Whether you’re using it to play a game, hold a meeting or design a new building while out in the field, VR is pushing the limits of human experience.
An as-yet unfulfilled promise of VR is a single system allowing multiple people to collaborate and interact with each other in a shared experience.
At the GPU Technology Conference, Nvidia is showcasing a proof of concept, developed by engineers at the company, that aims to do just that.
Using four Nvidia Quadro P6000 GPUs running four virtual machines on a PC server, Nvidia is able to power four HTC Vive Business Edition headsets all from a single box. This four-way PC, combined with HTC’s Lighthouse tracking system, enables four people to use VR, all sharing the same physical space.
Multi-user systems open up opportunities to use VR in everything from amusement parks and arcades to military and first responder training, to manufacturing and design.
The setup minimizes the space, power and cooling required, making the system portable and quick to deploy. This is particularly advantageous for the growing market for location-based VR environments, the customized VR spaces popping up at cinemas, shopping malls and elsewhere.
The system’s compact size brings full-featured VR capabilities into tight or unconventional spaces, like naval ships and mobile command centers, where simulation training can add tremendous value.
Initially, the reason for developing this system was to figure out a way to support multi-user VR. However, other interesting use cases began to emerge, including a mixed-reality spectator view, where some virtual machines drive head-mounted displays for participants, while others drive virtual cameras for observers.
“The possibilities are endless,” said Tom Kaye, a senior solutions architect at Nvidia who helped develop the system. “With the addition of remote management and reliability features, such as multiple templates, clone on boot and remote rebuilds, we could see system builders working to create a robust, ready-to-deploy multi-user VR appliance.”