Valve Invests a “Significant Amount” in Company Seeking To Make Desktop VR Wireless

by Will Mason • October 12th, 2016

One of the biggest (literal) obstacles facing desktop VR right now is the cord. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tripped or become tangled up in it while playing some of the more active titles out there. Making VR completely wireless has been an obvious target for VR hardware companies for a while now, but it is a problem without an easy solution. Now, Valve has announced that they have invested in Nitero, a company working on a 60Ghz wireless solution for VR.

Speaking with Sven Mesecke, Nitero’s Co-Founder and Vice President, Valve has invested a “significant amount” in the company – who showed us an early demo of their technology this year at CES. Nitero’s solution for wireless VR involves two key parts, wireless transfer via a 60Ghz transmitter and encoding to help make sure all the image data reaches the headset without dropping latency. According to Mesecke, Nitero’s technology,  “is a robust, low latency, solution that has been crafted for VR.”

One of the biggest obstacles Nitero’s technology faced when we first tried it was losing signal when the transmitters’ lost their line of sight. This issue, Mesecke says, has been solved with “customized beam forming” that will help locate the user, saying that “you no longer need line of sight” for the solution to work.

Back in January the company was aggressively targeting a release by the end of this year, however Mesecke says that timeline has shifted.  As a technology supplier, Nitero does not actually create products to sell to consumers, rather they work with third parties to supply their tech for new products, “it is up to our partners to decide when to release this product.”

Nitero says Valve is not the only partner they are speaking with, including those outside of the headset space. “We are also speaking with 360 camera companies and other peripheral makers,” Mesecke says.

Valve is also not the only one investing in Niteros tech, Mesecke says the company has “a number of other” investors but decline to reveal who they were.

Just last week at Oculus Connect, Oculus’ chief scientist Michael Abrash listed wireless desktop VR as a part of VR’s five year timeline. This announcement from Valve and Nitero seems to add credence that it may be coming even sooner than that.

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