Wireless Rift and Vive Add-On KwikVR Set To Debut At CES

by Jamie Feltham • January 1st, 2017

TPCAST’s wireless add-on kit for the HTC Vive has a new rival that’s promising to cut the cord on both HTC’s headset and the Oculus Rift.

KwikVR from 3D cloud solutions company Scalable Graphics is set to debut at CES 2017 in Las Vegas next week as the latest device to try and remove the troublesome wire that connects your headset to the PC running what’s showing inside. The kit consists of a small box that connects to your Rift or ViveĀ and is then worn on the user, perhaps attached to a belt. A USB dongle plugs into your PC and a Wi-Fi router connects to your network adapter. The system works over 5 GHz Wi-Fi and apparently offers native resolution for each headset.

An official site for the device claims to offer “100% compatibility” with both of the major PC-based headsets without the need to modify them. The trailer above only shows it being played on the HTC Vive, however. It also states that latency introduced is “guaranteed” to be under 12 milliseconds, though it sounds like this is in addition to existing latency from the headset itself. We’re yet to go hands-on with the kit for ourselves, and no release information has been provided at this time.

The box apparently weighs around 1 pound, and sports a four hour battery life (TPCAST is said to offer either 2 or 5 hours depending on the size of battery you buy). As for the lengthy wires that your Rift and Vive already sport? The footage shows them tied up and dangling from the user’s back. It doesn’t seem like the most elegant solution, though it’s possible the company will be showing an updated version when next week’s show rolls around.

We’re still skeptical about how viable wireless add-on kits will be for the PC VR market, though we were definitely impressed with TPCAST’s solution when we tried it for ourselves a few weeks back. We’re as eager as anyone to get access to high-fidelity, position-tracked wireless VR, but augmenting existing headsets with third-party add-ons definitely seems like more of a workaround than a true solution.

But KwikVR and TPCAST are far from alone in their quest to make desktop VR wireless. In October we reported that Valve invested a “significant amount” in Nitero, a company currently working on its own wireless desktop solution, while QuarkVR is also working on a wireless prototype for the Vive. While headset makers race to improve the second generation of their products, it looks like we can depend on others to incrementally refine the experiences we’re getting now, though each still has a lot to prove.

We’ll look to bring you a report on KwikVR during the show next week.

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What's your reaction?
  • wheeler

    Just curious, why don’t you consider the add-ons true solutions? Ideally wouldn’t we have the HMDs, controllers, and tracking all be decoupled so competition could be maximized and consumers would have lots of choice? (with open standards tying everything together). So why not the wireless solution too? Sure, for the dude that just wants to play CoD VR or whatever and not think, the defaults will be just fine. But I think what you’ll see is that the companies specializing in peripherals will be ahead of those offering “complete solutions” (as they are now) and could thus be considered “truer” solutions.

    Frankly I hate the idea that we need to commit to “corporation X”‘s peripherals (or god forbid their old ecosystem) and I don’t see why anyone would want that limitation. So often when I hear people discussing the VR market they seem to look to the console world as some sort of ideal to strive for, but for me that couldn’t be further from the truth.

    • purdy44

      Completely agree. They were pretty impressed with the TPCast kit, so why are they still calling it a short-term solution/bandaid? These headsets are not like iPhones where you can buy a new and improved model every year and have the cost subsidized by a wireless carrier. I’m not going to go out and buy a new Vive headset every year because of tiny improvements; they’re just too expensive. In Canada the Vive is around $1200. I’m sure the next iteration will have wireless capabilities, but I’m not dropping another grand every single year. I will, however, spend a few hundred on a wireless kit and enjoy my current setup for the foreseeable future.

      • Petr Legkov

        well see, the next version of the Vive or Oculus will potentially not only have wireless build in, but the other specs will be improved, too! So its not like you will have the choice to buy a new Vive just to avoid add-ons. It will be itself a better device, hopefully. And lets be clear, i don’t think neither oculus nor vive will long term be happy with external hardware, they will either imbued those add-ons or develop something themselves.

    • MR Not Dux OSAR

      Add-ons are awesome. Works great for the PC market.
      Wear a belt or a vest that works like picatinny rails.
      Sounds like a long time solution for heavy cutting edge gear.

    • Uncle

      I can think of couple reasons:

      1.If its add-on by same company it will be cheaper than 3rd party, they have production lines, they know how many units they sold so they know how many to make (not just a few) etc. (Also if they make it build in, it will be even cheaper and work better than external add-on)

      2. Optimization, 3rd party cant optimize to the same level as original manufacturer that know every detail of the hardware, every bug that might be secret etc
      3. Quality, ill give you popular example take console controllers, even the ones that cost double RARELY achieve the same quality as original Sony, MS controls in both longevity and feel.
      4. Customer support: 3rd party can abandon you with many reasons, the original manufacturer will have to support you until official end of life or until they go bankrupt, its much easier for 3rd party to abandon a product, especially if its one product company small start up that just sell THIS accessory or Kickstarter

      Im sure there are more reason

  • MetroDetroitGaming

    I like turtles

  • NooYawker

    12ms seems very slow.