Gadgets for humans

Sulon says its all-in-one headset doesn’t need a PC to run AR and VR experiences

While HTC and Oculus’ upcoming headsets look promising for VR fans, you’ll need to make room for a high-end PC, position tracking devices and all the cables needed to connect the headsets to your desktop.

Hardware firm Sulon believes it’s hit upon a better alternative. It says that its Q headset packs computing, graphics and spatial positioning processors into a single wireless unit so you can enjoy a full-on VR and AR experiences with no additional gear.

The company claims that its device offers a 2560 x 1440 pixel OLED display with a 110-degree field of view. For comparison, HTC’s Vive manages 2160 x 1200 pixels.

Filling out the Q’s specification sheet is an AMD FX-8800P processor with Radeon R7 graphics, 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD for storage, as well as support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3D spatial audio.

What’s especially interesting is the Sulon Spatial Processing unit built into the device. The company says it uses real-time machine vision to map your surroundings and track your movements and gestures. That means that if you walk around in real life, your character or point of view in the VR experience will move as well.

To pull that off, the Vive requires at least one (two if you have room) external position tracking device to be installed in the space you intend to use.

Sulon says you’ll also be able to use Windows 10 Minority-Report style, placing apps wherever you like in your field of view.

The device comes with custom earbuds, dual noise-canceling embedded mics, a 3.5mm audio jack and a bundled wireless keyboard and mouse.

Specs and capabilities aside, what I’m concerned about is how it’ll wear and feel over extended periods of use. For it to be comfortable, the weight of all those components needs to be evenly distributed across the Q’s front and rear modules. I also expect that the device would get pretty warm after a couple of hours of gameplay.

The Sulon Q packs a full computer in its headset
The Sulon Q packs a full computer in its headset

If the Q can deliver console-quality graphics and AR experiences as Sulon says, it could offer serious competition to the $800 HTC Vive and the $600 Oculus Rift. The company hasn’t announced pricing for its late spring release, but given those specs, I wouldn’t expect it to be less than $2,000.

➤ Sulon

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Published March 15, 2016 — 07:45 UTC