “The ability to use a cordless headset really deepens the immersive experience of virtual reality and opens up a range of other applications.”

One challenge the team have been faced with is mmWaves do not work well with obstacles or reflections. In response they developed a programmable mirror to detect the incoming mmWave signal and reconfigure it to reflect toward the receiver on the headset. 

A paper on the topic has been published by Katabi and PhD candidate Omid Abari