Becoming completely wireless is relevant for many VR systems while for others it is absolutely fundamental because it would represent a breakthrough that leads to mass use. The VR systems that would benefit the most are those that would become portable because of the wireless connection. E.g. traditional PC-based head mounted VR displays would become adoptable for many uses and applications. Game and PC consoles would benefit from becoming wireless too. Also wall displays and tables VR would increase their applicability and versatility with the wireless option. There are nonetheless other aspects that contributes to a success of a VR systems. It is not all about being wireless.
During this last two years VR has been “re-launched” in the technology market and has received renewed focus attracting the interest of main technology providers and media, including SONY, Samsung, Google and Facebook. Great attention has been paid towards new mobile VR headsets based on Smartphones, e.g. Google Cardboard and Samsung GearVR. Those systems have great potential because they are portable while being capable of delivering relatively good power and performance, good visual quality, great sense of immersion and isolation, and as they can be used by anyone with a smartphone, they are accessible to anyone. Mobile VR headsets based on smartphones are wireless already, which is a key issue but not the only one because performance is also key.
- Wireless virtual reality has already taken the first steps but is still waiting for the big leap
The success of smartphone-based mobile VR headsets on the consumer market depends on market adoption. There is great potential because of the advantages these systems can bring to games and remote observation, including telerobotics and telemedicine.
Other than mobile VR headsets, more powerful (tethered) VR headsets have also been further developed and got momentum, with new products like Oculus, HTC Vive and Sony Playstation VR. These systems are the ones looking at the wireless option the most, to give them greater applicability. New wireless upgrades have been announced for Spring/Summer 2017. Beside VR headsets also AR headsets (i.e. providing Augmented Reality views) are looking into becoming wireless. Systems like Microsoft Hololens and Meta-2 could also greatly benefiting from wireless connection.
The main issue with having powerful systems wirelessly connected is today represented by the transport of power and reliance and storage of batteries. Mainly, it is the relatively-limited energy capacity of a light battery system that impairs a wide-spread adoption. A breakthrough in this area surely means a breakthrough in VR systems adoption.