Zotac VR Makes Solution for Wireless Virtual Reality
Zotac specializes in making small but powerful computers, such as their Magnus EN980, which packs a lot of powerful hardware into a tiny space. The company has ventured into using this proficiency to make compact hardware, applying it to this virtual reality backpack. Being wireless and battery-powered, you can afford to explore an open space without having to worry about tripping on connecting wires.
Why You Would Want To Go With Zotac
Whilst the promotional video cites the possibility of tripping on wires as the main reason why you would want one of these, that justification would probably not be enough to sell you on it. There are no wireless VR headsets yet, but they will be here soon. Optoma has been working on a cloud-based wireless headset, an area other companies have avoided so far due to concerns about lag or reduction in picture quality. If Zotac’s claims that their headset doesn’t have these issues it’s true, they could end up being handy competitors with Sony and Oculus, both of which require the user to remain plugged in at all times. Zotac’s headset won’t launch until next year, so until then, hardware developers will have to come up with some other ways to go wireless with VR.
Zotac’s backpack seems like a tenable solution, and it unquestionably increases the user’s ability to take VR with them on the go with minimal impediment. You could even take this gear out to an electricity-free cabin in the middle of nowhere as long as the battery is well charged. (Well, most people probably go to remote cabins for reasons other than trying out a cool VR headset, but let’s work with that for now.)
Concerns with Zotac’s Backpack
The main concern with the backpack, however, is its potential weight. Zotac’s Magnus EN980 weighs 8 pounds, which doesn’t sound like a lot, until you consider the fact that you’d probably be leaping around shooting at virtual baddies in your living room with something of that weight permanently strapped to your back. If you’ve carried around laptops of comparable weight before, you know the fact is, you’ll really start to notice it after you’ve been on your feet for some time.
Types of VR Experiences Offered Through Zotac
The types of VR experiences in Zotac’s promotional video look very aerobic already, and they’d certainly become harder to do with, say, an 8-pound backpack on. It could probably work if they found a way to make the weight of the computer evenly distributed across the wearer’s torso (much like a lifter using a weighted vest?). As it is now, though, the weight isn’t evenly distributed, so it seems very likely that the wearer would get tired and possibly even hurt their back, depending on the weight of the computer and also how much space-battling they’re doing. In other words, by eliminating the safety concerns about tripping over wires, we’ve only introduced a whole other set of concerns.
Perhaps it’d be best if we just skip this intermediary step and wait for headsets to go fully wireless instead. Whilst one doesn’t want to trip on anything, there’s got to be a better solution than having a computer permanently strapped to one’s back.