Jan 6, 2017
Beijing-based technology company, LYRobotix is bringing a new system to mobile virtual reality (VR) called Nolo VR. Nolo VR utilizes position-based tracking to monitor a user’s movement, much in the same way as Lighthouse does for the HTC Vive (or Guardian for Oculus Rift). Nolo VR plans to add motion control to the mobile VR experience, through its two palm-fitting wand-shaped controllers (typical system configuration shown in Figure below). In addition to improving mobile VR, LYRobotix is partnering with Riftcat’s VRidge software to enable remote play of Steam (Valve’s PC software vendor) VR’s library on a mobile headset.
LYRobotix is not being coy with its Nolo VR controller design. Its motion controllers are very similar in appearance to the wands for the HTC Vive. Given the tech’s ambition to utilize Steam, this makes sense.
The initial idea of remote play is somewhat deceiving. Users will still need a powerful computer to run the VR experiences, and a wire will have be run between the machine and the headset. While this setup will likely help maintain the quality of the experience, it means that Nolo VR is essentially a replacement for only a PC head mounted display (HMD) system. That said, Nolo VR will carry a $99 price tag, which is far lower than comparable systems like the Oculus Rift ($599) or HTC Vive ($799). Nolo faces another obstacle because of the current mobile software – which lacks positional tracking. To overcome this, LYRobotix plans to ship software development kits (SDKs) to mobile developers, allowing them to integrate room-scale into their mobile VR apps.
LYRobotix is not the only company working on positional tracking for mobile VR, Univrses and VicoVR are other notable players. Positional tracking represents a considerable weakness in mobile VR. It is a feature currently only fully supported on PC VR HMDs. LYRobotix is worth keeping an eye on in the VR arena, however, because of its commitment to co-opt the Steam VR library for use with a mobile headset. It is a lofty goal, since the jury is still out on how well PC-based VR will actually run on a smartphone. The price point will give LYRobotix a base, as many mobile VR users will likely be tempted to invest $99 to upgrade their experience. InfoTrends expects more details on this, as well as other VR technology, at this year’s CES convention.
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