As applications for the Lenovo Mirage Solo 6DOF controller dev kits come to a close recently, it appears Google has begun sending out its first wave of units, an experimental hardware add-on for Lenovo’s Mirage Solo standalone headset that brings optical positional tracking to a pair of purpose-built controllers.

Alex Coulombe, the creative director and co-founder of VR startup Agile Lens, was one of the firsts to publish a few snaps along with his initial impressions of the dev kit; the headset already boasts 6DOF headset tracking but was matched with a single 3DOF controller (rotational only) at launch in May.

According to Coulombe, the 6DOF controller kit is about as plug-and-play as we would have hoped, saying “[i]f you don’t have the faceplate plugged in, everything is normal. As soon as you plug it in, the controllers just appear (sometimes at the wrong place for a moment). From there you can go about your business naturally like in any desktop 6DoF experience.”

The dev kit also features backwards compatibility with standard Daydream apps that use the 3DOF controller, Coulombe says.

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Putting it through its paces, Coulombe found the optical tracking system’s breaking point, but concludes it’s “not a big problem, [there are] few applications I can imagine where you’d really need to cross your hands over each other.”

Cubic VR founder Haldun Kececigil also received a unit, posting a brief look at the dev kit still fresh in the box and stating eagerly that tracking was so far “flawless” since the latest update.

Where the 6DOF controller dev kit will eventually will lead, we’re not sure. Healthy speculation: Google isn’t gearing up to mass produce the add-on itself, but rather seed its developer community with the tools to develop full-fledged 6DOF content for a headset yet to come, possibly one that will directly compete with Oculus Quest, which has been confirmed to launch sometime early 2019.

So far Google has been mum on the details, so at this point we just can’t tell.

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  • JesuSaveSouls

    Really pleased that emphasis is going into daydream and mirage solo.
    I know oculus go is doing much for the masses with affordable vr and numerous choices of software.Still for 400 you can count out daydream which has the mirage solo doing full 6dof.

  • oompah

    wow thumbs up
    but it should be made to work for cardboard too
    so increase user base

    • Cardboard should have never been released because all it’s served to do is to present a watered-down misconception of what VR is supposed to be. The effect of this has lead many people (several of which I know personally) to believe that VR is the sum of what Google Cardboard produces –completely ignorant of the fact that high-end PCVR is so far beyond Cardboard (and even PSVR, as much as I do love that system) that comparing the two is like comparing a crop-duster to a deep-space research vessel. In part, I hold Google responsible for this misconception because they positioned themselves as being more deeply involved in VR development than what they were really committed to achieving, and damaged public perception in ways that are still being heard within the community on a fairly regular basis, leaving us that actually know better to try to sort it all out –meanwhile Google has a level of established credibility that makes it difficult to overcome these misconceptions because the ears that the truth falls on are resistant to believing it. Now, I’m not saying Google lied to anyone, but had they instead helped form a developer coalition, similar to the early works by the many companies that lead to OpenGL in the form we see supported by all OS’s today, VR would likely be much farther along already. Problem is, everyone this time around wants to be the one who sets the standard, rather than being one of my that help ratify it… much like the v.90 Modem fiasco back in the late 1990s.

  • Great for my friend Alex. The Mirage Solo is the headset with the best 6 DOF tracking technology, so I can guess that the controllers are tracked well as well

  • Lucidfeuer

    In 2019 the wait game continues while the stalling begins…

  • Francesco Fazio

    It is funny to see how Google likes to be two steps behind the others. What the market needs to finally make VR taking off to the masses for real is that damn simple:

    – Cost: Max 300 dollars
    – 6DOF
    – Eye tracking
    – 210 degrees FOV
    – No wires / no pc and higher resolution than 8k with better graphics than a PC connected headset.

    Until then it is just the same old shit that keeps millions of potential users out of the game.

    It is the first time in the history of technology where companies lag far behind what the market really needs.

    The first company that will finally manage to do so will literally wipe out the competition and I will bring the whole world finally to VR

    • Proof XR Lab

      Google are exactly where they want to be with VR/AR. They have form of dipping into new technology without making risky large scale investment (see Facebook with Oculus).

      They know the technology is premature for mass market adoption, but continue to aquire VR/AR startups and technology assets, whilst biding their time.

      Daydream has been called a failure by many, but it was successful given their limited investment which tempered its market potential.

      Meanwhile, Google continue their extremely lucrative advertising business and ramp up investments in artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, etc.

      • Francesco Fazio

        You work for google don’t you ?

        • Proof XR Lab

          Not guilty as charged! I’ve done some consultation with them in the past but am not employed by Google.

    • Muzufuzo

      After a relatively quick start (i.e. more than doubling screen resolution in just a year), VR is unfortunately taking a rather slow evolutionary approach to innovation. I am worried we may have to wait 15 years before VR really becomes a truly big thing. Looking at recent very small improvements in performance/dollar in the PC GPU department (see 1060 -> 1660), future looks disappointing. Vive Pro is far too costly (and cumbersome) while mobile headsets use pathetic 3 DOF and have very very slow processors. Quest has 6 DOF but surprisingly uses only Snapdragon 835 which has GPU level of 2006 8800 GTX – clearly not enough “horsepower” for VR.

      Back in 2011 I wrote in my journal that VR needs at least 4K per eye, 180 degrees, Foveated Rendering and 50 teraflops to capture the masses and I still stand by that. It won’t really take off until those criteria are met. I am sure of that.

  • John Smith

    Great, best Google can come up with is buttplug controllers and a Christmas light headset.