Wireless VR seems to be the newest trend in virtual reality technology. Currently, we use VR headsets that depend on external devices for VR input.

Wireless VR entails a totally cord-free VR experience and in 2018, most VR headsets are expected to go wireless. Oculus has revealed the latest version of its wireless hardware, under the aegis of Project Santa Cruz. The company recently showcased its wireless headset at the Oculus Connect 4 event on Wednesday.

While standalone headsets are not exactly a new thing, we have had wireless Bluetooth headsets for long. But the issue with making wireless VR setups is that VR graphics are heavy and not easy to transmit over Bluetooth.

The key to wireless VR lies in new technologies such as 5G and millimeter wave technology. While 5G cell networks make for high transmission of data at the speeds of 1 GB per second. Researchers at the Columbia University, New York have created a model which uses millimeter wave technology, which uses a chip to send waves forward and back and then transferring the signal using antennas.

According to the researchers, their model will enable manufacturers to build this kind of circuiting into conventional chipsets and enable two-way wireless communication.

For a smooth wireless VR experience, a huge amount of data has to be sent back and forth between the computer and the headset requiring low-latency bi-directional communication. A mm-wave full-duplex transceiver enabled by our CMOS circulator could be a promising solution as it has the potential to deliver high-speed data with low latency, in a small size with low cost,” said Harish Krishnaswamy, associate professor of electrical engineering at the Columbia University and the lead author on the project.

Wireless VR headsets can make the VR experience more convenient. When it comes to gaming, it could make VR gaming more dynamic as players won’t be restricted by wires as they are in the current gaming setups. Players will not need to depend on a PC or a smartphone and this could lead to self-sufficient standalone headsets. These setups are also expected to have wireless controllers, with technology such as hand tracking.

Besides Oculus, other companies that make VR headsets are also expected to come out with standalone VR headsets in 2018. Samsung is expected to come out with the ExynosVR 3, which will use eye-tracking technology and gain from 10nm processors on the company’s device such as the S8 and Note 8. The device is expected to have an inbuilt 2,000-pixel display. Such headsets are also expected to make use of technologies such as voice recognition and facial recognition.

But, it could also have more applications, for example in industrial training, which can use VR to train employees, which would decrease the cost of such training.