Interesting Patents: AMD’s Low Latency Wireless Virtual Reality

U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2021/0112289
Assignee: Advanced Micro Devices

About the Patent Application

AMD’s patent application, titled “Low Latency Wireless Virtual Reality Systems And Methods,” discloses a wireless low-latency VR headset. The headset collects data on the user’s movement during use and sends it to a server. Once the server has received the data it is analyzed to help predict the user’s future movements to better optimize which Audio/Visual data to preemptively render. This method lowers the hardware requirements on the client-side to provide the most synchronized experience without having to compromise on high visual quality. This is another example of being able to leverage a reliably strong internet connection to provide users with much better hardware performance.

To achieve this level of synchronization a special type of handshake protocol is required to coordinate all of the different systems. The use of an asynchronous computing element with selective A/V data encoders helps limit the total amount of data that needs to be communicated locally to the device. These types of distributed processing are common in other electronics, like Bluetooth connections where only a small data signal is sent to the broadcasting device, while all of the computing is done on a separate device. Connections like these are especially useful in local applications because they require very little infrastructure to transmit a very data-rich signal. It shouldn’t be surprising that such an intensive process like virtual reality would be implemented in a similar fashion.

AMD’s unique method of a local communication system with feedback-controlled server hardware should deliver unprecedented accessibility of virtual reality content to users. This lines up with the goals of their LiquidVR™ technologies that specifically focus on the user experience of virtual reality. The company’s website states that low-latency rendering is “absolutely essential for a comfortable VR experience.” AMD’s virtual reality software is already integrated into Microsoft’s mixed reality, the HTC Vive, and Facebook’s Oculus making this technology poised to innovate in the commercial virtual reality market.

The Latency Hurdle

The company’s application mentions that the realistic experience of VR is facilitated by high visual quality and low latency.  Latency, referring to the delay of time for the data to cross from VR sub-systems and VR devices, has been widely considered a major bottleneck for the VR industry due to its negative effects on a vestibulo-ocular reflex, such as motion-sickness. AMD’s proposed system and method hold the potential to create an altogether better VR user experience and take the industry one step closer to increased commercial adoption.Written by John DeStefano, Technical Advisor
and Lauren Hawksworth, Marketing Administrator
April 15, 2021