On Monday, AMD announced that it has bought key virtual reality engineering and Intellectual property (IP) from Nitero. This investment will provide it a broader portfolio of IP that will help VR headset and solutions providers with key technology to build wireless VR headsets.
Nitero to help make wireless VR headsets a reality
AMD certainly believes that a virtual reality headset that wires the user to their laptop or desktop is not good, and that is why it bought Nitero. PCWorld notes that Nitero’s WiGig intellectual property will aid the chip maker in linking wireless headsets to conventional desktops. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
According to AMD, Nitero’s technology will help device making companies build VR headsets that can connect to their devices wirelessly in the multi-gigabit throughput range.
In a statement, AMD Chief Technology Officer Mark Papermaster said, “Unwieldly headset cables remain a significant barrier to drive widespread adoption of VR.”
VR headsets from popular companies like HTC (Vive), Sony (PlayStation VR), and Facebook (Oculus Rift) require data and power transfer cables to connect to devices, thus limiting the user’s movement. And the virtual reality headsets that are wireless, like Microsoft’s HoloLens, have limited graphics capabilities and small batteries, notes PCWorld.
However, going forward, users will be able to take advantage of the powerful graphics processors on their computers and will be able to move freely.
AMD aims to become a one-stop shop for VR vendors
In an email to PCWord, AMD spokesman Drew Prairie said that Nitero’s intellectual property will be used to enable other vendors to make wireless headsets. Instead of building its own head-mounted displays, the processor maker will serve as a one-stop shop for other vendors that are making VR products because the company has the GPU, CPU and now Nitero’s high-bandwidth wireless technology, the spokesman added.
Chipsets will be required on both the wirelessly-connected headsets and the device running the VR apps to implement Nitero’s technology. The processor maker could sell more graphics cards and PC chips by linking VR headsets to computers wirelessly. AMD, however, has not yet announced how it is planning to implement Nitero’s technology.
Pat Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Nitero, said that their world-class engineering team has focused on fixing the difficult problem of building wireless VR technologies that can be integrated into next-generation headsets. Kelly has joined AMD as corporate vice president now.
Until now, AMD’s efforts in the augmented reality and virtual reality space revolved around CPUs inside VR-ready computers, but with this recent purchase, the company is diverting toward wireless VR.
“We are excited to play a role in furthering AMD’s long-term technology vision,” Kelly said.
Last year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a headset dubbed the Sulon Q with AMD’s eight integrated Radeon R7 graphics cores and FX-8800P was revealed, but it has not begun shipping yet.