Fully Mobile Virtual Reality System (Case 2242)

Principal Investigators:

William Warren, PhD, Professor

Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences


Gabriel Taubin, PhD, Associate Professor
School of of Engineering

Brown University
Providence, RI


Brief Description:


Virtual Reality is here. High-speed, high-definition, low-cost, thrilling VR has arrived.  With Facebook’s purchase of the Oculus Rift for $2 billion, VR seems destined to become the next mobile platform.  Current technologies, however, still use tethering; a cumbersome system that in which the user is bound by cables to a base station external device.  This limits the user’s mobility and creates debilitating nausea.  Motion sickness is inevitable if you are visually whizzing through the Death Star while your head -- and inner ear -- are barely moving.  The tethered model thus severely limits the potential and acceptance of the VR platform.


The real breakthrough will come from complete mobility. We have developed an intelligent head-mounted display (iHMD) - a wireless, fully mobile headset that puts everything on-board your head.  The virtual environment is computed right in the headset and is part of a complete multi-user software platform. Head position is tracked from the headset, with no external devices.  Multiple users can be wirelessly networked so they inhabit the same virtual world.  This means that users anywhere – in offices, living rooms, studios, schools, malls – can walk around and interact in the same virtual environment, work on a common project, play together in the same space.


The virtual environment and user avatars are computed locally in each iHMD using a fast game engine.  Users are linked via Wi-Fi to the internet, immersing them in the same environment. We have derived an “inside-out” solution that puts everything in the headset, combining inertial and micro-camera systems to measure both head translation and rotation over large distances. 


Our novel iHMD and multi-user software framework will finally unlock the power of VR.  This includes games in which the players actually move around (think virtual paintball).  Our technology enables far more: collaborative design, social networking, participatory digital media, virtual showrooms, classrooms, and museums, virtual travel, medical training and rehabilitation, first-responder training, architectural walk-throughs, and more. 


Additional Information:


US patent application 14/526,404 is pending


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Brown Technology Innovations
350 Eddy Street - Box 1949
Providence, RI 02903
William Warren
Michael William Fitzgerald
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