Back in 2016, smartphone VR offered a cheap and easy way to experience virtual reality – and now Carl Zeiss and Valve have teamed up torepeat the trick, and bring StreamVR to mobile headsets.
While accessing SteamVR has previously meant owning a gaming PC and a $500 HTC Vive headset, the Zeiss VR One Connect enables your PC to plug into your smartphone and use it as a display. All you need is a mobile VR headset to turn the visuals into VR goodness.
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It's set up by connecting a smartphone in a mobile VR headset (you don't have to use Carl Zeiss', but whatever model you choose will need to offer USB access) to a PC. All the processing and graphical rendering is done on the PC, and sends the finished graphics to the smartphone's screen, in glorious stereoscopic 3D.
So where does Carl Zeiss fit in? The Zeiss VR One Connect consists of a couple of handheld controllers, which use 3 degrees of freedom movement, and rely on your phone to work out their relative position. Engadget reports that the tech is licensed from a company called PXL Vision. There's no new headset, but the Carl Zeiss VR One is still available for $99.
The interesting thing here is the combination of Carl Zeiss and Valve. Zeiss came to market early with the Zeiss One mobile headset, which enables you to plug in a smartphone for a mobile VR app-based experience.
While Zeiss' expertise in that area was the lenses in the headset, this is somewhat uncharted territory, with two motion controllers and a software experience.
One could safely assume that Valve had a big interest in offering a cheaper way of getting people into its ecosystem, when they hopefully see the value in upgrading to one of its bigger, badder headsets.
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