Valve: Wireless high-end VR is a solved problem, by Jeff Grubb

Above: Wireless VR should make a huge difference to comfort. Image Credit: TPcast

Those cables that are holding you down in virtual reality may soon go extinct.

Valve expects wireless technology to come to the HTC Vive and the wider, high-end PC-powered VR market this year. Devices like the TPCast already exist. This is a dongle you add to the Vive that wirelessly beams the HDMI signal to the VR head-mounted display and powers it with a battery. It isn’t on sale yet, but Valve thinks that will change soon — and then the company expects that tech will end up as a standard feature in future headset iterations.

“Wireless is a solved problem at this point,” Valve founder Gabe Newell told a roundtable of developers at the company’s headquarters in Bellevue, Washington. “So my expectation is that it will be an add-on in 2017, and it will be an integrated feature in 2018.”

Losing those cables will enable more freedom for people playing room-scale VR experiences in the Vive. It should also aid with presence for people who don’t want a tether reminding them of their connection to actual reality.