Partners create industry standard for VR headset connectivity

Electronics companies, LG Electronics, Analogix Semiconductor, Tencent and Dell have founded ICVR, to develop the Interface for Connected VR (virtual reality), or ICVR standard. The standard defines how virtual reality source (VRS) devices, such as smartphones, PCs and other consumer electronics, connect and interoperate with head-mounted displays (HMDs).

The image shows the ICVR standard based on DisplayPort over USB-C to define how virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) source devices connect and interoperate with head-mounted displays. (Graphic: Business Wire)

ICVR is an open industry standard for VR, AR, and mixed reality (MR) headset connectivity based on DisplayPort over USB-C. ICVR carries high quality multi-channel audio, high-definition video, and the head tracking measurement data required to render the virtual environment between the VRS and the HMD. Industry standard content protection technology is also available.

Separating the VR source device from the head-mounted display means that the VR HMD has no heavy battery, no warm central processing unit (CPU), and no transmitting radio next to the user’s head, says Analogix Semiconductor. This allows manufacturers to optimise the headset for high-performance, comfortable and immersive VR experience. The ICVR standard also simplifies mobile device architectures by removing the burden of more expensive screens and sensors required for phone-based VR applications.

“The ICVR connectivity standard allows interoperability between devices from different manufacturers of VR solutions and will give consumers confidence that their VR headsets will work with any ICVR compliant smartphones or PCs. That is, a VR source device from one manufacturer will work with a VR or AR headset from another manufacturer,” said Ramchan Woo, vice president, new product development at LG Electronics. “This will drive an increased level of investment in VR products by hardware manufacturers, developers, and content creators, bringing more applications and an improved VR user experience to consumers.”

The universality of USB Type-C eliminates proprietary protocols and connectors, which is beneficial for the entire VR ecosystem.

“VR solutions available in the market today are all proprietary so they don’t interoperate with each other. DisplayPort over USB-C carries the power, data, and high-definition video/audio needed to drive a high-quality VR headset in a single, thin and light, standard cable,” said Dr. Ning Zhu, Chief Technology Officer for Analogix. “The ICVR connectivity standard allows VR HMD makers to tap into the existing USB Type-C ecosystem, benefiting from mobile devices that already support DisplayPort over USB-C and accessories such as extended cables and adapters to older interfaces.”

“Part of our leadership role is to help the industry define and drive open standards for technologies that can lead to better VR/AR/MR experiences. Connecting and powering a VR headset environment today involves multiple cables; our goal is to leverage a single cable connectivity solution that can simplify set-up and maintain the necessary performance and quality,” said Liam Quinn, CTO at Dell.

The ICVR specification will be available for adopters who join ICVR in Q3 2017.


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