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Nov 17, 2016 07:00 AM EST

Wireless Virtual Reality Headsets By MIT; Opening VR Applications Beyond Gaming [VIDEO]

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A group of MIT researchers were able to develop a wireless virtual reality headset that addresses issues on limited mobility and high incidence of accidents brought by handsets with cables. This new technology can provide gamers a more realistic experience, but more than that opens up various applications in education, forensic or medicine.

Virtual reality gaming has grown in an unprecedented manner because it provides gamers a different kind of experience that feels like the real thing. However, this experience is still limited due to the cables attached to the handsets that can restrict movement. There are many occasions that gamers even trip on the cables and exposing themselves to injuries and accidents.

Researchers have long been tinkering with the VR handsets in order to resolve these issues. The most practical solution was to put an entire computer in a backpack to allow continuous streaming of high resolution data into the headsets. However, even the best solution still has its issues that can hamper an immersive virtual reality experience.

Cables will always be a part of handsets because wireless technology like in the WiFi is incapable of supporting advance data streaming. The primary obstacle is in sustaining 6 Gbps while the handset wearer is continuously moving.

The only way to stream that much data wirelessly is to use "millimeter waves" or mmWaves, which are higher band in spectrum as compared to WiFi. The only catch is that the signal is easily blocked by even the smallest obstacle like a hand waved in front of the headset as reported in New Scientist. For mmWaves to work, there should always be a straight unobstructed line between the transmitter and the receiver.

This is where the MIT researchers come in, with their breakthrough "MoVR," which is a system that enables the streaming of huge amounts of data to a virtual reality headset without tethering these to computers as reported by MIT News. Researchers at the MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) developed the MoVR to serve as a programmable mirror that will send signals of incoming mmWaves and then reconfigures it to relay back to the receiver.

The technology offers potential applications not only for gaming, but even for education, forensics and even medicine. It can be used to simulate a host of virtual classrooms, help in simulating crime scenes or can even be used in various health campaigns. Evidently, the wireless virtual reality handsets will have an array of potential uses that can have positive impact on people's lives.

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