Here’s a roundup of news from ‘day zero’ of CES 2018, served in bitesize chunks. Intel’s tiny VR-capable PC, Tactical Haptics’ reconfigurable controller, NextVR updates, TPCast Plus, HTC Vive Pro, and Xiaomi’s re-branded Oculus Go.
Intel announces VR-capable NUC PC
As part of a new collaboration between Intel and AMD, the latest iteration of Intel’s small form factor NUC line revealed at CES 2018 uses an 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8809G combined with discrete Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics. The NUC8i7HVK model is described as the “smallest VR capable system ever,” at just 1.2 litres in volume (221 x 142 x 39 mm).
Tactical Haptics’ Reconfigurable Controller
Fitted with mechanical sockets that allow on-the-fly repositioning of the two motion controllers in ‘gamepad’, ‘steering wheel, and ‘machine gun’ combinations, the new prototypes from Tactical Haptics are an evolution of the company’s tactile VR controllers currently used at the Los Angeles IMAX VR Centre. They feature Reactive Grip technology, which generates ‘tactile illusions’ of sensations such as inertia and elasticity.
NextVR’s Immersive Video Upgrades
Live event broadcasting specialists NextVR announced three technology advancements to their platform coming this year: six degrees of freedom-enabled content, higher resolution output, and augmented reality support. Support for 6DoF for immersive video is highly anticipated, but a complex challenge. NextVR’s solution is likely to be worth looking out for, as they plan to bring the technology to live broadcasting in the future.
TPCast Plus Adapters Coming Soon
Announced for the “first half of 2018” is a new suite of ‘TPCast Plus’ wireless products designed to cut the cord on high-end VR. The new system aims to address the shortcomings of the original TPCast line, with various hardware and software improvements. TPCast Plus claims ‘full support’ for microphones, “increased stability and anti-interference,” and a streamlined setup process.
HTC Reveals Vive Pro
The new HTC Vive Pro was revealed at CES, sporting various improvements over the standard Vive headset. See our detailed hands-on here. New 1440×1600 OLED panels make the Pro ‘78% higher resolution’ than the standard Vive, the same as the Samsung Odyssey. Many design features of the Vive headset have also been refreshed, with a new head strap with integrated audio, and a dual camera system on the front. An official wireless adapter was also confirmed for the summer. Compatible with the existing Base Stations, the Pro also supports the upcoming SteamVR Tracking 2.0 that can track larger spaces.
Xiaomi Branded Oculus Go
Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi has confirmed it will produce a China-only version of the Oculus Go called the ‘Xiaomi Mi VR Standalone’. The company is partnered with Oculus to manufacture the upcoming $200 Oculus Go headset, which is expected to launch soon worldwide. In China, the device will be sold as the Mi VR Standalone, and will use Xiaomi’s Mi VR content store.
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There’s already been plenty of exciting news, but CES 2018 is just getting started. Stay tuned!