I wrote last year about the announcement of Oculus chip manufacturer Spectra7s new ultra thin HDMI connector chip. With head mounted displays being wired for the foreseeable future it’s pretty important that any consumer device has a thin flexible cable to connect to the PC. The Oculus Rift DK2 of course has a USB2 connector but this is now rather outdated.
So, enter Spectra7 with their TC7050 USB 3.1 chip with 5Gbps of bandwidth. This is easily enough to handle high resolution ‘inside out’ video streams that I see coming, if not in the first consumer version, but soon afterwards. Being able to see the outside world clearly and quickly is also quite important, so we can probably expect dual cameras to appear in the front of most HMDs as a standard feature. Not only would these cameras allow the user to quickly see the outside world for spatial positioning but they can also be used for processing the users real life environment. Want to see where your coffee cup is in VR so you can take a drink while flying a spaceship? This would require a fast transfer of data to the PC to figure out where you are and where your cup is.
The new TC7050 chip gives a 90% reduction in the thickness of the copper cable, the same as the HDMI chip. This means an ultra thin cable combining HDMI and USB 3.1 is possible for the Oculus CV1, or certainly in CV2. Oculus has already stated that the technology they acquired with their acquisition of Nimble would not necessarily make it into their first consumer version, but with the VR gauntlet now thrown down by HTC and Valve, with a good input solution and, perhaps most importantly, a release date, they might be tempted to adjust their schedule.
Product Brief PDF link : here
Also mentioned in the press release (but not yet announced on their site) are two new display chips.
“Spectra7’s TC7108 chip delivers two channels of DisplayPort HBR2 at 5.4Gbps each (10.8Gbps in total), while the TC7216 delivers four channels (21.6Gbps in total). The TC7050 delivers USB 3.1 Gen 1 data at 5.0Gbps. The TC7108 and TC7050 can be used together to build bidirectional links for ultra-thin high definition external displays and dynamic interfaces for wearable technology.”
‘wearable technology’ hints at VR, but until they release more information than these few lines we won’t know if this is of interest to the VR community…