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Researchers at Purdue University have created VR technology that allows multiple players to interact with the same VR game on smartphones. The Purdue VR system, called Coterie, provides new opportunities for enterprise, education, health care and entertainment applications, the researchers said.

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The VR system uses a novel way to manage the challenging task of rendering high-resolution virtual scenes to satisfy the stringent quality-of-experience (QoE) of VR. Those include high frame rate and low motion-to-photon latency, which is the delay between the movement of the user’s head or game controller and the change of the VR device’s display reflecting the user’s movement.

The new approach enables 4K-resolution VR on commodity mobile devices and allows up to 10 players to interact in the same VR application at a time.

One reason for the heavy computational workload of high-resolution VR apps is the constant need to render updates to both the foreground interactions with the players and the background environment in the virtual world.

As researchers put it, VR apps using Coterie split up this heavy rendering task between the smartphone and an edge server over WiFi in a way that reduces the load on the smartphone while allowing the sub frames rendered on both to be merged into the final frame within 16ms, satisfying the VR QoE.

Hu said this approach not only reduces the network requirement so multiple players can share the same WiFi, but also reduces the power draw and computation demand on each mobile device and provides a better user experience.

The researchers are said to be working with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to patent the technology.

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