One of the questions i get most when im out showing VR to therapists is.
“Can we get it without the cable?”
A very relevant concern for us therapists is that our patients will trip over the cable.
Also they would argue that the cable would pull at the neck causing strain. Being completely enamored with VR i could’nt see the big deal.
But a few months into our new pilot projects and i can see that we can gain a lot from going completely wireless
So for months i would tell them that a solution was on the way.
But why didnt you just use Mobile VR?
The biggest reason why mobile vr is not suited for musculoskeletal rehabilitation is that is only has 3 degrees of freedom. This means that you can move your head or your controller, but only on a rotational axis. meaning its not tracked in space.
Being able to tracked the head and the controller is essential for measuring range of motion and doing precise exerscises/games for rehab.
The current solutions for wireless VR that work
TPcast is a Chinese made third party solution that allows the HTC vive and other headsets to go wireless.
Having worked with it for a few months now it gives a great feeling of being untethered and you even sometimes have to remind yourself to use the additional freedom that you have.
That being said the installation is clunky, theres is a bit of video compression(loss of image quality), you need an additional HDMI cable and my first set died after traveling to Japan.
The shop was helpful to get me a new module and its been working fine ever since.
But therapists need something that is easy to setup and just works. No hacks, no workarounds!
Can we get native wireless support please?
HTC’s wireless design looks strange but its supposed to work
I’m eagerly awaiting HTC’s own wireless solution. Based on new radio technology ( Intel’s WiGig working at 60gHz)is supposed to offer close to no compression and more range to go along with the increased reach of the new lighthouses 2.0 for the Vive.
What HTC has shown us up until now is not pretty, but if we are to trust hands on reports its highly functional.
It will be easy to setup and make the headset even more evenly balance (some people feel that the HMD is still a bit front heavy )
So now that we know its here. What does it mean?
Firstly it alleviates a big concern therapists have about the safety of their patients. Less wires means less chance of tripping which mean more motivation to move in VR.
Secondly it opens up the possibility for exercises that makes use of more space in the activities. For example adding cardiovascular exercise in rehab is much easier when you are wireless.
Thirdly it brings to view what the near future has in store for us.
A stand-alone headset with precise tracking that we can send the patients home with instead of a sheet of paper with exercises (which we know seldom gets done anyway).
Yes facebook im talking to you! Give us Occulus Quest already!
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I will be posting more on the development of VR for rehabilitation.
To see our VR rehabilitation software in action and follow our journey to bring it to people around the would click on the link below.
See you soon
Physical therapist and CEO at Gonio VR