The gulf between phone-powered virtual reality and the Oculuses and HTC Vives of the world will, for a while, likely remain pretty wide. Phones just don’t have enough processing power, and even if they did, mobile VR setups aren’t capable of doing what makes desktop-based experiences so immersive: tracking your body’s movement. VicoVR — which just launched on Indiegogo — is a project that could help close that gap.
Think of VicoVR like a Microsoft Kinect for your mobile VR setup. You slap it on a table or a shelf and point it at an open space in the room where you’ll be moving around. The company says the array of cameras and sensors are capable of measuring “precise 3D coordinates of 19 body joints,” which sounds good enough to track basic — but probably not extremely fine — movements.
There are two even bigger hurdles here, though. One will be the latency; VicoVR says all the processing of this data happens on the unit itself, and that the tracking information is then beamed to your phone and headset in real time. That’s not an easy feat! The other is a more typical and oppressive barrier to entry: how do you inspire developers to spend time making their games compatible with a one-off Indiegogo project? The answer is, often, that you can’t.