Virtual reality headsets, while becoming a household piece of technology, are still relatively new to the market. Because of this, there is a lot that still needs to be learned about virtual reality itself. Like, how does it track movement? The answer is simple: light. Products like the HTC and the Oculus use light-mapping sensors while the PlayStation VR headset relies more heavily on infrared. However, an Austin-based start-up is looking to change up the market. Hauoli has developed a virtual reality software that tracks sound instead of light.
The small company started demoing their new technology at South X Southwest just recently and the implications are startling. Their sound capture technology can be used with any speaker, therefore, eliminating the high price that often comes along with virtual reality headsets. This technology could potentially make virtual reality available to the masses. This recent development in technology holds many interesting possibilities. Outside of virtual reality, Hauoli has used soundtracking for drawing measurements and for directing drones. They began working on this technology after Lili Qiu, the company’s chief technology officer, began researching something similar while she was a student.
However, Hauoli’s audio technology is still in its early stages but they currently have a patent pending. The team has hit a few barriers but they seem to know exactly what those problems are (apparently Bluetooth is the one to blame on this front). But the team has already addressed the first issue to come to mind: ambient noise. Apparently, Hauoli ‘s technology accounts for a noisy environment and still responds with surprising accuracy. And it is also energy efficient!
While it will probably be years before this technology is seen in the home, it is amazing to see how virtual reality, while still a new technology in of itself, is already quickly evolving.