The wireless technologies pioneer, XCOM Labs, demonstrated its untethered virtual and augmented reality system, designed to deliver cinematic-quality imagery to multiple headsets in a room simultaneously without any transmission delays.
The company was founded four years ago by a group of ex-Qualcomm executives, including former CEO Paul Jacobs, former President Derek Aberle, and ex-Chief Technology Officer Matt Grob, aiming to push the performance boundaries of wireless technology.
The potential applications of their technology include training, product design, location-based entertainment, remote functions, and more.
The company presented its virtual and augmented reality system at the Augmented World Expo in the Bay Area by placing users in a clearing. As they would move their hands, the landscape around them would turn lush green, as if they were causing the world to grow and rise around them. The demo happened in a 1,400-square-foot space with diverse content delivered through headsets equipped with XCOM Labs radios connecting with its wireless access points.
XCOM has raised $70 million in funding with a workforce of around 80 individuals. TDK Ventures announced an undisclosed investment in the company last week ahead of this demo.
AR/VR headsets are conventionally plugged into powerful gaming computers to extract optimum performance, with low latency and realistic renderings. However, the industry has been trying to innovate around solutions to cut the cord and facilitate more applications for the technology in everyday use. However, even with existing wireless headsets, the processing takes place on a computer, and the data is then streamed to the headset over the air.
But, even with WiFi 6, the latest generation of the technology, latency can still emerge as a significant issue. It results in jittery images and reduces the performance as more users join the network.
A possible solution is introducing a dedicated high bandwidth signal to reduce latency, something with XCOM aims to do. The company’s system uses WiGig technology that enables its radios and access points to deliver up to 400 megabits per second to multiple headsets using unlicensed, 60 gigahertz airwaves.
“We take the wire away, and we don’t add much latency to take the wire away,” said Jacobs. “It is really a different experience, too, when you can just walk around. You are much more immersed.”
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