XCOM Labs Shared its Wireless XR at AWE Conference & Expo

The annual AWE conference and expo in June brought together extended reality (XR) innovators, media and analysts, and XCOM Labs was there in Santa Clara to give them all a first look at our Wireless XR system.

Our demonstration included both wireless augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences. Each demo could be enjoyed by multiple users moving freely and simultaneously through these photorealistic and interactive digital environments.

Our AR demonstration was similar to our MILCOM 2021 demo in San Diego late last year. It wirelessly streamed interactive volumetric video content that showcased Wireless XR’s ultra-HD wireless streaming capability.

In addition, for the first time, we showed an interactive VR experience we co-developed with location-based entertainment provider The VOID. It featured HTC Vive Focus 3 headsets, hand tracking technology and other immersive elements. Our Wireless XR system ensured a super smooth experience thanks to our throughput and latency advancements and produced a comfortable, natural VR experience so users could focus on interacting with The VOID’s imaginative content.

Feedback from AWE Conference Attendees

“Our team was excited to share our work with the XR community, especially our streaming VR partnership with The VOID. Our AR graphics were also so finely detailed–it was great to see how people reacted,” said Paul Jacobs, CEO, chair and cofounder of XCOM Labs.

Industry analyst Anshel Sag experienced the XCOM Labs demo and shared his AWE impressions in his Forbes column. In addition to describing our AR and VR demonstrations as “a truly seamless experience,” he wrote:

“It will be exciting to see where XCOM Labs goes, especially as unlicensed technologies like 60GHz get integrated into standards like 3GPP Rel.17. … Magic Leap and XCOM Labs both had really great showings and were the talk of the show.”

Our Wireless XR demonstrations used a 60 GHz mmWave solution for split rendering on edge computers and the AR and VR demonstrations were in the same room, with no interference and glitch-free, as multiple users wearing two different brands of commercial off-the-shelf headsets roamed the space.

Enabling Seamless, Immersive Wireless XR Experiences

XCOM Labs and The VOID collaborated at the AWE conference for a seamless, wireless streaming VR experience.

Immersive digital environments of the quality we demonstrated at the AWE conference were previously only possible via wired connections such as head-mounted displays connected to powerful computers, often worn as backpacks.

XCOM Labs CEO Paul Jacobs shows the lightweight HTC Vive Focus 3 headset with XCOM antenna. Now it’s all you need for a free-roaming VR experience like The VOID are now free from such heavy equipment.

The VOID is an experiential, location-based entertainment provider with plans to help take AWE attendees into a fully immersive and fantastic world that engages all of their senses.

“The VOID is the kind of experience that users should be able to lose themselves in,” said Jacobs. “Lugging a PC on your back makes it hard to forget that the reality you’re experiencing is digital and not real. Those backpacks are also heavy, so not everyone could wear one, especially young kids or older adults.”

Choosing millimeter wave versus Wi-Fi 6 for streaming VR

Wireless XR makes network processing work seamlessly for the user by using unlicensed millimeter wave (mmW) technology which transfers data much faster than Wi-Fi 6 and optimizes the network to ensure no lag or latency as users move around. Millimeter wave technology at 60 GHz provides access to very large amounts of interference-free, globally-available wireless spectrum.

Wi-Fi 6 is a shared medium that is subject to interference from in-network access points and from other Wi-Fi networks within range. The connection between network and users must have very high throughput and be very consistent. 

“Another benefit of millimeter wave technology is that it doesn’t travel through walls which makes it perfect for a contained VR experience like that offered by The VOID,” explained Jacobs.

“While The VOID plans to expand to larger and larger venues for its location-based experiences, XCOM Labs will plan to expand the reach of its Wireless XR infrastructure. Our goal is to keep inventing so that wireless throughput and latency are never the limiting factor that curbs human imagination.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As Vice President of XR, Serafin Diaz leads XCOM Labs’ XR and multimedia efforts. His background in XR comprises more than two decades, having pioneered Qualcomm’s XR research and development as Vice President of Engineering. Serafin currently holds more than 60 active and pending U.S. patents.