Purdue's VR research could make it useful for more than just gaming

Simplifying access to virtual reality will help it achieve mainstream adoption.

Digital glitch effect in abstract virtual reality. Man wearing vr glasses. Vector illustration

Researchers at Purdue University have found a way to simplify, and perhaps even bring to the mainstream, local multiple player virtual reality. The university's Coterie virtual reality system took on the fairly daunting task of computing high-resolution scenes while also delivering on quality-of-experience (QoE) for multiple users. To that end, researchers studied the frame-to-frame motion, latency, and possible delays in scenarios where there were up to 10 players in one app.

This is great news for anyone invested in virtual reality. If Purdue's research can be applied to settings beyond the academic world, it opens up doors to virtual reality advances in medicine, surgical training, education, business enterprises, and more.

Is virtual reality ready to go mainstream? — Slowly but surely, virtual reality is dipping its toes in mainstream waters. Increasing affordability, hardware flexibility, and content have begun to sell the masses on the necessity of a VR headset. With the help of Purdue's research, the applications for VR expand greatly. Researchers were able to handle heavy computation — basically how these machines process foreground and background data for users — without using excessive power.

In its official press release, Purdue notes that this new research tackles heavy computation "between the smartphone and an edge server over Wi-Fi in a way that drastically reduces the load on the smartphone while allowing the sub frames rendered on both to be merged into the final frame within 16ms, satisfying the VR QoE."

Purdue University

A+ for Purdue — "Our technology opens the door for enterprise applications such as employee training, collaboration and operations, healthcare applications such as surgical training, as well as education and military applications," says Y. Charlie Hu, one of the researchers for the project. "You could have multiple doctors and healthcare professionals interacting in a VR operating room." In fact, Purdue's team is interested in talking to licensing partners to bring real-world applications of this research into our not-too-distant future.